Welcome to the misty water coloured memories of the experience that is networked gaming
In the beginning..
Before the light there was the Amiga A500, a quality gaming machine, then came the PC a Viglen 386 Sx 16mhz with a turbo button! (20mhz). One of the first games I played on this was good old elite. My bro then bought a modem and found out about a local BBS that you could dial up to for free during off peak hours called GamesNet BBS. You had to have a cable phone because BT don’t give much away for free. At first we just used the IRC to talk to Americans this was kind of novel at the time. Soon we learned that you could play games against other BBS’ers using something called Kali, this gave birth to Command & Conquer battles over the BBS.
Whilst chatting to some of the techies on the BBS we learned that it was possible to connect several PC’s together at home and form a home network. Not long after this my bro was invited to a 4pc LAN game of command & conquer owned by a dude who ran another BBS his nick was IronHammer. Anyway when he got back from the 24hr gaming marathon he was raving about how mad 2 vs 2 CnC was so as we had a couple of pc’s and also knew a few more peeps who also had them it was time to take a step into the unknown and setup our own network.
After chatting some more with the techies on the BBS we learned that every Saturday morning in the Tottenham Ct road area there were a number of computer fairs where goodies like network cards could be purchased at knock down prices. I think £80 secured enough cards, cable and terminators to setup the Lan. After some swearing and fiddling the first Token ring Lan in our house was up and running, there was no going back.
What followed can only be described as multi player madness, once the word got round that we had four player C&C up and running all our friends came over and a mammoth 48 hr non stop weekend gaming session ensued, the first of many such weekends. 4 player command and conquer provided some amazing spectacles, people falling asleep on the keyboard only to be replaced by someone else keen to get in on the action. I don’t think any game since has created that level of amazement and addiction. The only thing that would stop us from playing on was sheer exhaustion.
Well some months later the rumors were doing the rounds that Westwood were going to release a new game ‘Red Alert’ the rumors also said that this baby was going to support up to 8 players at once. This lead to a little head scratching, our current computer room (the upstairs lounge) didn’t have the capacity to take another four machines and we weren’t sure where we were going to find another four pc’s anyway, but in the immortal words of Bull Durham… ‘Build it and they will come.’ we set about extending the network upstairs. Sure enough the game came out and eventually we sampled the 8 player insanity that was CnC Red Alert.
With the advent of internet online gaming the need to construct a huge lan at home wained, nowadays we still have the techno shed but it usually only has four machines and sometimes a couple of guest pooters that friends bring round. The favourite games are Counter Strike, UO and Mankind.
This reprint was made possible due to The Wayback Machine