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Have you played… Shootmania?

Neon paintball

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Shootmania: Storm was an athletic multiplayer shooter. You moved fast, you jumped far and you only had two types of gun (one of which only appeared when you stood on a certain type of platform). It was about skill, not gear. Everyone died in the same number of hits, everyone had the same powers. People use “esport” to describe Dota 2, Call of Duty and Overwatch. I don’t think Shootmania matches those in terms of quality but I’d argue it was far more sportsmanlike, because it had symmetry.

You could also make your own maps, as in the developer’s other game, Trackmania. And the visuals had a kind of welcoming futurism. It was like playing paintball or laser tag, all neon lights and blurry Tron costumes. I don’t know what the player population is like today  (a shooter like this basically suffers a quiet and slow death when the servers empty) but I suspect it has long since passed away.

Part of me feels sad about this, but part of me isn’t surprised. It was good but given the choice to play this or another, flashier and less predictable game, I’m not sure many would stick with Nadeo’s neon Airsoft. Even if it was fair, athletic and clean. Shootmania was sportsmanlike, but it wasn’t esportsmanlike.

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