“Come Get Some,” Journal of a Camper By Fargo
“Come Get Some”
Journal of a Camper
By Fargo[This essay was written several months ago. Since then, Blue has gotten ISDN, but I still haven’t learned my lesson …]
I grant that the following essay isn’t that newsworthy, but I feel that it’s still a worthwhile visit to the dark side. The story goes like this:
After the QuakeCast, the crew usually gets together for some nasty Quake-action on the T1 over at Pseudo. Their connection is about the same quality as the one I enjoy at work, so other than the company of my fellow QuakeCasters, this isn’t really a unique experience for me. Now Blue, on the other hand … he’s a modem guy. He’s used to a 28.8, or a LAN party at best. So something unusual happens to this mild mannered polite young gentleman as he sits down before the glowing altar of T1 Pentium Powerhouse. His eyes glaze over, and he slowly rights himself until he is a rigid upright figure — forged from iron — filled with glassy hatred of all who have ping-fragged him before. And he logs in. And he can go through doorways on the first try. That’s right. He can carry the rocket launcher without blowing himself up. So this humble creature, his ravenous bandwidth appetite fulfilled, becomes a manical killing machine … destroying all who stand in his path, clearing a chasm of carnage with his newly found low-ping prowress.
I witnessed this carnivourous beast in action. There was this guy standing in a doorway of the Gloom Keep, and Blue starting wailing away at him with his shotgun. Blam! Blam! Blam! … the victim didn’t move. He was clearly lagged beyond hope. Blue lifted his finger from the trigger and squinted his steely eyes at the poor soul… but not for more than a moment. The verdict was handed down. Blue slammed his finger on the mouse button and finished the job — Blam! BLAM!! The lifeless body slumped into the wall. “That was ruthless!” I cried. “Even I would have probably let him go!”
“… he was in … my way.” Blue explained, quietly scooping up the backpack.
So you understand that the testocerone in the room was high as we played Quake that evening. Blue had discovered some weird server, Babylon 5, which implemented a series of new weapons and miscellaneous patches (primarily from the Happy Fun Land server modification). Blue discovered homing missiles and cluster missiles, which were pretty fun if unsportsmanlike. And the twin-barrelled laser rifle, which replaced the regular nailgun. Very nice. We agreed that these weapons weren’t neccessarily balanced, but they sure were fun. So eventually I managed to get onto the same server, whereupon I discovered that they had pipe bombs, you know, where you could lay down a few well-placed grenades and then trigger them off at your leisure with the touch of a button. Pretty Duke-Nukemesque, and no doubt a weapon of choice for the most vile and distrusted of Quakers … the camper.
Okay, so here’s my position on the camper debate. Camping is a perfectly legitimate strategy. Now, it’s not a very good strategy, for a number of reasons. First of all, there’s almost no hidey-hole in the game that promises invulnerability. A good hunter-killer can take out any camper any day of the week, just by virtue of the fact that he or she knows where the camper is, and the camper doesn’t know when to expect the killer. And furthermore, smart players will simply avoid a camper nest if they aren’t good enough to handle a camper themselves. The result is that a camper is never going to get as many frags as someone roaming around, and frags are basically how the game is scored. Camping alone is not a winning strategy. But, an occasional camp is probably in the playbook of every Quake veteran, wether they’ll admit it or not. Hey, if you’re standing at the red armor respawn point, and the armor isn’t there yet, you’re gonna defend the area while you wait for it to reappear, right? Similarly, if you’re badly wounded and only have a couple rockets left, you might want to lay low in an area until you get restocked and back up to full strength and can resume your hunting in earnest. Camping: live with it.
Now, with that being said, I will freely admit that the story I am about to tell is a flagrant abuse of camping. That’s right, when I discovered pipe bombs, a little tiny jerk inside of me whispered …. “Ddddoooo it. DDddddoooo it. Camp like a bastard. Toast some weenies. Go for the easy killllll….” I couldn’t resist. I tried an experiment, I threw down seven or eight grenades, I backed up, and I pushed that trigger …BLLLAaaaa-BBOOOMM! I’m not kidding, I swear the whole room exploded. It was unbelieveable. Never before had I witnessed such sheer destructive power bound to one little tiny impulse. I snapped. It was campin’ time.
We were playing on the Abandoned Base level. Blue and I had different strategies here… he would often roam around near the rocket launcher, taking people out in the main area and scurrying elsewhere if he needed health or armor. On the other hand, I was running a circuit that looped around the crates area, grabbing the super nailgun, 100 health, and then jamming up the platform for the red armor. Occasionally I would nail someone who had a lightning gun, and it was frag city. But once I decided to camp, I knew I had to find the ideal spot.
It was by the yellow armor, of course. The area hidden behind a wall in a shadowy corner under some steps. I cleared out some llama who was camping there already (people who camp on a regular basis have very little skill, I’ve noticed) and claimed it as my own. The yellow armor was there, right next to a teleporter for an easy escape. It had all the elements a camper needs: 1> A supply of armor 2> A quick out 3> Limited access 4> line of sight to see most people coming before they see you. If I peeked out of my hidey-hole I could also grab a box of rockets and health that were just a few feet away. Oh yeah. I was in lamer paradise.
So, straddling the lifeless corpse of the camper before me, I start to lay out a pretty carpet of gleaming grenades. Pling Pling pling pling ptong! I must’ve unloaded 10 or 12, enough to kill at least three other players. By swiveling around and hitting the walls at different angles I got a pretty good spread. So I ducked back into the shadows and waited. Sure enough, not more than a few seconds later, Blue comes sailing down from the steps and strays a little too close to my booby-trap …
It’s embarrasing, yes… I mean, this is not a kill to be proud of, by any means. But I can hardly describe the sensation … Twelve grenades, suddenly erupting in a pillar of flame, the walls running red with deadly hot molten steel, fiery explosions covering the floor in crimson death, pixels of debris spewing in every conceivable direction. I howled with glee when Blue’s body crumpled to the floor, a shelled mass of bleeding innards. “Fargo you camping Bastard!!” he cried. Yeah yeah I admit, it was low, but just think of detonating twelve grenades with one little keyboard tap … Yeah baby yeah!! Ba-boom! Cha-ching! Yee-hah! So I scooted out of my little home and grabbed Blue’s pack. Of course he’d accumulated an arsenal by that point, so I was happy. Then I zipped back into my den of ill repute and scattered another dozen grenades … Pling pling pling pling pling plooo-onng! I was lovin’ it.
It couldn’t have been more than fifteen seconds before another guy comes running down the steps. C’mon. He had to have seen those grenades. I mean, he walked right through the middle of them. I couldn’t call this camping, hey, he deserved to die. I call it Darwinism. Buh-bye, Chachi.
Oh baby, gibs galore. You could’ve heard the explosion from here to Toronto. I broke into giggle-fits, then scooped up his pack and wasted no time filling the corridor with my love-muffins of destruction. Pling pling pling pling pling plooo-onng! Next victim, please.
So the next guy sets foot into my territory, and this dude isn’t any smarter. But he takes me by surprise, see? He jumps off the steps, right over my nest of grenades, and he’s out of range before I could hit the trigger. Pretty slick, I think. But get this … he must have seen the grenades, right? So he turns around, and he walks right back into the sea of death … I can only assume to check and see if I was camping there. I respect camper-killing as an occupation, but come on. This guy was a few waffles short of a breakfast. What, did he think those grenades were there for decorative purposes? Buh-bye, ChuckieCheese!
I was squirming with glee! But you gotta admit, that fellow had every chance to get away. He deserved to die. And he even gave me a few more rockets — how generous. I returned the favor … Pling pling pling pling pling plooo-onng! In the distance I heard Blue laying seige on the rocket launcher again, cackling as he mowed down another modem victim. I waited by the yellow armor, humming along with my new Methods of Destruction CD. “I came to kill but stayed to camp,” I sang. “Come Get Some.”
Pretty soon another llama comes cruising in from the large open area. Okay, listen, the walls are covered with steaming entrails and severed heads are sitting on top of a pile of grenades. Hello? Perhaps this looks a little suspicious? Don’t they see? Don’t they understand!? This guy was the best–I mean, he must have been playing too much Duke Nukem or something, because he actually tried to jump over my heap of grenades. Nice move, BusterBrown. Give my regards to St. Peter.
This loser went flyyying! I wasn’t sure if my grenades killed him or if it was his collision with the ceiling, but by the time his shattered remains rained down onto the floor, the only identifyable chunk the coroners could have scraped up was his backpack. Which I took. Happily. It was a beautiful day in my neighborhood. “Now Serving number 46,” I wanted to say.
I barely had eight or nine grenades laid out before the next victim made himself known. And his colors looked familiar … wait a minute! It was the same guy who jumped over the grenades last time, you know, the world’s most idiotic camper-killer? He must have made his way right back here to get revenge. So this time he comes around the corner, and he starts plugging away at me with his shotgun. Yeah, a shotgun. Hello? Noodleneck? I’ve been standing beside the yellow armor for the last three minutes. Maybe I might be wearing some — could be, eh? And you’re standing with one foot in my arsenal of death. These are clearly the actions of someone who we, in the professional circles, would call a dork. Hasta La Vista, Cheesecake.
While I immensely enjoyed clensing the world of dweebs like that last guy, I knew that my joyful reign of terror was coming to an end. Gradually it began to sink in that I had become the enemy. After all, I saw from the messages at the top of my screen that Blue had managed to secure himself a fresh new rocket launcher, and he was starting to rake in chumps by the handful. Like I said, a camper is never going to get as many frags as a skilled hunter. Besides, I had a sneaky suspicion that Blue was going to come after me and get revenge, and I’d already figured out a couple of ways to blow away a camper in my position (How? I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader.) So I zoomed out of there before SkippyPeanutButter and the gang would step right into my trap again and bother me with their pitiful shotguns.
What was the point of this story? Just one thing. Deep down inside, if we dig really really deep … there’s a camper lurking in every one of us. And he’s probably near the yellow armor.