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Vol. 2, Issue 8
January 14, 1999

Down the Pipe

Online Gamer

by Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon


’ve been using gamers.com recently, and I’m finding it very useful. It’s a self-proclaimed gaming portal, a search engine for everything gaming. It kind of reminds me of Slipgate Central, a site run by one of the originals, Joost Schur, now of GameSpy Industries. Joost maintained a database of links to popular FPS sites and even rated them based on content and quality. It was the first site of its kind and was extremely useful if you were looking for that elusive URL or just wanted to find whatever websites existed on a topic. But enough nostalgia.

I was kicking around gamers.com and came across a list of links to web based java and flash games. Since I’m always looking for a diversion from work, I clicked through to check some of them out.

I’ve been a fan of web-based games ever since I came across this site that hosts a version of Tetris. Warning, don’t go there. It’s highly addictive, especially when you start hitting the high scores list. Anyway it was my first real clue that web-based games could be more than just bathroom amusement. Unfortunately, it turns out that most web-based games are little more than bathroom amusement. Little characters running around drinking milk and avoiding cats and vacuum cleaners is pretty much run-of-the-mill. On the other hand, there are a few of note. I’m not going to list them here, you can find them on your own.

Probably the most interesting of the games I came across are the multiplayer ones. And since you’ve just missed the importance of that statement, let me open a can of worms on you. I mean, this is what gaming community is all about, isn’t it. Getting diverse people from diverse cultures together and having fun while pitting my Alien Queen against your Spideroid. And damn but it’s addictive. The chat, the game, the personal advancement and trying to win the top position on the high scores ladder.

Of the sites I came across, Games Domain had the best interface to an array of multiplayer games. Click here for a direct link. There were the usual chess, checkers, even a quadlinks. You drop into a chat forum and match up with other people looking to play. It’s a fairly slick design that lets you easily chat and play. My favorite game on the site was Cyberwars. It pits up to 6 players together and lets them battle it out with a selection of monsters and power ups. The graphics are quite cheesy as far as turn-based games go, it’s dang simple, but as as I say, it’s a highly addictive just the same.

It’s interesting the effect that some of these multiplayer games are having on people. My mom, of all people, is hoping online almost every night to play Bridge. She’s heard about all the wonders of the internet and how she can find information on almost everything including news, movie reviews, even places where you can go and meet and chat with wonderful people from around the world. She plays Bridge. And she meets wonderful people from around the world. But it’s multiplayer Bridge that finally got her online. Yeah that’s right, that age old card game that only old people have the patience to play. And by god she goes on about it. She tells me about this wonderful game called Bridge (Yeah but mom, have you tried Quake3:Arena yet?) and that you can actually chat with people while playing! (Yeah but mom, how many frags did you get?) And of course, she’ll tell two people, and they’ll tell two people, and so on, and so on, until the whole goddamn world is playing nothing but Bridge and going on for god knows how long about how you can actually chat with people while you play.

Geez where did that come from.

Online multiplayer gaming is going to change the world, baby. I think the fine folks that created Unreal Tournament and Quake III:Arena had the right idea all along. In essence, I think human interaction is what we thirst for. And of course a way to elevate ourselves over our fellow players and have it fixed forever in a high scores list. But that’s just human nature.

- Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon currently holds the world record for using the word "exhumed" 15 times in a single sentence.


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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. Down the Pipe is © 2000 Russell Lauzon. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. So don't do it. Please? Pretty please? Okay, fine...be that way. But don't ask me for your allowance, young man.