At Tied the Leader, we love sharing screenshots. Tucked away amidst the various war rooms in our sprawling forum, there lives a board dedicated to sharing pics and war stories. With the tools that Bungie makes available to us, gaming can be a form of performance art as much as a competitive pastime. Every gamer becomes their own personal one-[wo]man press corps.
At the controls of Halo 3, a gamer writes their own story. They can be the Hero or the Villain. They can be the victor or the victim. The word “play” is a double-edged sword. You play the game, of course. You also play a role on a stage that is easily shared with anyone who will look.
Case in point: Several nights ago, this gamer loaded into Matchmaking via Xbox Live. Five Gunslingers. Simple math led to a foray into Social Skirmish. When it can be avoided, we don’t leave open slots on our team. If you care enough about online gaming to read this blog, you likely know why.
Among my teammates was one TTL Balzy. At first glance, he is a member of TTL’s official gaming clan. One of the Gunslingers. One from Many, and all that rot. On the MidWorld forum, he is the Captain of the Dead Eye Association. Balzy is our top gun with the long barrel – leader of a combat squad of sharpshooters. It’s a role he earned. It’s a role he plays. It adds flair to his gaming experience.
On the night in question, we were entreated by the random chaos of the matchmaking engine to play Shotty Snipers. As is the usual, we chose to exercise our Executive Authority… “VETO!”
Our Sniper Captain abstained from the vote. He wanted his SRS99D-S2 AM! Unfortunately, for him, Democracy ruled against his favor.
Instead, we drew the lot of Team Rockets on Valhalla. Much better! With a briefly grunted rebuke, Balzy set out to introduce his opponents to some explosives fired from the double barrel of his boomstick.
This bloggergamer is not a sniper. Far from it! My role is in the ranks of the Roadkill Squadron. To a Gunslinger, that means that I pilot the Warthog, or anything else that splatters. To the uninformed, that means that I take my gaming way to seriously – only they would be missing the point.
In keeping with my particular fashion, I jumped onto a Mongoose. Why not? Sure, that makes me a rocket magnet – albeit a fast one – but it’s Social Skirmish. It’s a game variant built for recreational antics.
“I’m going along for the ride” called Balzy as he assumed the “brokeback” position. I was glad to hear it. He spends too much time sitting in sniper perches. I am always telling him to get outside and go for a ride. Plus, this Roadkill Pilot loves giving a piggy-back ride to a sniper. Usually, it’s on a Warthog, but our family car met with a smoldering end at the outset of the game. Did I mention the rocket magnets?
As XerxdeeJ and Captain Balzy entered the field, here is what ensued. The following events take place between 1:08 and 1:10 on the game clock.
As we stuck the landing I was yelling “Did you make that SHOT?”
My rear-gunner shouted “Put THAT in your blog!”
Perhaps you had to be there, but I laughed until we were met with our retribution. That’s the great thing about “balanced gameplay”. Sooner or later, everyone gets to be the hero.
To whomever it was in that creek bed, we say “Good Game”. We aren’t having fun at your expense. We are just having fun.