Friday, August 25, 2006

Beetljz Beetljz Beetljz!

I can’t believe it. Beetlejz is shutting down. To me, it’s like In-n-Out burger closing. I’ll still eat, but it just won’t be the same.
Beetlejz (his online name) has run a bunch of gaming servers, some public, some private, long before I got involved in online gaming, circa 2003. He and Slippyfist have, over the years, been continuously updating and modifying their servers to attract and keep good players. I stumbled onto their Return to Castle Wolfenstein Tram server; I liked it because it played the same map over and over; I could concentrate on learning its layout while I was being shot down, over and over again. In this type of game, teams compete on a timed map to either achieve or defend objectives. There are innumerable ways to modify the game settings to influence how this is done. When a player is killed, he goes into “limbo”, and then “respawns” – returns to the map at predetermined spots. One of the things that set Beetlejz servers apart from most others was that this number of respawns was limited. What this meant was that, if you just ran around killing and be killed, chances are that you’d run out of lives before the round, and your team would not achieve their objective. To play on Beetle, you needed to be part of the team, make a contribution. It’s more fun and satisfying, that way, particularly after you gain some skill.
The virtual world of FPS (first person shooter) gaming has been, although it is now “maturing”, a realm dominated by young men. A lot of servers are available to shoot, kill, hack, and otherwise act like 15 year-olds. Beetlejz welcomed them, and old farts like me, and provided a place for us all to play a better game. They also ran a website. Between voice chat, game chat, and the website, we got to know each other. In short, a community.
This stuff is still new to most of us, and beetle was one of those opportunities to be a member of a different sort of group. I’m part of a few of these now, for different reasons, and it’s changed the nature of my life. There have been arguments, misunderstandings, and they have required different skills to resolve, but it’s all been pretty good.
Online games have life-cycles, there’s a new Wolfenstein game on the horizon. It’s why the servers have been less busy, and why they’re shutting down. I don’t know if I’ll move to the next version or not, we’ll see. I might just do so to keep up with my buds on Beetle, should they decide to fire a server up again. I’m grateful to them for keeping the website going, and I’m sure that some of us will see each other out there on the net. After all, they’re my friends.
So, to Beetle, Slippy, Gramps, PantsofGod (yes, I still really don’t know why she has that name), Talbot, Vortex, sabotage (who lives about 3 miles from me, but we’ve never met), TheScud, BBQDog, Shodan, Baz(I still miss ya, man), leafie, and even Spec7ral and GorgeousGeorge, along with a host of others, thanks for letting old Marvin interrupt your fine games with chat spam, bad puns, and silly haiku while I planted some dyno here and there and harassed you with sniper fire. You helped me through some rough times, and most of you didn’t even know it. I hope I’ve gained some friendships that’ll last, and I’d really like to meet most of you (lol) if I get the chance. From the beaches of Europe to the ice-covered slopes of Norway, V586 (Good Game), and V43 (Thank You). Hope ta see ya on Old Farts (another server), or on the forums. Vaya con Dios.