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Online Gaming. A positive and enjoyable past time.
by Andrzej Marczewski on 05/13/13 04:00:00 am   Expert Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away… oh wait wrong story.

A few years ago, in a town somewhere in Cardiff, before I was a father or even married (I was at University), I got my first taste of online gaming. More specifically, clan gaming.

Starship TroopersThe game in question was Starship Troopers on the AOL network. It was a fairly simple Birdseye view space shooter, set in the Starship Troopers universe. What made it stand out was the fact that you needed to use real teamwork to get anywhere in it. Until then, most games I had played just needed you to run around shooting each other (Duke Nukem, Doom, Quake). None of them needed or promoted teamwork.

After a few weeks, I got invited to join a clan. The Elites of Starship Troopers. It was great, they were great and I loved every minute of it. Sadly, AOL decided to scrap the game about a year later. The clan tried to stay together, but eventually everyone drifted off in their own direction.

It wasn’t until a few years later that another game would catch my attention in the same way. Westwoods Command and Conquer: Renegade. A unique first person shooter that combined resource management, team tactics and fps action like nothing I had seen before or since. But, I quickly got frustrated with people not working together. The trouble was, I was not that good at it, so no clans were interested in me joining. The solution? Simple. Start my own clan.

So Rages Renegades was born.

Built on two key philosophies;
• Simplicity is perfection, but perfection is never simple.
• For fun, for friendship, forever.

Now, it was the last one that became most important. The first one was a slightly pompous set of ideals I had about tactics. They were good ideals, but pretty full of myself in retrospect!

However, for fun and for friendship became very important to us. Over the years the clan evolved and grew. We did well in Renegade, but actually saw some real success in Call of Duty and Call of Duty 2. Sadly, that success would spell the downfall of Rage.

You see, whilst some of us were still about fun, others wanted more. They wanted to take the clan pro (a concept that never even existed when I started out!). So the clan fractured and never really recovered. Some guys actually did go pro, one now runs a pro team. Others disappeared into World of Warcraft, not to be seen until several years later! But for a few, the friendship and forever parts meant a lot. Eight years on we still keep in contact. Rages Renegades still has some presence – albeit just a Facebook group and we still chat about starting again, who knows, maybe it could happen!

In the mean time, a couple of us Revolver Ocelot (Sam), myself and Mr T (Jamie) started writing reviews for my new site Yet Another Review Site. Clan gaming had all but been forgotten. We still wear the {Rage} tags, but more for nostalgic reasons than anything else.

Now then, not so long ago, I came across a site call Gamer Dads (http://www.gamerdads.co.uk), through the magic of Twitter. I started chatting to a few of the guys on Twitter and on the forums. Then I managed to get into a couple of XBOX Live sessions with them. I found myself having fun and it felt just like the old days of Rage. They were just playing for a laugh.

And so I sit here writing this post with a renewed sense of excitement about online gaming. Will I ever drop the Rage tags in favour of a GDs tag? I’m not sure. I will wait and see if I get asked. Pride says no, but as my online persona is DaveRage, I can never truly lose touch with my origins. For now I just want to say thanks to a group of grumpy old gits who have reignited that love of team gaming!

That brings me to my final point – the bit I want to call “If you don’t know what you are talking about, shut the hell up.”

There is a lot of nonsense in the media about the evil of computer games. This is usually being spouted by people who’s closest connection to gaming might be a sneaky game of Angry Birds on their iPhone, when they think no one is watching. What they don’t want you to know is how positive online gaming can be. Clan gaming got me through some of the toughest times in my life. I made friends that have lasted for years. I know people in clans who have literally had their lives saved by the people they have met online – through games. It would be nice to hear a little more of that kind of thing in the news from time to time.


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