Blog Banter: Just how much fun LAN can be!

This post is my addition to the Blog Banter. What is Blog Banter?

Blog Banter is a group of bloggers passionate about video games. We enjoy getting together once a month to write about the same subject. You will be amazed at the different viewpoints so many people can have on the same exact topic. If you are interested in participating, contact bs angel for more information. Enjoy our stories!

It was the late summer of 2004. Yes, that incredibly hot summer in which it was too hot inside buildings and God forbid you wanted to go outside during the day! I remember that for several weeks I didn’t sleep in a bed, but rather outside in a tent with my housemates and stayed up far too late drinking and meeting all sorts of gorgeous second and third year students.

Yep, that’s right, it was the summer I moved to the UK and it was the summer of fun!

During that summer I also found my love for gaming, or much rather the Xbox. If you had asked me before what an Xbox, a video game console or the latest game is, I would’ve just looked at you blankly and probably not even be able to name the PlayStation 2. Gaming was just a completely different thing to everything I knew until then.

It was one of the last really hot days that year and I was at a work friend’s house with some others. We were at work, but finished early and as most of us had to travel home by train or walk long stretches we decided to wait until the evening and rather all converge at someone’s house.

The house was full of Xbox Consoles. All three people living there owned at least one and in addition it was the place to hang out and have LAN parties.

After all of us had some cold beer to cool us down and we shared several pizzas among us, the boredom set in until one of us looked at the big stack of games. There were enough copies of Halo: Combat Evolved, Crimson Skies and some racing game to be able to link it up and play against each other. We decided to play Crimson Skies.

It took us a good while to set it all up, but eventually all six of us had their own console, controller, game and TV. I wasn’t joking when I said that that house had all the LAN equipment you could wish for!

I bet not many of you have ever played Crimson Skies. If you haven’t, make sure you pick it up when Microsoft release it as part of the ‘Originals’ as download on the Dashboard or buy it cheaply and use the backwards compatibility. It is a lot of fun to play, has an addictive single player mode and to this date has people playing it on Xbox Live.

Back to the LAN… Crimson Skies is forgiving; newcomers to the game are able to pick it up quickly and have a chance against longtime players [I’d love to see that in Halo!] and the maps are odd enough you discover something new every time you play.

It was during a game of Capture the flag. There was much at stake, before the start of the game we had made the bet that the losing team would go to the shop and buy more to drink. Plus the usual banter on who is better. My team wasn’t the best, none of us had played the game before that day and the other team not only fielded two players who had completed the game, but also consisted of a guy who is brilliant at every single game. Not that I would ever tell him that though, his ego is big enough!

The game was on the upside down ancient aztec temple map which consists of a roughly symmetrical map inside a big cave with many chances to not only crash your plane but also loose track of your opponents within seconds.

Two minutes into the game and the other team launched an all sided assault and captured our flag. We were helpless. Well, three of us were.. I had already adapted my tactic of bomb/flag/objective girl back then and was next to their flag when they killed my entire team and stole our flag. Nevertheless, I grabbed it and flew along one of the small, sneaky paths that would lead me directly to my base. It wasn’t a very common way, so I didn’t think anyone else would be there. How wrong was I?! Right in front of me was the enemy flag carrier! I noticed him a split second before he spotted me which gave me an edge and I shot him down. His team mates were already back at his base, so I could score with no opposition. 1-0 to us.

Everyone had re spawned, it was time to await their return. All of us took up strategic positions inside the big cave, but it was no use, we were practically slaughtered. 1-1

Upon re spawning we killed the enemy that remained in our base to capture the flag as soon as they score it and I made my way back over to the other base. Luckily they didn’t spot me and again I managed to grab the flag. As I set off for my return I realised why they didn’t spot me. It was a trap and within seconds I had three of them on my back, firing their guns and missiles on me. No chance.. Somehow they also sneakily grabbed our flag and scored which was followed by loud cheering from them and us of course insisting they cheated! 1-2 to the enemy

15 minutes and the score is tied 4-4. Miraculously we had managed to keep up with them which saw several desperate flag saves, one right in front of their base and some of us had sacrificed ourselves and kamikaz’ed into enemies to ensure whoever on our team had the flag would score it. There was also a lot of shouting going on and victory dances on either side!

This was the decider. Whoever would score this last flag would win the match and the loser would have to walk to the shop and back with the extreme heat outside!

Both teams were cautious and it felt a bit more like a dogfight as no one had the courage to actually grab the flag. When we had the slight advantage with most of them dead or at low health they had to repair themselves we decided to go for it. One remained on ‘D’, two came with me taking the most obvious route to their base. We came up against one of them who was dead immediately with the three of us shooting him. The flag was ours for the taking and I grabbed it to take it back to our base. Just when we’re about to leave their cave, two of them re spawn and took us by surprise. One of my team members was shot down and the other one badly damaged. Surprisingly I escaped unscathed and, having the advantage of using a faster plane, managed to set some distance between me and my followers.

I had forgotten about their team member who suddenly materialised in front having waited for me. To this date I don’t know how I pulled it off.. I did a back spin followed by some barrel rolls to avoid his missiles. That also meant his team mates managed to catch up with me and I was surrounded by three of them. Barrel rolls seem to do the trick, they weren’t able to home their missiles and couldn’t use their gun much in case of shooting each other. It bought me just enough time for my team mates to arrive and a huge battle ensued.

I was somehow able to pull away and carry on back to our base. I decided to take a detour through a smaller cave with many objects blocking the way, so in case someone followed me, they wouldn’t be able to use their missiles. And I was right, just when I entered that cave I was getting shot at and barely made it behind some big stalactites. Having substituted weapon power for speed and lost half of my health I was in no shape or form to take him on. My only chance was to trick him. Some more barrel rolls allowed him to catch up. As soon as he was just behind me I did a backspin carefully avoiding all the stalactites. He wasn’t so lucky. He pulled up and crashed directly into a smaller one.

All there was now left for me was to carry on and bring victory home. 5-4 to us. We win! Not bad for playing the game for the first time!

Of course they said we should play a best of three and that it was only the warm up, but they couldn’t even get through to us, we were cheering and dancing around the room.

It was one of the very first times I had ever played a multiplayer game and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Sure, I had some great times on Xbox Live and there are some single player games that have moved me, but nothing compared to winning a match against people who had played the game before by some lucky stalactites, the pressure and the ability to bring this up many, many times over the years.

Infact, I think I might have to go and send someone an email… ;)

Cat

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33 Responses to Blog Banter: Just how much fun LAN can be!

  1. B0bbyG says:

    This is an unbelievably gamer-ish post. The great thing about it is, even though I’ve never played Crimson Skies, I knew exactly what you were talking about – every emotion and every experience. You describe the feeling of playing a good multiplayer game brilliantly!

    That video is cheesy but cool. :) I almost forgot Microsoft’s slogan used to be “Where do you want to go today?”. It’s made me go all nostalgic…

    Like

  2. Cat says:

    Thank you!

    It’s just that thrill of playing a game, the pressure, the taunting..

    The video is actually from the PC version and yes, it’s very cheesy! And I do think that it was one of their better slogans.

    Like

  3. cityztarz says:

    I always Liked Crimson Sky. I never had it for my Xbox so I always would beg my parents to get it for me. Did I ever get it? NOPE :)

    Like

  4. Cat says:

    Unlucky!

    But it’s coming out on Xbox Marketplace as a download soon. It’s part of the Xbox Originals.

    Like

  5. ish says:

    I haven’t played any games you have mentioned. In fact, I’ve not played many games in my life and have never owned a playstation or an xbox because my parents think it’s complete waste of money and time. And the concept of LAN gaming isn’t very popular in my city though it is picking up in other big cities.

    The only game I played in an internet cafe once was the counter terrorist one..I don’t even know what it’s called but what I do know is that we beat the other team 3-0 and they had to pay all the money. :P

    Like

  6. Cat says:

    That’s because pretty much all my games are 360 games. The 360 only came out this year in India, no?

    LAN gaming is good, best with friends, like this though.

    Counter Strike? And well done!

    On a sidenote I can’t believe peopel are reading this long post!! :)

    Like

  7. belpers says:

    Right on Cat… Crimson Skies is great… closest thing to satisfying my love for the old Star Wars Tie Fighter vs. X-wing dog fighter game.

    Thanks!

    BSB belpers

    Like

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  9. bs angel says:

    I haven’t played this game before although I do have it.

    “Crimson Skies is forgiving; newcomers to the game are able to pick it up quickly and have a chance against longtime players.”

    This is definitely a feature they need in more titles. Sounds like an awesome LAN game.

    What a fun experience. Friends. Beer. Gaming. Just awesome!

    Like

  10. Cat says:

    @ belpers: I’ve heard that they are great. One of my friends goes on and on and on about it! :)

    @ bs angel: You really should give this a go. The single player is whacky and the game is set in an alternate world. And you’re right, too many games have a too high difficulty curve and demand too much practice for the casual player.

    Yep, good times! :)

    Like

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  12. bs angel says:

    I think having a nice mix of games between the current favorites to games such as this one that the majority of people can pick up and remain competitive is the key to a LAN. You always gotta have your Halo, GoW, CoD4, etc and then GH, DDR, or something like this to pull everybody in. Plus, that way the spouses/significant others can get involved as well! You can stay and game longer if your other half is happily occupied. :)

    Like

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  15. Cat says:

    Exactly. It’s all about having a mix. :)

    Like

  16. Yes, awesome post Cat! Too bad I didn’t catch it earlier! Excellent write-up! You have a knack for getting those emotions written down well!

    And I love Crimson Skies! Fantastic game :)

    Like

  17. Cat says:

    I don’t know what to say, thanks! :)

    And yeah, I can’t wait for it to come out as Download!

    Like

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  19. Luke says:

    That was a great article. Loved the detail.
    I’ll check to see if my Gamestop has it or just wait for the update (which i just realized is soon!). After a few hours ill have to challenge you to a few matches ;)

    Oh and I love your CAD gamerpic

    Like

  20. Ashish says:

    I wanna do it too! :P

    [And its not fair for you to do this many posts when I’m away and not one when I’m online. :D ]

    Like

  21. Ashish says:

    BTW, I’ve played Crimson Skies on PC. :P

    Like

  22. Cat says:

    Thanks Luke and thanks for stopping by. :)

    I haven’t played the game in ages, but I do intened to download it if it comes to the Dashboard. I’ll need some practice myself, but I’m up for it!

    And thanks, I’m a VERY big CAD fan. I guess it makes me look too geeky to say that I’ve got some Tshirts aswell…

    Ashish Its all on angel’s blog. Top right of her sidebar. Next one will be in a month.

    And I was gonna post something, but I’m on dialup atm. The whole area has no net, something happened with the bad weather.

    Like

  23. boffman22 says:

    Great Article. I love Crimson Skies! It was the second xbox game I owned besides the obvious Halo. Never played it on LAN but I did system link with a couple friends.

    Like

  24. Cat says:

    Well, LAN and system link are the same think really, just LAN has a few more people. That;’s what I thought anyway. :)

    And thanks. :)

    Like

  25. Ashish says:

    Ok. I just saw that I already commented yesterday saying I played it. Me stupid.

    Like

  26. Ashish says:

    Well you do know I did it. :P I forgot to mention I did play Crimson Skies on the PC. Awesome game really! :)

    Like

  27. Cat says:

    I’m confused..

    Like

  28. Ashish says:

    Well I don’t know how but those comments posted in reverse order. Malfunction?

    Like

  29. Cat says:

    Of course it’s a malfunction… Yeah, right! :P

    Like

  30. Ashish says:

    Well truthfully, yeah. I posted the second one first and then the first one but it somehow changed its order…..

    Like

  31. Cat says:

    Yeah, that’s what they all say..

    Like

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