wormfood for thought
Issue 1: Why Quake Is Like Kung Fu
Introduction consummation, abjuration, and gentle mediation.
Welcome to the Genesis 1:1 of wft ä . I want to thank each of you personally for helping to bust my authorial cherry. Let me get the standard disclaimer out of the way first:
What follows is my personal opinion only. It in no way reflects the views or positions of: Sporbly or his associates or any other person(s) associated in any way with the Nostromo site, my employer, my family, my ancestors, my friends, my enemies, worms or other legless creatures (or their fodder), or any other entities (real or imagined). If the following pointless mind-spew, indecipherable gibberish, politically incorrect phrasing, and/or occasional mild expletives offend you in any way, then blow me (not you, honey).
As will be the case with every issue of wft ä , Im not trying to prove a point or convince you that my way is the right way. I dont care if you agree or disagree, as long as you give the subject some thought and derive your own conclusions. Once youve done that, please post your musings to either the Arena or Lithium forums keeping in mind that everyone who reads your words (myself included) is probably also a fellow Nostromotic, and therefore deserving of your tolerance and consideration. Please keep the discussions friendly. Now, on to the topic at hand.
Chapter 1 whatchu talkin bout, wormus?
Ive always loved 70s era Hong Kong Kung Fu movies. The stories were always simple, even classical. Elements of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy, Arthurian legend, and Chaplin-esc clowning are mixed together and poured out into small Chinese villages (prior to the birth of the Red Menace). Dialogue is dubbed so that every peasant sounds like a drunken English dock hand, and the voice actors release hoards of syllables which gallop over each other to finish the translation before the screen actors lips stop moving. These films have many depths and layers beyond the ass-whuppin, and I could relate many of them to similar facets of Quake. For this discussion, however, Im not interested in pursuing the parallels between philosophies, strategies, disciplines, or any kind of point-by-point comparison. Im sure persons more learned than I could take any of these and produce a thesis quality paper or an iron clad logical proof. I want to focus on one aspect of Kung Fu that Hong Kong movie makers treat with religious respect. Its an aspect which Ive seen develop similarly among the various Doom and Quake communities since I began playing. I want to talk about Style.
Chapter 2 doin it wormy style.
Style, in a Kung Fu movie, is more than technique. Its more than tactics, more than skill. Its more than personality, or flair, or philosophy. Its all of these, combined with a dash of mystery, and shaken-not-stirred until amalgamated. Style is what differentiates each practitioner as an individual, and at the same time connects him to his master and/or disciples. Many style-families exist in the Kung Fu universe: Tiger, Crane, Snake, etc. In the China of a Kung Fu movie, style is strictly followed and its secrets are jealously guarded. When two martial artists meet, each with a unique style, each believing in the superiority of his style, each scoffing at the futility of the others style, they will invariably try to prove their dominance upon the body of their opponent. My all time favorite example from Kung Fu movies involves the style called “Cooking Kung Fu”. Imagine the hapless student who thinks he is only a kitchen servant to his master. Witness his surprise when one day, during a confrontation with the local bully-boy, his master calls out Miagee-type kitchen chore commands (“Chop the Celery”, “Blanche the Pea Pods”, etc.) which the student uses to soundly thrash the bully. But when the dish-pan handed hero wins, was his style truly shown to be superior?
Style, in Quake, is made up of many of the same elements as style in Kung Fu: technique, tactics, skill, personality, flair, and even philosophy. A player develops his style by emulating the techniques of others whom he admires (masters), by adopting tactics which were used to defeat him, by recognizing his quicker than average mouse flick skills, by following his natural attack or retreat tendencies, by reveling in the praise of his mid-air rail, and even by applying principles of mercy or ruthlessness when fragging/not fragging the lagged opponent. Many styles exist across various Quake mods: Camping, Sniping, Run-and-Gun, RJ Moshing, Hit-And-Run, etc. When two Quake players meet, each with a unique style, each believing in the superiority of his style, each calling the others style “lame”, they will invariably try to prove their supremacy upon the gibs of their opponent. When deathly still Sniper steadies his humming Rail Gun, waits patiently for the head of the chaotically madcap RJ Mosher to pass into his sights, and cleanly picks him out of the sky, was his style truly shown to be superior?
The answer to both questions is an emphatic “NO”. In both Kung Fu and Quake it is impossible to judge the merits of a style based upon the results of a single encounter. Neither is it possible to make a blanket statement of endorsement for a particular style because practitioners of that style enjoy a better that average victory rate. There are always ancillary factors involved in any specific conflict, and every individual has certain innate abilities and idiosyncrasies which influence their success with chosen style. So, how does one determine the superior style? I wont even try to answer that, because its the wrong question to ask. Whether or not Camping is superior to Hit-and-Run is not only impossible to definitively determine, its irrelevant. The successful combatant, whether in Quake or Kung Fu, attempts to account for the ancillary factors and personal idiosyncrasies by asking “What is the most appropriate style for me, in this particular situation?” Of course, this assumes prior knowledge of more than one style, and leads us to the moral of the story.
Conclusion whats the moral, wormsop?
The gist of the entire discussion is this: Its pointless to argue over the superiority or inferiority of a particular style. No amount of “lame-ass camper”, “stupid pill-poppers”, or “idiotic rocket jockey” comments will prove anything, except that the speaker is a whiner and a sore loser. The most successful Quake players (or Kung Fu artists) are fluent in many styles, and can identify external factors (opponent, terrain, positioning, etc.) which may affect the immediate applicability of a given style. They also know themselves well enough to determine what styles are the most suited (and fun) for them. Ive never seen a consistently winning Quaker who doesnt camp, snipe, run-and-gun, rocket jump, or hit-and-run at different times and in different conditions. The next time you’re tempted to flame another player for a tactic you deem distasteful, instead take an unbiased look at their style and their success in particular circumstances. If they are racking up the kills, discover why. Attempt to devise a counter strategy. You may find that you can use similar tactics yourself, when appropriate, and thereby expand your skill set. If they are not doing well, think about how you would modify the style to increase the frag count. Or you can gently nudge the offending player into realizing the shortcomings of their style by countering it, and fragging them unmercifully. Either way, you win.
“The intelligent fighter will never hesitate to change tactics in order to use the correct strokes to deal with his opponent.” Bruce Lee – Tao of Jeet Kune Do
Take the week off, and rest up for the next wftä – Issue 2: SPAM SPAM SPAM Gibs And SPAM.