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11

Have You Played... Rumble In The Void?

You can't go back

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It was on Wireplay. I barely even remember what exactly that was, but I think it was a matchmaking service, in the dial up era, with a range of popular games. The only one that really worked on our primitive dial up internet was Rumble In The Void. And even then, not reliably.

Mostly, I lived on the forums instead, talking the exact kind of absolute pish that now haunts kids forever. The internet should never have been given a memory. One of my first, cool teenaged internet friends came out to me as bi (I replied with something like “I don’t think that affects me”. Christ, the egocentrism of it). Another tricked a rando into thinking they were being traced by the FBI. A third trolled everyone by “showing her bewbies”, which were of course the word “bewbies!” written on a piece of card. Hardly anyone knew how old you were then. It was chaos.

I remember very little about the game itself. It was a competitive top-down space shooter. It had the staple Team Deathmatch and Capture The Flag modes, but I’m pretty sure I only really played free for all. God, this all makes it sound so tepid, but although humble, RITV was a snappy little shooter with a good variety of ships. Fights were tense but fair – when you lost, you probably just didn’t play as well – and the inertia-based movement made timing more important than reflexes, which levelled the playing field somewhat between obsessive yoofs like me (2000?), and sad old confused people like me (2019). And it had bots! You pretty much HAD to back then, since even if you were one of the twelve people who could afford fast internet, you were probably paying through the nose for every minute of precious Online. Yes, this hell realm was an escape once. Thanks to YouTuber user KyonoRocks for this very rare footage:

It was just a little game, and the whole Wireplay network was a mere stitch in the enormous patchwork of game history, never mind this one game on it. But it was my stitch. It helped keep me together once. It’s probably for the best that I’ll never get to play it again. And there is, as luck would have it, a rumble in the Rumble In The Void; a group of fans got a version to stand up in 2015, and just four days ago the Facebook page for said group indicated the code has been unearthed again…

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