Gaming Made Me: Battlefield 1942

Oh for Heaven’s sakes – Battlefield 3’s not even out yet, and already we’re previewing Battlefield 1942. There are 1938 more Battlefields to come first! Oh, wait. Yes, that’s right. The start of the series. Got it. So: Brendan Caldwell takes us back to where DICE’s war began, and reminisces about being a disgusting coward.

There was a time in first-person-shooter history, believe it or not, when World War II was not The Boring War. Oh, admit it. We all remember it well. “Dubya-dubya-two?” we asked excitedly. “Can’t get enough of it! Gimme some. I said give it to me. I want it.” Then the fatigue set in. Pineapple grenades lost their novelty. German uniforms didn’t give us a rude-on anymore. So we discarded World War II, like a soggy Metro full of old nibs.

Oh, but remember the good times. The French hedgerows, the crumbling grey bunkers. The beaches. The endless, endless beaches. Nothing like a trail of unsaved Private Ryans to soak up the salt, the sea and the atmosphere of intense brutality. Catching some rays by the seaside there, Private? Ah! You cannot be. For it is overcast. Also, you are dead.

Good times, indeed.

For all the atmosphere WWII shooters had and for all the dubious range of emotions they evoked there was one thing about war they often failed to communicate. A sense of scale.

Battlefield 1942 got it right. For this, I adore it.

For anyone who hasn’t got their war on, Battlefield 1942 strayed from the usual campaign driven levels and instead focused on multiplayer and large-scale maps. It popularised the domination mode of shooters in which if you stand around a certain capture point long enough, the flag of your nation will eventually go up on a nearby pole. I would try this in real life to see if it works but the only flagpoles near me right now are in West Belfast. I do not want to change any flags down there. Just like in BF 1942, I risk being shot at by wankers.

This radical switch to huge, open maps was one thing that granted BF 1942 its sense of scale. Corridor shooters like Call of Duty merely gave the illusion of scale – cinematic moments when dozens of soldiers would run across the corpses of the previous wave. The game’s mindset towards the player was that of Stalin towards Nazi invaders. Empty our prisons at them. Make them think we have more fighters than we do. Overwhelm them with numbers.

This is not true scale. It’s impressive and in a corridor shooter is entirely commendable. I’m tempted to say it’s not big or clever. But it is clever. It’s just not big.

Battlefield 1942 is big. In the geography beloved by Unrealists and Quakers multiplayer maps are tight, bright, corner-strewn affairs. All corridors and bottomless pits. Frantic firefights are the desired effect. In the multiplayer of early CoDs and other clones, the design of small levels continued for some reason. The philosophy of ‘many players, few rooms’ was taken for granted. The rooms became half-destroyed farmhouses and the corridors became roads with bocage on either side. But that feeling remained. The feeling of fighting in a confined space, with no strategic impetus apart from ‘kill them Nazis, maggot.’ The action was only slightly bigger – it was action out in the open but it wasn’t open action.

When the silly-massive maps of BF 1942 confronted an often under-populated server of players something wonderful and terrifying happened. The snipers came out en masse. You could not raise your helmet without a snipers bullet coming hurtling toward you and having a strop at your head. How dare your head be fully intact? So, the snipers came out. All of a sudden WWII multiplayer changed. It didn’t feel like a povvo’s Counterstrike anymore. It didn’t feel frantic – it felt tense. It didn’t feel like a sport – it felt like war.

Even smaller city maps like Berlin or Stalingrad became polarised. There were the snipers, then, there were the sniped. Or that’s how it often seemed. By changing the philosophy of map design from ‘few rooms, many players’ to ‘open stretches, many dickheads’ BF 1942 was fully prepared to slam its next big contribution to the FPS down – the domination mode.

Kills don’t count for much in any domination mode, unless they’re helping you to capture or defend important points. So multiplayer started to realise, with BF 1942, that war was not about killing your opponent but about killing your opponent if it suits you. (It usually does. But still.) War isn’t a mindless rampage through a few corridors. War is standing back for a second and thinking, “Okay, what the hell do I do now? What’s my objective?”

That’s the question – what’s my objective? The first WWII game to make me stop and think for a second – to think about war seriously – was not the cinematic, trying-to-be-more-meaningful-than-it-was Call of Duty. It was Battlefield 1942. When confronted with a dozen snipers, death and a long respawn at every hilltop (and a voice crying “The enemy has taken our position!”) you will eventually ask yourself that question: what’s my objective?

Turns out mine was to stay alive. Always. Surviving always came before killing. The more likely I was to die by running towards a firefight, the less likely I was to do it. I play as a coward in shooters because that’s how I’d be in war. Everybody else thinks it’s weird. They get combat high. I get evasion high.

To present to you, ladies and gentlemen, the odd thing: it works. I’m not bullshitting, here. Cowardice as an FPS strategy works. In team deathmatch it’s the kill-to-death ratio that counts. The obvious choice is concentrate on killing and worry about dying after that. But the opposite works as well. Minimise your deaths and then pop a few cheeky shots off here and there when necessary. Madness, you say? I’m role-playing this, homes. Get over it. So long as your kill-to-deathio stays high, you’re not letting your team down.

But it’s in the domination mode that Battlefield 1942 is loved for that the Coward’s strategy pays off best in. You see, all the snipers? They played the exact same strategy. Keep your head down, your deaths low and role play as Vasily Zaytsev. So the only way to counter it was to do the same and sneak up around them. Your kill-to-death ratio counts for squits. In the end, it’s whichever coward raises the flag that matters.

That’s what made BF 1942 so good. It didn’t just have scale. It had strategic scale. Okay, it wasn’t as Spartan as Operation Flashpoint or ArmA 2. It didn’t terrorise you with planning and it didn’t demand perfect execution. But that was never its goal and it was never my goal. Despite tiring of every CoDpiece, I still want to play war – not simulate it.

Between hardcore strategic simulators and tight traditional shooters, Battlefield 1942 presented the perfect middle ground. It was a ground wide open, caught within a dozen sniper’s crosshairs. One of which, I am no longer ashamed to say, was mine.


  1. The Army of None says:

    Superb article, really brings back what was great about playing this back in the day. That and, y’know, diving out of planes into other planes, then crashing into the deck of a carrier and stealing yet a third plane.

    • Martha Stuart says:

      And also IIRC the rise of the Jihad jeep.

    • Eggy says:

      It took some skill in Bf1942 though, you had to drive carefully for the detpacks to remain in the jeep, with BF2 you could just stick them on everything you liked.

      The things I remember most fondly from BF1942 were the wing walking on pretty much any plane, sea warfare and capture the flag on wake island picking the flagcarrier up by swooping in low with a SBD Dauntless.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      *** If anyone else’s nostalgia juices have been set flowing and they’d fancy an RPS game then head over to: link to ***

  2. ran93r says:

    We were well into a lunchtime gaming session where I worked at the time and I remember playing the 1942 multiplayer demo in the office, we then moved on to the full game. Excellent times.

    • Memph says:

      I’d tried the demo, after something like 10mins i was on my way to town to get a copy. I don’t think i’d even scored a kill. I just couldn’t believe the sheer vastness of the map and amount of things i could be driving, flying and crashing into other things.

    • mortarman says:

      bf1942 will have new master server see this link

      link to

      we will not go quietly into the night we will not vanish without a fight
      We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day! from ea!
      we are one community all bf1942 fans! we have to set aside our differences and work as one to save bf1942!

      please share this info all over the internet we wont let bf1942 die
      if your a bf1942 server admin
      name your server go to

      i hope that will raise some eyebrows

      i hope ax simple schindler’s list moongamers and many more servers that are well known will name the server this way for the next 2 weeks

      this new master server will fix the freeze of death! on update list

      if you care for the old battlefields and they do close bf2 bf2142 don’t buy into that pay to win cod clone bf3 bf4 crap and

      join the new master server on bf1942 show you do care for the real battlefields and let ea keep it shit

  3. dethtoll says:

    Atmosphere my foot. It had basically zero in the way of sound design; I couldn’t get over how empty and lifeless the maps felt. It’s like every battle happened in a vacuum, where all you heard was your gun, the gun of the guy 10 feet away, and footsteps behind you right before your teammate knifes you for the plane.

    Also, no game that ugly should take that long to load.

  4. MistaJah says:

    Was? It still has players, especially mods do. Go check on any server tracker (RIP ASE) and see! Also, I didn’t even know it had a sniper problem in the early days… Certainly not anymore.

  5. Sparvy says:

    I have to admit I never got tired with WW2, but then I never cared much about originality or innovation if it didn’t include quality and fun.

  6. JB says:

    I have very fond memories of BF1942. It was the first multplayer game I really got into (dabbled in Quake2 a bit).

    Coral Sea – craziness!

  7. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Haha, I loved this article! Brings back so many memories, I still remember hiding my kamikaze jeep in bushes and waiting for a full half track to come past, and then ramming it at full speed with my jeep covered in C4, I also liked sniping.

    Although, I must say BF Vietnam was equally fun for me and my mates, nothing quite like bombing your opponents position with napalm :D.

    I never quite got into BF2, due mostly to lack of good internet for a while, but hopefully BF3 is good!

    • GenBanks says:

      Same, I love 1942 but for some reason I have a lot more memories of Vietnam :)
      Especially the helicopter rides to the front lines while listening to music!

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Haha, oh god, you just reminded me, I loved blasting the Vietnam era, hippy tunes on my war machine, ahh such fun times :)

    • Tams80 says:

      The music, THE MUSIC. That is what made BF Vietnam. Well that and all the helicopters, napalm and rice paddies you could throw a stick at!

    • Dozer says:

      There was a BF:V server I used to play on a lot in 2005 which had swapped all the ground vehicles for more helicopters. That was awesome. Especially when I gained the element of surprise by abandoning the helicopter, partially taking a control point on foot, planting C4 (which can stick to anything) halfway up the flagpole, hiding in a nearby barn, and blowing up the opposing helicopter pilot when he hovered two feet away from the flagpole to recapture the point. Good times.

      Also, trying to fit a Huey inside a temple on a hill to capture the flag there. It was barely possible.

  8. BAReFOOt says:

    The moment I first shot a ballistic round from a ship’s cannon onto a hill, and saw people being pushed sideways for 20 meters by the pressure wav, jeeps flying in a somersault, and the tank I targeted fly apart, I was so damn sold!!

  9. BrendanJB says:

    I’ll just leave this here – link to

    BF1942 was definitely my favorite game at that time. There was just so much to love. So much to do.

    I’ve recently been getting in to Project Reality, and after the rather HUGE learning curve, its one of the most satisfying shooters I’ve ever played.

  10. Davee says:

    Ahh yes. The nostalgia! One of my all-time favourite games.

  11. GenBanks says:

    I think the boring-ness of WW2 has worn off now. ‘Modern warfare’ is the ruling cliched game setting.

    I think world war 1 is what deserves to have games made of it. Before anyone says ‘all you’d be able to do is walk out of your trench and get killed’, there were plenty of battles during that war which WOULD lend themselves to gaming. Even with trench warfare, if someone can make a good game out of the slaughter on Omaha beach, then someone can make a good game out of the slaughter at Verdun or the Somme. It just hasn’t been done yet, because a good developer hasn’t committed to the task.

    • Mattressi says:

      Yeah, I agree; WW1 is where the next lot of games should be set. But then, I’m weird – I’d also love to see a few first person American revolution games too, which everyone seems to think would be pretty boring. I just think they’re interesting settings with interesting tools and tactics (or lack thereof). Even as an Aussie, I think that the American revolution would be a great setting for a game.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Well, the centennial of the Sarajevo assassination is coming up in just three years, so it’s a good time developers start pre-production on their WW1 AAA titles now.

    • James Allen says:

      Then I present to you The Trench: 1916.

    • Archonsod says:

      I’m still waiting for the Napoleonic first person shooter. I’m amazed nobody has licensed Sharpe yet in fact.

    • Tams80 says:

      And now we proudly present: Stand Off: The Dardanelles Campaign – “Be beaten back in style.”

    • Martha Stuart says:

      or you could do something stoneage like 10,000BC. The snipers would be bowmen, and your tanks would be dudes riding Mammoths. your recon class would wear light armor (Loincloths) and heavy armor could be full on Bear skin. your artillery would be rocks.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      No, I can’t think of anything worse from a gameplay perspective than World War 1 trench warfare. Live for weeks in a mud filled trench while your feet rot off, if you pop your head up a sniper puts a bullet in it, shells explode at regular intervals and there is nothing you can do about it. Then, you get the order to go over the top, you and your mates charge out into a sea of barbed wire and machine gun fire.

      You die.

      The end.

    • GenBanks says:

      You’re repeating something I tried to address in my original comment…
      there was plenty of storming enemy fortifications/trenches, tactical breakthroughs, to and fro-ing on the battlefield, successful offensives and then counterattacks, close fought battles, acts of heroism and use of effective new weapons/technology during WW1. Plus, the western front stalemate which developed was only a small part of the war as a whole, the early stages of the war were different and there was also the eastern front, the balkans and fighting in the middle east against the Ottomans for variety. Basically, many of the gameplay staples of a WW2 game could fit in a WW1 context and it would feel much fresher.
      Also, pretty much every modern war has exposed grunts to the things you describe like extreme boredom, exhaustion, being wet/cold/dry/hot/thirsty/hungry (trench/immersion foot isn’t a problem unique to WW1) and exposure to shelling or sniper fire for extremely long periods of time. That doesn’t mean those things have to define the WW1 game any more than it defines games about WW2…

      @Mattressi I agree with you, I’ve enjoyed playing the Battlegrounds 2 mod a lot so I know musket warfare has the potential to be fun…

    • malkav11 says:

      I present to you WWI Medic from the people who brought us Dwarf Fortress.

      But anyway, WWI definitely invokes the grinding slog of trench warfare to most people, but there were other operational theaters and other forms of combat going on. It’s kind of like how people always associate Vietnam with the jungle-based guerrilla warfare, which, to be fair, did constitute a significant portion of the fighting, but there was also city combat and a limited amount of direct army confrontation and such.

    • HeavyHarris says:

      link to
      Check this out.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      @GenBanks – fair enough. I stand corrected.

  12. Dreamhacker says:

    Although I really enjoyed BF42 back then, after BF2 I never really went back. BF2 is, technologically, way ahead of BF42. The sound, the tempo, the graphics, the physics, the vehicles, the terrain, almost all of it was greatly improved.
    However, the BF42 mod scene was much better. Anyone remember the Star Wars mod? Good times.

    • Koozer says:

      It was called Galactic Conquest! I spent more time on that than in the vanilla game. Which was a very, very long time.

      It had capital ships! It had B-wings! If you flew at a capital ship from just the right approach to avoid the gunfire, you could land on the top, get out, and drop through the secret panel into the bridge. Proceed shooting everyone on the guns, then escape in an escape pod.

      My best memory was on the ISS Judicator level. I was a lone Rebel trooper, working my way down the winding corridors to a lone point, when I heard the sound of blaster fire in the distance. I turned and hid in an alcove, and watched 4 stormtroopers run past me down the corridor. My heart was pounding!

      Getting in a cloud bus on Bespin with 4 other guys crammed in, flying it up to the roof of the skybox, then promptly jumping out on unision consumed many days.

      AT-ATs! Speeder bikes that exploded to the slightest scrape! Landspeeders! Controllable mouse droids! Jabba’s barge! Watching people get in Republic Gunships, rise up slowly then suddenly flip forwards and explode!

      I think I need a lie down now.

    • Rii says:

      I’m sad that I missed out on this ‘Galactic Conquest’ action.

    • GenBanks says:

      lol Koozer i think you’ve made a lot of people jealous with your stories, myself included.

    • Koozer says:

      Heh, that isn’t the half of it. Hiding in the Millennium Falcon to ambush unsuspecting Rebels in their hangar on Hoth, flying down the Death Star trench as a Y-wing gunner taking shots at the TIE fighters on your tail, piloting stormtroopers in a Lambda shuttle across to the Mon Calamari floating platforms…

      For god sake, I’m going to have to reinstall it now, see if any servers are actually still up. The only reason I stopped playing was because the servers died.

  13. lethu says:

    Remember that fan made video which perfectly summed up the fun to be had in the game in a pretty stylish way imbibed with Cuban(?) music and some magic?

  14. thenagus says:

    I think I have more fond memories of this game than any other.

    I don’t really remember much of a sniper problem. More, I remember it being a game where working as a team really made a difference, with co-ordination being key.

    Most of all though, I remember it for the fantastic mods. I suspect only HL2 has anything like the amount of large-scale mods that BF1942 had back in the day. There was such variety as well.

    I must have spent 100’s of hours playing medieval-style mods, like Siege and Sengoku. In retrospect, they were really not very good- the engine just wasnt made for sensible melee battles. But at the time, they were fun as hell.

    And then there was the Pirates Mod, a few apocolyptic wasteland mods, WWI mods, Vietnam mods, Scifi mods (the Star Wars mod was fantastic!), Stunt mods, racing mods, and of course countless WWII and modern warfare mods. Im pretty sure I remember a mod with mechs, and another which was all about jetboat racing. A lot of these were small enough that there was only one server, and te regulars quicky got to know each other- there was a great sense of community.

    Only the biggest of them had the polish we generally excpect from mods today, but for me it was an exiting golden age of modding. It makes me really sad that most of those mods will never be played again. Nowadays, theres quite a few desert combat servers populated, and one Forgotten Hope server, and thats about it mod-wise. Real shame.

    • JB says:

      Oh yes, Desert Combat was a lot of fun. I was in a great tourney/ladder thing at one point, proper comand structure etc.

  15. Insidious Rex says:

    Aw man, now i’m going to have to go into the loft and rummage through dusty boxes to find my copy of BF1942. Then download and install Desert Combat…and Silent Heroes…

    • Doctor_Hellsturm says:

      Haha! Silent Heroes was absolutely great! One of my favourites along with FH.

  16. kyrieee says:

    Wow, I don’t remember it being that ugly

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      She hasn’t aged well that’s for sure, I went into BF2 the other day, but it hurt my eyes also

  17. Juiceman says:

    Sheeit, when I first got BF1942 I only had 28k dial up. I had to play single player with bots, which was still tons of fun for the time. Then I was like George Jefferson and I was movin on up to 56k, online matches and never lookin back. I still have that damn theme song on my ipod.

  18. JayArr says:

    God, I used to love those massive Pacific theatre maps. If you could get a decent 4-man crew on a destroyer you could spend ages roaming around the map terrorizing the enemy fleet, hunting down their carrier and sinking it, or grabbing a plane and trying to use it to circle capture points closely enough to take it for your team.

    And there was a really great Battle of Britain-only server which I loved. BF1943 really missed those maps, it just wasn’t any fun in comparison.

    I loved that Star Wars mod, but it used to kill my old computer for some reason. So did Desert Combat, actually.

  19. strange headache says:

    Oh yes the fun we had. For a time, my friends and me decided to host a stunt server and all we did was making crazy stunts and recording videos of it. BF1942 was the best fun I ever had in a FPS game because it was a little bit buggy, but not too much, so you could do the craziest things. It’s a shame that newer BF games never allowed for this to happen.

    Check out one of our old school videos here:
    link to

    And here:
    link to

  20. Kuroko says:

    Red Orchestra has the perfect middle ground, not Battlefield

    • Tams80 says:

      I think Red Orchestra leans more towards the simulation side. Damn can it be difficult!

  21. JayArr says:

    Oh, there was an El Alamein CTF server that was great as well. Battling for spawn points close to the enemy base, then trying to get a couple of jeeps in to swipe the flag. You’d need two because the first one would have to get blown up by all the mines and dynamite inevitably surrounding the flag itself.

    Or you could do what I usually did and play as a sniper and get up into the hills near the base and relay information on their defences to the rest of your team. Interestingly, that’s basically how I play on Bad Company 2 now, running around the hills on Heavy Metal doing the exact same stuff I did 6/7 years ago on BF1942.

  22. Chris Evans says:

    Never really played ’42 or Vietnam online, was stuck on a crummy 56K connection paying 1p a minute in the evenings. BF2 was my online game of choice, but I do have some very fond memories of playing with bots on ’42 and Vietnam.

    Did anyone ever play the Special Weapons expansion? I remember playing the demo of that non-stop just against bots, some good times.

    • Hunam says:

      I didn’t think much of the secret weapons addon. There was lots of maps with it, but they just weren’t that good to be honest. Road to Rome had like 6 maps in that expansion, something which should have annoyed everyone, but those were 6 of the best maps ever made in a BF game. The base game had like 20 or something maps, but only about 8 were worth playing.

  23. starclaws says:

    Meh I don’t think ‘whichever’ coward raises the flag is even close. As if you wanted to be a cowered then you would sit on the aircraft carrier with the other cowards doing nothing all game. It usually all boiled down to whatever team had the most people going to a flag winning. As those minibattles usually were the main point of the game. As bombers slaughtered and got 50+ kills and kept their airports/carriers busy. If the cowards didn’t do anything then they still lost.

  24. crainey92 says:

    Oh the bombers, the nostalgia.

    • Dozer says:

      If you exit the upper gunner’s station on the B-17, you find yourself standing on the wing. Great if you’re an engineer – you can wrench the plane back to health then get back inside!

  25. ArcaneSaint says:

    Oh, I absolutely loved this game! I didn’t like the other one, Battlefield 2 as much because the sniper rifles felt kinda… nerfed (I mean, in 1942 one bullet to the head could kill anyone, after that their skulls had apparently grown a lot thicker thanks to natural selection and thus required at least two bullets to pierce)

  26. Hunam says:

    One of the best things I’ve had in gaming was in BF1942. Well, the demo. The second demo anyway, after the patch so you could actually play it :P

    I was at a Game On LAN back in 2001 and me and 4 friends were facing off against 5 random people from the lan on Wake Island. We we’re the Japanese and started off on the carrier. Seeing as we’d been playing it a bit before hand at my friends house (at a pre-LAN LAN) we’d got into the stupid habit of fighting over planes.

    So as we start the match we all rolled as engies to get the rocket launcher and the closest person to a plane jumped in and started to take off, obviously someone hit him with a rocket. We we’re all pretty great shots with them too. For the next 15 minutes it just continued with us fighting over and over for the first person to take off in a plane. I then asked my friends if someone was driving the carrier and we all looked around and realised we were moving, turns out we’d gone and sunk our own carrier with plane explosions and hand held rocket launchers.

    So as you expect as the carrier was heading to the depths of the pacific, we carried on fighting over the plane till we got distracted with the sinking and one of us snuck off with a bomber. At this point the other 5 guys were getting pissed off that we’d been dicking around the entire time and demanded we get the game on. So we steam rolled them in like 3 minutes much to their ire. Still one of the best bits of gaming I ever had.

    • JB says:

      “we all rolled as engies to get the rocket launcher”
      Engies don’t have the rocket launcher, that belongs to Mr. Anti-tank. The engy has a rifle and detpacks. And a big tool.

    • Hunam says:

      You’re absolutely right. But it’s been years and I keep misremembering stuff from 1943 with the classes. I much prefer the broader class system in the older ones. Although I think it’s about time they dropped the classes and let people make their own set ups. They were half way there is BC2 where about half the weapons in the game were on that bottom misc bit.

    • DrGonzo says:

      2142 also allowed a lot of freedom creating your character. I think it had more freedom in that respect than BC2.

      I actually spent a lot of time with 2142, while it’s not the best in the series it was really underrated in my opinion.

    • Nick says:

      2142 was the best incarnation of the class system, BC2s silly LMG medics were a terrible idea.

    • Hunam says:

      I always thought the LMG medics were an in-joke at Vietnam, where the m60 in both games is massive in power and accuracy. Vietnam was broken entirely by their M60-Nade class where the Americans were basically terminators and the Vietnam forces had to just be better and more resourceful at playing the game to even stand a chance.

  27. Player1 says:

    Best – Game – Ever – Period. And what is really amazing, is that there are still some very dedicated people working on the old engine. You should have a look at Battlegroup 42, which is everything BF42 wasn’t out of the box. It’s absolutely stunning and brilliant, and is still being developed. Version 1.8 is around the corner and is going to be epic.

  28. paterah says:

    Me and my friends used to play this on lan, awesome times :)

  29. trooperdx3117 says:

    Oh god I loved this did anyone ever play the operation huskey map in the road to rome expansion, it was a giant map that started with a beach assault by landing craft and paratroopers to take a hill on the right flank and then push on the ridgeline to take the bunkers and then another intense battle for a bridge and then finally another battle for a village next to an airstrip. One of my favourite memories was when me and my buddys spawned in as paratroopers and avoided combat as much as possible so that we could sneak our way behind enemy lines and grab the one bomber that spawns on the map, it was absolutely brilliant, we completely dominated the entire game with that bomber!

    • Memph says:

      Everyone tends to moan about vehicle stealing in BC2, but in BF1942 i think crashing planes into the enemy base and nicking their bomber was some of the most fun i’ve ever had in an FPS manshoot.

      Speaking of fun times i think 1942 also holds one of my all-time greatest gaming moments. Playing with a friend, i managed to get myself stranded on top of a hanger roof, out of ammo with enemies a plenty below. I call on the mic for some urgent assistance to be told by said friend help was on the way, seconds later a bomber looms into view overhead, pulls a 180 and drops out of the sky, skidding down the runway towards the hanger, flattening jeeps and infantry in it’s path and my mate jumps out, laughing his arse off. My most epic rescue ever : )

      As for jeep TNT jumping, helicopter looping, plane switching, damn i just so miss these completely absurd antics. Can’t just be me finding games more easily boring the more ‘real’ they get? I’d rather be standing with 20 other people on a bomber flying upside down than, well, pretty much anything. Just dicking around was such obscene amounts of fun. I think Desert Combat was also the first mod i’d followed through development and played as much of, if not more than the main game. One spin in a jet, albeit a short one damn they were fast, and I was hooked.

      Great article and resulting nostalgasm. Roll on BF3!

  30. cw8 says:

    I used to play this everyday for more than 2 years on a local server. Those were the days, the game never, ever got old. Bazooking planes and people, flying bombers and bombing stuff, dogfights, tank fights, Coral Sea, countering people spamming nades in Stalingrad and Berlin, spamming nades myself etc were just plain joy.

  31. godwin says:

    FH, EOD, GC, DC, I82, ’nuff said.

  32. alilsneaky says:

    Mr caldwell , I am dissapoint.

    I jumped for joy when I saw a bf1942 recap on RPS, and what did I get? A wall of text that doesn’t describe the feel or greatness of bf at all.
    What kind of bizarro world or what kind of horrible servers did you play on that the game was a sniperfest for you?

    I played this game for years, and it was all about teamplay, control of the airport(s) and taking out those tanks and AA turrets.
    Snipers accounted for maybe one in twenty or thirty deaths, you would only fear them as tank machine gunner or AA gunner (if your team let you down and you stayed in there for too long at a time).

    You could have talked about sneaky engineers taking out AA guns or rigging bunkers and flag posts or blocking choke points.

    You could have talked about the wonderful adventures of a pilot and his gunner as they take off together, get shot down eventually and continue their conquest on foot.

    You could have mentioned the expansion road to rome and it’s awesome Russian trucks with the ‘organ’ gun, the jet packs and the biggest bombers.

    You could have explained how you rode the wings of your teammate’s plane as they dropped you off behind enemy lines , or how the community had stunt clans, how the vehicle physics turned the game into even more of a sandbox.

    But no, you chose to give an extremely limited and shallow viewpoint of the game, making it sound like shit company 2 or cod with bigger maps.
    RPS articles usually make me excited for games, or at least nostalgic, this article dissapoints.

    • Felixader says:

      Hey hey hey, There may be a lot of Snipers on Bad Company 2 at times. But the Team with the most Snipers still doesn’t win.

    • Rii says:

      It was well-written and has served to kick-off an already entertaining comment thread full of reminisces, but I agree that it was perhaps a little too narrow for a game of 1942’s breadth. But then, the article series is all about one’s personal experiences with a game, not necessarily providing an objective overview…

      Incidentally, my own introduction to 1942 came from Something Awful’s review of the game. Still good for a few laughs: link to

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I don’t think you’ve any right to be pissed off at the article but I agree with all those great memories. I am definitely lusting for a re-play of 1942 now. To the forums!

    • celewign says:

      Its called “Gaming Made Me”. ME. This is from his viewpoint, which is apparently different than yours. This is what the game was to him.

    • Brendy_C says:

      Sozzlepops! Yeah, probably should have mentioned the ol’ vehicle combat. But then I would have had to tell everyone how shit I was. Like how I never learned to fly a plane properly because I always crashed approximately 10 seconds before take-off. Or how every time I got in a tank I would immediately make friends with a bomb from above.

      I did play as an engineer sometimes though! I liked them. They engineered.

  33. HexagonalBolts says:

    Could we please organise a re-play of battlefield 1942?

    I don’t remember snipers online being especially prevalent, they were there of course, but for me I never remember them as a dominating force. I loved the good old trusty engineers rifle, it’s the only game where I’ve ever been especially good with a single weapon. Oh, nostalgia.

  34. malkav11 says:

    Just thought I’d link to James315’s wonderful LP of the game: link to

  35. Chucrute says:

    You didn’t mentioned vehicle warfare, maybe it’s implied on the scale thing. The thing is, i started playing BF42 on LAN houses, since i didn’t had a beefy PC, during the Counter-Strike rising here in Brazil. It was amazing, absolutely beautiful. I hated CS, and the linear/boring levels, coupled with the huge emphasis on accurate aiming.

    On BF42, unorthodox tactics like placing minefields or waiting in a bush for the perfect moment to strike were welcome and encouraged, it promoted what is called meta-game in contrast to the skill game. I’m not going to elaborate further on this, but my point is twitch aiming wasn’t the determining factor in the outcome of a battle, careful planning was.

    Second, i want to mention vehicle warfare. BF42 was my first experience on this regard. I had never seem in a game so many vehicles, and the fact that you were interacting with human players was insane. I’m yet to see such a huge scale like BF42. Europe/North Africa/Pacific fronts all portraited in a single game, with unique vehicles for each. Aircraft Carriers, Battleships, Tanks, Jeeps, howitzers, airplanes and even a freaking submarines. All functional and fun to use, some were underused, but were still there. I could dive bomb, destroy planes with AA, carpet bomb with a B17, provide close-air support with a Stuka, do artillery strikes for a sniper using a Priest and even fire the main guns of the Yamato battleship, all in a single game. Just writing it makes me excited, so many options.

    I wanted to say how Bad Company 2 failed on capturing that, but i think thats just gonna start a flame war. I also want to say i didn’t played Battlefield 2, so i cant comment about it.

    It’s common to contrast Battlefield with Call of Duty today, i don’t think this applies to BF42. At least for me, BF was the anti-CS of his time, not better, but different, and i loved every single minute playing it.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I think BF2 is the best in the series. I do agree that Bad Company 2 did fail at capturing the ‘bf’ feeling. But it is still a very decent game in it’s own right.

    • Player1 says:

      I totally agree. I liked all the games of the series. But let’s be honest, the only one which can claim to really have been about vehicle warfare is BF42. All the later games have been a step back in regard to vehicles. BF42 was the only one with big battles on land air, and (especially) water. I wish they would do a remake of it with their newest engine, but keeping in all the stuff that was so fun when the game first released.

  36. Navagon says:

    You’ve actually given me a new perspective on why it is I much prefer open ended FPS to corridor shooters. It’s not just the do it your way freedom of it all. It’s also the slow cautious survivalist way I play. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  37. Grubblik says:

    I love BF1942, it was such a classic, servers left right and centre and mods galore. Desert Combat was far and away my fave, the near vertical learning curve (for me at least) were the Apache helicopters, but learn it and master it I did and it made me feel superb.

    The most important thing for me though was the bot support. OK, I’ll openly admit that they were not the sharpest tools in the box, especially on release when they could sniper kill you with a rocket launcher from half way across the map if you stuck your head out, but DICE turned an already superb idea (shooter+all the vehicles that you could just get in and control) into a really excellent sand box of a war game. My friends and I spent countless hours mucking about, and then, when the mood took us, cranked some cpu power into the bots and had at a proper go at taking the map from them. I’m not always in the mood to go online and play against strangers and BF1942 allowed me and my mates to have our own war. Proper co-op against the game, with 64 mixed players and bots in any ratio you chose, not the console/toy friendly 4 player co-op nonsense that’s around today as though its something new and special.

  38. deabreu says:

    friggin’ campers. hate you.

  39. FLGibsonJr says:

    I have never got tired of WWII, for me that era has always had the best fit for FPS games. In fact I have gotten bored with games post-WWII and beyond. I like pre-WWII games, but after WWII I just do not find them near as interesting. Looking forward to Red Orchestra II: Heroes Of Stalingrad!


  40. DarkDobe says:

    As excellent as BF1942 was, I ended up playing far more of the greatness which was Desert Combat. Which isn’t to say I didn’t spend many an hour sniping pilots on Coral Sea, and sailing the carriers off of the map on Wake Island (amongst many other passtimes) – there was just far too much fun to be had in DC, especially so with the helicopters.
    Flying helicopters upside down will never get old. Especially not when it causes your passengers to panic and bail out over open ocean.
    Nothing will ever top the satisfaction of landing the AC130 perpendicular to the enemy airstrip, and using it as a mobile fortress/spawnpoint from which to shower down unstoppable death upon the helpless enemy spawnpoints.
    Or shooting down enemy bomber planes with Scud missile trucks…. or… yes I suppose you get the idea!
    The entire series has always struck something of a sweet-spot no other can match – as noted, that fine line between simulation and arcade nonsense. I’ve yet to play a Battlefield game I did not like (though the futuristic one was a bit on the wonky side).
    The one I miss most, nowadays, is Vietnam – the forgotten child. Blaring “Don’t you need somebody to love” from a stolen rocket-launching helicopter while pummeling the enemy base was true glory. As was motoring around on a scooter merely avoiding enemies, and laughing at their futile attempts at stopping your two-wheeling, music-spamming rampage.

  41. Grape Flavor says:

    I hope eventually people bring WWII back. “Modern warfare” is as ubiquitous today as WWII ever was, and has become every bit as stale.

    Sure, WWII’s been done to death, but largely with early-2000s technology. I think if you made a new epic WWII shooter, a Battlefield even, using cutting-edge technology like Frostbite 2, and without any of the restraints of the current-gen consoles, it would be totally worth it.

    In fact, a “Battlefield 1944” on Frostbite 3, with an epic SP campaign, would be pretty much the best thing ever. Around 2015 or so. Do it.

  42. MrWeed says:

    Oh please, I want a remake of BF1942 with the Frostbite 2 engine so hard!
    BF 1943 is NOT a proper remake… It’s for consoles only and get’s boring fast, because it has much less content than the original BF1942…

    I need a remake with up to date technology, but the same game with all the stuff that was in it.

  43. fartron says:

    Perhaps it’s pedantic to take issue with the facts in a piece that is nominally about a personal relationship to a game, but this piece spends a lot of effort in describing the relationship of BF1942 to games that came before, and much of that effort is misguided or wrong.

    Tribes had introduced large scale maps and multiplayer focus long before BF1942, and with netcode that could actually handle it too.

    Capturing flag points had been a part of KOTH and related gameplay modes for ages. The innovation that Battlefield actually did provide (namely respawn tickets) goes completely unmentioned.

    If Call of Duty (mentioned four times in this article) is the only comparison you can make, then stick with your feelings about the game and leave history to people who know it.

    • Brendy_C says:

      KOTH was kinda only halfway there though. Most KOTH modes going on were every man for himself affairs. There wasn’t too much strategy or teamwork involved. It was very much a nade-fest.

      But yeah. Sad face – to my shame, I have never played Tribes. I have this thing about jetpacks. I think they are silly. They would burn your bottom.

    • The Hammer says:

      Battlefield 1942 also came out a year before Call of Duty. Surely Medal of Hono(u)r is more relevant here?

  44. Aero says:

    Its sad that BF3 will be NOTHING like the original battlefield.

    And no one could shoot down planes with their bazooka better than I could. :D

  45. AbyssUK says:

    Sorry but I have to shout Codename Eagle at this point for no reason!

    link to

    I remember all us CE players getting beta invites to Battlefield 1942 and being so sad that it was just not codename eagle in any way…… I crashed the beta servers because i shot a plane with the destroyer guns.. they didn’t think it could be done! However BF did really well anyway and poor codename eagle was forgotten…. sniff i mean come on it had biplanes and zeplins!! ZEPLINS!

  46. rocketman71 says:

    When DICE was original, cared about gamers, didn’t consolize their games, released interesting expansions instead of unbalanced paid or preorder DLC, supported mods and LAN was still in. Oh, and they fulfilled the promises they made.

    Good times indeed.