By Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman
f you're a fan of Capture the Flag (CTF), be that for Quake, Quake 2, Unreal, Doom, or any other game, chances are you've been to Captured.com. The man behind this mammoth CTF site is Dakota, webmaster, member of Clan Xenocide, and attorney-at-law. Dakota sat down with loonygames for an interview (and let me just say, as a huge CTF fan, this was a fun one, definitely).
Name/rank/serial number? Darren "Dakota" Tabor, webservant to a couple of sites, with the most popular being Captured.com.
How did you get involved in the Quake community? Well, I spent a great many hours playing Doom and Doom II and joined a clan as soon as I got a hold of Quake. Clan Xenocide was just starting out, but we wanted to try and provide some helpful information for the community. So, I got started trying to create websites and getting our name out on webpages. Since then, everything just sorta snowballed.
You first ran Dakota's Frontline news, and now Captured. What is it about Capture the Flag that creates such a 'rabid' community, do you think? My first little site was "Capture", of which the news page was a part. Captured.com is like that little page on steroids. :-)
I think CTF has garnered a "rabid" following for several reasons. It is a game that can be played in almost any first-person shooter. It is very simple for anyone to learn, and very difficult to truly master the intricacies teamwork. I think the real key to its success is the role of teamplay in the mod. In deathmatch, you are a lone soldier against the world. In CTF, you are a member of a team and have to perform in a way that benefits the team. I just think it is natural for people that gravitate towards this type of gameplay to also have a strong sense of community.
Capture the Flag was originally created (in it's modern form, anyway) for Quake. Have you played any of the recent CTF mods for Doom/Unreal, etc.? I've tried several of them. I haven't tried Doom CTF because I can't find my copy of Doom, but CTF in Jedi Knight, Unreal, Hexen II, and Rainbow Six are definitely a ball. Some of the versions from the game designers are a little lacking because they add too many complicated elements, in my opinion, but the mod community has come up with some great versions of CTF for these games. The several CTF mods for Unreal are especially promising.
Captured is a very large site. Has the CTF community always been this large, or do you think having a massive site to 'host' exclusively CTF related sites has helped the community grow? That is difficult to say. There have always been a great collection of CTF-related sites on the Internet, going all the way back to the Golden Age of the fall of 1996. :-) I hope that the existence of Captured.com has helped to encourage people to create their own sites. As for the huge number of CTF variants, the credit for them has to go to Zoid for being so willing to accept others modifying his creation. Without his acceptance of this, I believe that CTF would not have grown as large as it is.
Have you played any Quake CTF add-ons, like ThunderWalker, Creeper, etc? I haven't played as many as I would like (I wish I could say that I have tried them all), but I am willing to bet that I have tried most of the CTF variants. I believed myself to be a CTF purist until I tried ThunderWalker in the spring of 1997. That mod was such a ball that I have been addicted to trying new mods ever since.
What would you say is your favorite type of CTF..which add-on, if any, and for which game? That is a difficult question to answer diplomatically. :-) I would say that I have probably played more ThunderWalker CTF for QuakeWorld than any other version of CTF. Capture! and Weapons Factory are also at the top of my list...but there are many versions of CTF that I have really enjoyed.
You are an attorney in real life, if I remember right? That is correct. I've been a member of the New Mexico bar since 1995 and I just passed the Illinois bar exam, so I will be a member here come November.
Congratulations! Thanks. :-)
What type of law do you practice? I am happy to report that I currently do not practice law...Sounds strange, I know. I am an attorney, but I don't work for any specific client in the capacity of an attorney. I've worked for three judges in the past several years as a judicial clerk. The job involves a great deal of research and writing. The pay is ok and the hours are great. I've decided, at least for the time being, that the other areas of my life are more important than aggressive pursuing more money in the profession. We'll just have to wait and see if that will change.
Do you find it difficult to balance running a large-scale website, a job and a family? It hasn't been that bad. I update the webpage in the morning before work and then try to take care of administrative stuff in the evening. Most of my free time is spent with my wife and our two dogs. Fortunately, I have two great things going for me with Captured.com: I only work 8:30 to 4:30, and Tungsten is a god who walks among men. Tungsten has been a huge help in keeping the website going and keeping the news fresh.
You mentioned your dogs...a little birdy told me Dakota is one of them? Yes, Dakota is the name of our first dog. He is an adorable and unbelievably sweet mixed-breed that we got from a shelter in New Mexico. The other dog is Madison, a pure-bred Golden Retriever. We call Madison the bionic dog because he has had both of his hips replaced. He is an unfortunate by-product of lousy breeders and pet stores.
I guess the question begs to be asked...which came first, the doggie or the man? The dog. :-) Like Indiana Jones, I took my name from my puppy. I was trying to come up with a name that I could live with, and Dakota had a nice ring to it. I didn't want anything that was boasting skill I didn't have ("FragYourMomma") or anything that referred to human genitalia.
What are your favorite games to play? (without CTF) :) I really enjoyed the single-player experience in Quake 2. I know Jedi Knight probably had a more developed storyline, but few games can beat the visceral feel of Quake 2. My other favorite, although I haven't played it in a while, was Battlezone. That is an amazingly complete game, from the interface to the documentation.
You're a member of Clan Xenocide, certainly one of the older clans out there. What do you think about the clan scene as it exists today? Is it dead, as some people are saying? I don't think the clan scene is entirely dead, but it is definitely different then it was when Quake was first released. Almost all of the well-known clans that started in the early days have either disbanded or become mere ghosts of themselves. There are a couple that are still active, like Zoid's Burning Chrome. But, now there is a new generation of clans that are involved in matches and tournaments.
All in all, I think a Quake clan is a very difficult thing to sustain for an extended period of time. We have players from all over the continent in Clan Xenocide, and most of us have moved on to other types of games. I am not sure if the influx of new titles (Half-Life, SiN, etc.) will help to get clan members more involved, or if it will further fragment the older clans. Time will tell.
What are your favorite bookmarks? Captured.com is my homepage. :-) Once the ol' browser fires up, however, I will most likely head for Blue's News. I am sure that I have been to Blue's 100 times more than any other website. The rest of my gaming related exploring is typically to uncover CTF news...so I spend a great deal of time on my own server to see what the CTF community is doing. :-)
Hmmm...That is tough to say. I tend to categorize things in my head, so it is difficult to pick a favorite site from the "general" category. I spend a lot of time at CNN, but I would hate to call that a "favorite". :-)
Thanks Darren! Be sure to check out Captured.com!
- Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman is an associate editor for loonygames.
Credits: Community Profile logo illustrated by and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. Community Profile is © 1998 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is just a bad idea. We have lawyers.