Kara burst onto the scene with a succession of handles, which is right and necessary: the first one I knew about was Angel Eyes, which I always assumed was a Steelheart reference but never asked. Her ability to kill men from an elevated position lead to her being dubb’d Orbital Strike, which stuck for awhile. Various groups have formed and dissolved since then, and when she wants to play there’s always a spot, but competing against John Rando isn’t really her thing these days.
No, I think she’d much rather play against Gabriel, an opponent against whom victory is (apparently) assured. The last time Gabriel ran aground on her desolate shoals was in Capy’s Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, an overlooked and underrated competitive offering. I don’t think he ever did win that time. I don’t think he won ever, and it might have been the last competitive game they played until Hearthstone. I don’t get the impression that much has improved in the interim.
Listening to Gabir ragetweet about Splinter Cell: Blacklist multi bummed me out. Watching he and Robert play the old one - really, for real, just watching - is a top ten gaming memory. It’s still very interesting, and I think it might be interesting for more people, but for the stalwarts who have maintained a kind of psychic altar for the original this experience is just going to be too truncated and smoothed out to take up the mantle.
Getting someone to play Mercs after they played Spies before was usually impossible, and the new version basically inserts a kind of “half-time, change sides” mechanism that makes that switch part of a single match. That’s very nice! Gabriel gives a bunch of examples up there, but the problem is that the game’s sometimes incredibly subtle grammar has had all the weird boiled out. I think there’s still a lot to say for hide and seek with guns, but Brigadoon hasn’t yet returned.