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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Lost and Lonely Multiplayer Shoot-the-man Games

    I’ve discovered a surreal sub-pastime. I’ve discovered long-forgotten tribes, comfortably keeping ancient traditions (just barely) alive.

    It started when I went back to play some 10-year-old games I’d missed on release, including No One Lives Forever. I finished the single player game, and in a fit of whimsy, clicked the “multiplayer” button. I joined the only populated server. I saw people! Approximately four of them, engaged in the happy activity of lagging around a nightclub throwing poisoned perfume at each other.

    “Who are these people?” I marveled. “How long have they been here? Do they know TF2 is free now? Or are they just ironic tourists like me?” It warmed my heart, especially when I turned out to be an equal match for at least their lower echelon. I was further pleased to discover a real live facebook group of NOLF multiplayer fans! I, uh, never ended up going back and playing again. >_>

    Star Wars: Republic Commando (a newer game, but still 8 years old) helped me discover this eerie sensation again, a couple of days ago, as I was repeatedly sniped by someone who has apparently invested a great portion of those 8 years into sniping. That was a much less laggy time, and I may actually go back again.

    I see these lonesome servers on lists that are designed to hold so many more, and I become inordinately wistful. =P There’s a few facets to it…the idea of these stalwart fans of a particular system, watching all but a handful of their fellows migrate to the next big thing…but also the lovely idea that even a decade later (games having such a uniquely short lifespan) there is someone playing on this old playground, keeping it from lapsing fully into “bygone” status. How can I explain it? It feels like wandering into an Entmoot, or seeing an archive of a geocities website devoted to a poet that nobody knows.

    (Admittedly, the subject matter of SPACE MARINES and SUB-MACHINE GUNS is a contrast to all these hazy meditations. =P)

    Two more things I wonder: firstly, since there only seem to be a handful of people playing any one of these old games, do they become fast friends? Or do they continue the mostly-silent public server weapon-scrounging mindset? Weirdly, the couple of games I played seemed to tend towards the latter…but I have always been chattier than the average FPS player, especially in games without voice chat. Hm.

    Secondly, DEAR READER, have you ever traipsed into such a time capsule of a server as the ones I mentioned? Or, even better, are you a regular member of the Old Guard for a game like this, treading the familiar path to where the secret minigun spawns, while clucking your tongue at unfortunate travelers like me? Or PERHAPS BEST OF ALL, do you skip all that nonsense entirely and go for the convenient LAN option, inviting all your friends over to play Descent 2 in the garage, as though you live in some sort of Atlantis of Games?
    Last edited by Berzee; 12-02-2013 at 03:52 PM.
    Support for my all-pepperjack-cheese food bank charity drive has been lukewarm at best.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus DaftPunk's Avatar
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    Went back to "global operations" and empty servers..Shame,would love to play few rounds.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I was one of the proud few for a few games. Often stealth based games where people have more of a misdirection and second guessing bent to them. But I've completely given up on real time multiplayer games in favour of pbem lately (except the turn based but hurried bloodbowl) since the birth of my third child, I'm just too tired and/or my kids are sleeping and I need to be quiet and voip is core to real time teamwork. I want to get back to these micro communities, hopefully they will still exist when I try.

    The games:
    Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Versus (aka shadowstrike from pandora's tomorrow)
    Hidden Source
    Alien Swarm (ut2004)
    Homeworld 2
    Free Alliegence
    ... (more as as I recall them)
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus DaftPunk's Avatar
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    Chaos Theory versus was empty last time i checked in .. :(


    We need new stealth based multiplayer game!

  5. #5
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    The heck happened to Project Stealth?

    I checked Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena for servers. There were none.

    Wonder if anyone's still playing the old Ghost Recon. I have Island Thunder but still don't have Desert Siege.

  6. #6
    Network Hub Ayam's Avatar
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    I found dudes in what I presume was a custom map in Red Faction multiplayer. There were Satanic symbols all over the floor and europop was blasting out as the bgm. It was the only populated server if I remember correctly. Maybe 3 or 4 dudes in there other than me, made me question whether it was actually a particularly silly dream I had falling asleep on a Friday night in front of my computer.

  7. #7
    There are still people playing Red Alert: Renegade (albeit through an alternative server browser) and the last time I checked their were a fair amount of servers. I've stopped playing it (although this thread is making want to hop in again) but friends that got me into it still play it from time to time, so I'm assuming it isn't dead yet.

    as I was repeatedly sniped by someone who has apparently invested a great portion of those 8 years into sniping

    THIS! I've had so many ramjet shots to the face in the little time I spent with it, it almost made me cry. The friends that got me into it played with and against people consisting mostly of 'those guys'

    You've ever been playing a game so well that people called you a cheater? That happened constantly to one of my friends. I've sat next to him watching him play match after match only ever making headshots... even with shotguns.

    firstly, since there only seem to be a handful of people playing any one of these old games, do they become fast friends?


    Yes, you tend to run into the same people a lot. I've also found that when personalities clash, their shared passion for the game turns what would otherwise result in a lot of hurt and angry feelings into healthy rivalries.

    Or do they continue the mostly-silent public server weapon-scrounging mindset? Weirdly, the couple of games I played seemed to tend towards the latter…but I have always been chattier than the average FPS player, especially in games without voice chat. Hm.


    If there is any community at all, they're probably using an external voip program like Teamspeak or Ventrilo. Even now ingame voice chat is often done fairly poorly, without the added benefit of having any control or moderation of it other than muting people.

    I've also found that, because the community is so small, there are distinct 'peak hours' during which most people are online. Usually dictated by when most of the community is at work or sleeping.

    If there is any activity at all be sure to check on it on several points during the day and see what happens to the number of players and servers online. For example, some Renegade server only came online when the owner got home from work.

    Also, be sure to check in what places the game was most popular. That could help a lot in figuring out when most people are online. In the case of Renegade, the playerbase consisted mostly of Brits and Americans, with my group of Dutch friends and one German guy being the odd ones out.

    Freelancer is also not dead yet.
    Last edited by Bork Titflopsen; 12-02-2013 at 10:53 PM.

  8. #8
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    I had this experience with Rainbow 6: Raven Shield - only community servers were left and they tended to be for gaming clans and have a regular crowd. Quite enjoyed it!

  9. #9
    Lesser Hivemind Node Juan Carlo's Avatar
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    I still play Jedi Academy Capture the Flag on occasion. It isn't exactly bursting with players, but it's definitely not dead either. You can usually find a few servers where humans outnumber the bots.

    I wish they'd release another Star Wars game with decent CTF. The combination of guns, lightsabers, and forcepowers made CTF in Jedi Academy awesome.

  10. #10
    Activated Node TheIronSky's Avatar
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    I still play Unreal Tournament 2004 with some friends on occasion. Fantastic game for LAN parties, although apartments seem to be better than garages.

    Star Wars Battlefront 2 is another favorite. Not only is that game absolutely fantastic, but there seem to still be some people who actually play it! There's a pretty great "Christian Battlefront Server" that seems to still be going strong (who knew?).

    And I really, honestly and truly, wish that there were still TimeSplitters 2 games being played. That might be my favorite first-person shooter ever. Everything about it was just perfect, from the music to the guns to the characters and the levels... Goddamn I love that game. Perhaps I'll dig out my original Xbox and get some friends to play split-screen with me.

    In not-so-new terms, I wish Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam was still around (or still being played, that is). The music combined with the atmosphere made for some of the best team-based multiplayer around, and I probably spent a good few hundred hours blasting "Let's Walk" (this song: http://grooveshark.com/s/Lets+Walk/40wlig?src=5) and another 20 just trying to find the original band.

    Oh, and it always surprises me to find so many people still playing Halo: CE. But that's a classic, so why not?

    PS - If anyone wants or has any good Vietnam-era music, feel free to PM me. I have a proverbial crapton and I'm always seeking more.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juan Carlo View Post
    I still play Jedi Academy
    Same. I love how so many old PC games have their own little communities where everybody knows everybody else.

  12. #12
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Did Jedi Academy ever have coop against bots? Because that sounds like an awesome LAN game.
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

    "It's frankly embarrassing. The mods on here are woeful."

    "I wrinkled my nose at QC being a mod."

    "At least he has some personality."

  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    I didn't play Freelancer until last year. It was odd to find these once large communities centered around a couple different mods/overhauls, still at it, having their fun, but with extremely dwindled ranks. It seemed to me that the people hanging on were almost wholly unaware that a decade had passed or that there were even other games. Maybe Star Citizen and Elite woke them from their long slumber.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    I don't want to derail the thread, but this is why we need our games to have server software with them. Imagine a game like BF3 (for example...maybe not the best one) in the future when there's only enough players to populate a few servers, it will die! It won't go on with just a few dedicated players to fill a single server for years... it will be abandoned by EA and since there is no end user server software it will just be gone.

  15. #15
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    I still go back to Jedi Outcast once a year, people are still playing. Germans especially.

  16. #16
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    When I purchased t he original Ghost Recon off of Steam a year or two ago there was a small group of players I joined up with. Although I'm pretty sure we were mostly sale newbies.

    From about 2003 to 2007 I played a lot of Day of Defeat. That was an interesting experience. Watched as this relatively big but tight knit community slowly died off, even my favorite server became vacated. Those of us left congregated in a few clan servers. My friends and myself made our way to a religious clan's server. They ran a tight ship and if you didn't mind the occasional preachy message appearing on your screen it was a good place to be. We eventually left for the greener pastures of Day of Defeat: Source, the release of which began the decline of the DoD community, I think I'll head back and see how good old DoD is doing.

  17. #17
    There are Steam Groups dedicated to playing old Mods (Science & Industry,the Hidden and so on),probably also some for other older Games.
    Great Search Engine for Game bargains:
    http://isthereanydeal.com/?by=price:asc

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkasaurusmex View Post
    It won't go on with just a few dedicated players to fill a single server for years... it will be abandoned by EA and since there is no end user server software it will just be gone.
    Quite so! But doesn't there still need to be some back-end that's been kept running for these old games, for the servers to even show up on the list? A truly abandoned game would necessitate typing in an IP address in order to be able to find a server.
    Support for my all-pepperjack-cheese food bank charity drive has been lukewarm at best.

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