270: The 12-Year-Old English Kid Who Carried Us to Victory

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Pip's from Great Expectations, by the way. The character in South Park is an homage to the book.

That's exactly it, yes. It begins with me thinking that the multiplayer experience is like Lord of the Flies: brutality and boulders. But the reality is far less cynical, showing a world where Piggy is not only *not* crushed by his peers, but actually manages to be a leader instead of merely a whiny sidekick.

-- Chuck

its a shame you cant recreate that experience. its not just everyone working together, you can recreate that with some friends on at the same time (well, i cant because i dont have enough friends interested in gaming as me, which is why i find multiplayer-orientated games unattractive), its the feeling that other people on the internet care. they arent in it for their own gain, they honestly want to help others, or feel like they are storming a bunker as elite SAS. working together adds a realism to games that squad based single player gameplay can only hint at. its unfortunate that in MW and MW2, working together is disadvantageous - twice as much person to hide, and you can both get killed in the same bullet/burst. even battlefield:bad company's touted 'teamwork based' gameplay doesnt seem to cut it.
i have some thoughts as to improve team-based gameplay - for example, creating a sort of 'matrix' with the players, that applies bonuses to everyone in it e.g. increased damage, spread damage around the group? this would improve team based gameplay, and people would have to work together so they are moving in the same direction, literally and metaphorically.
but thinking about it, youre more talking about 'leader' based gameplay, something fairly different.
i believe MAG for the ps3 tried this, where the larger objectives (capture town) would funnel down into smaller, squad based objectives (knock out machine gun post, destroy helicopter). however, im not sure how popular that turned out, being a wii/360 owner. and it suffers the major problem, that when people stop playing it, it stops being a game. and that kind of immersion cant be fixed with bots.

Very nice article, Mr. Wendig.

I wish I met people like Pip in online gaming.

In Team Fortress we have a simple way of selecting our leaders.
Any medic with a mic is a leader.

It's that simple, medic's have little direct ability so they need to be able to order people around.
Being able to come to terms with the idea that you're not the one shooting people is pretty much the maturity test.

Of course leadership in Team Fortress is a rather simple affair, everyone already knows the goal, but the teamwork enters into it in the form of trying to synchronise the efforts of the team.

That is the most true thing that I have ever read.

12 year olds shouldn't be playing unsuitable games /thread

Now that was a fun read. I wish there were more experiences like that in online FPS's. I was thinking about this while I was playing MAG on rent from Gamefly. There seemed to be a system that promoted certain players to positions of authority, which I thought was a great idea. However, everything was based on a level system specific to each individual, including who got the power, so not only did individuals have little incentive to, say, defend a position instead of running into the fray for some free kills, but the "authority" to order them around could go to anyone who had been in the game long enough, regardless of their qualifications as leader. I guess it doesn't matter though, I never saw anyone who was apparently a leader of any in game group anyway.

I blame poor communication support on consoles (if you don't have a keyboard, the PS eye, or a head mike, you're SOL. Actually, the keyboard and the PS eye especially aren't that useful either).

And the extra reading was intriguing too. I despise the tendency of humanity to "follow it's gut," so to speak, rather than objectively weighing the options. Now, instinctual reactions are useful, but only in situations where you're pressed for time and/or information. In the sedentary age of the internet, we are pressed for neither 90% of the time. And yet political pundits can still argue against their opponents for their choice of "fancy" mustard, regardless of their policies or qualifications.

Everything is better with a good leader.
(note i said LEADER not politician... I also said GOOD)

A cool article over at New Scientist today about the "natural selection of leaders."


Related reading, I suppose you could say?

-- Chuck

That was a facinating read. I loved your article as well! Intriguing and with just the right amount of humour.


It's quite sad that there aren't many games that focus on this whole environment of "team play" nowadays - the only real example I saw the last couple of years was Natural Selection; the others could be well won by a good lone wolf or a crazy gunman.

I think everyone knows or heard about a story similar to this one, which is really encouraging. Out of the 8~9 assholes online, there are those tiny grains of good people.

The sad thing is people like that are one in a million. To think how many times I was called a f*g the moment I spoke because of my distinct Eastern European accent, I just gave up. I'd rather find a clan/guild of friendly people to play with then expose myself to the cesspool that is the xbox live.

That was fucking epic. If it doesn't make the next Editors choice, shame on Russ Pitts.

Such vivid imagery and description, blurred with classical literature quotes and contemporary subject matter made for a extremely engaging read. Hats off to Chuck Wendig.

That was fucking epic. If it doesn't make the next Editors choice, shame on Russ Pitts.

Such vivid imagery and description, blurred with classical literature quotes and contemporary subject matter made for a extremely engaging read. Hats off to Chuck Wendig.

Thanks, LC!

-- Chuck

Very good read. I believe that many Multiplayer Online games could use 'Pip' (I, for one, also notice a lack of complex strategic thinking in games designed for Martial strategy. i.e. Starcraft is often won with rushes, either early or late in the game, and, at least in the battles I've seen, Eve's strategy goes: get cloaked on battlefield, cloaked sets 'jump field', Capitals and rest of forces arrive, Primary and Secondary (attack and defense) targets are set, and then it depends if you have a large backup, as well as your use of Electronics)

A similar "good vibe" on games, particularly TF2, I've noted, is when the team's losing badly and suddenly, without any "Pip" giving orders or ANYONE at all using voicechat, we band together. Suddenly medics are helping everyone. Suddenly Engineers are supporting firing positions. Suddenly the Pyros are finding the enemy spys. Suddenly we start to, in a sweet, instant unison, kick their arses all the way back to their nuseries

12 year olds shouldn't be playing unsuitable games /thread

I totally agree with this guy... although, in my experience it does seem teenagers and early 20-somethings can be just as immature and racist and awful as the stereotype of XBoxLive kids shouting the N word at each other. To be perfectly honest, the only good teamwork I have come across is on PC games such as TF2 and BF2. The biggest problem with consoles is the expensive peripherals and the casual gaming attitude.
For example, I bought an £8 headset to communicate on BF2, when I was in a clan, and the chat goes from teamwork stuff to general, friendly chat. Now, if I were to get a headset for my PS3, it'd cost me like £30 for a crappy Bluetooth thing, or about £80 for quality headset (with surround sound). Whenever I hear VOIP activity on console games it's about 5% of the time someone trying to apply some teamwork, and a 45%/50% of music spam/general noise, and racist abuse rage.

P.S. Loved the article. It's not often enough, in the world of videogames, that people get over the Brit v American competitiveness and get along. Incidentally, the most fun I had playing World at War with with some Americans (it was very late so only American servers online) who didn't take things too seriously and most importantly, knew it was about fun. Plus, my ping was terrible, due to the distance, so I just messed about trying to get lucky with the bazooka, and they thought it was hilarious.


Evil the White:
Just going to niggle this, the quote at the top is wrong; "Kill the pig" is only said once whenever the chant comes up. I studied this book over the course of two years, so I'm allowed to be mildly annoyed.

Don't have the actual book in front of me at present, but:


-- Chuck

The edition of the book I had only said "Kill the pig! Cut her throat! Bash her in!" But then again, the only pigs they kill are all sows, so the pigs were refered to as 'her' in the one I had, so it could be slight differences in editions. However, I think that it's more likely due to a mis-quote: the highlighted text you were quoting from is actually a summary, not a direct extract, and the extra "KIll the pig" makes it fit to a traditional western 4/4 time signature more easily than "Kill the pig! Cut her throat! Bash her in!", because that leaves an extra two beats left over, so it is natural to try and fill them in.

Thank you so much for posting this.

I for one am loving the Lord of the Flies references Chuck! What great work of literature will be featured next?^^

I know a bunch of ex-Marines who use digital voice modulators so that on X-Box live their voices sound like the Chipmunks. Possibly Pip may be a 40 year old Master Sergeant?


Good Story, very inspirational, but. IS everything in it true though? It sounds pretty far out that almost everyone on a team of Modern Warfare would follow a guy nomatter how inspiring he is. Chances are a great part probably has music in their ears or some others reason not to being able to listen on top of not wanting to in the first place?

If it is true though. Good on you, this is probably a once in a lifetime thing.

according to the article only 3 team members got on board, the rest continued thier mucking about.

That said I think theres somethign we often forget about when singing of the trash online. Look how many of us complain about it/ detest it. Surely there are some hippocrates there but usually I gotta say there's maybe 1 guy in the game calling me "faggot" and such. The rest are mostly quiet or, perhaps just shout the occasional idea, or obscenity at frustration from death. I'm not really appauled by somone saying "aw fuck" when they die. But going on a 5 minute rant about what a faggot the sniper is, is a different issue.

Yeah there are some really low folks online, but are they even really the majority?

Taking that the majority of the world is stupid. I believe that yes, yes they are.

I too wish that this was the norm and not the exception.

Back in the day, playing Unreal Tournament, I fell in with a clan and ended up having friends for life. The GTech kids all went on to have families and lives and nobody really played much, but we kept our clan site up and running, just so we could chat with each other and keep posted on everyone's successes (and failures) (Think FB before FB was even a glimmer).

I have had ONE Xbox Live game similar to this one, and unfortunately, it was while I was home sick so the folks that I played with were never seen online again (since I typically played 12 hours later in the day). It was the single greatest day of MW that I enjoyed. If only every evening spent playing could be as cordial and organized.

(Oh, and during my UT days...I always relished in seeing the "Streak was ended by Canus")

Chuck Wendig:
The 12-Year-Old English Kid Who Carried Us to Victory

Playing multiplayer shooters can be like wading through a morass of childish teabaggers. Chuck Wendig reminds us that, even though bad sportsmanship exists, a light can still shine through in the darkness.

Read Full Article

bro, you look too much into video games and have too much free time if you wrote all that.

no really. lord of the flies is about human evil, death, the destruction of order and consequences, there are no consequences in modernwarfare2. its like pacman is a tale of a consumerism :/

A good read, and gives me hope for the future of online-gaming. Wisdom and skill can come in any form, and is a key to victory in any battle. Proper unit strategy almost always trumps a team of lone-wolves when done right.

I have had a few good team games in FEAR and TF2. In FEAR we actually all took jobs and did our jobs. Players even called for help and got the help they asked for.

In TF2 it seems to be more of the mob has a goal and we all go for it. Althoug I have had a few players team up and we ran our own little war while the rest of the team just charged into the bullets of our enemy. A medic, pyro, and demoman can do anything.

nice! I play with a clan and we all, know each others plans, we back each other up and always help each other out.
Very cool on Pip I'd never do that sort of thing when playing by myself cause no one would listen and of course, what do I care if I use another player I will never know as bait just to increase my K:D ratio?
haha guess I'm cynic. Very good article. :D
made me smile!

Great article. This is why I only play Tactical servers. You still get a little of the headless-chicken running, but it's greatly diminished, and the chances of a both a leader stepping in, and the team's willingness to follow him, seem to be increased.

Xbox live; the birth place of leaders.

God save us all.

NO believe me, when you have a team of bucket-headed ass-hats you have a tendency to listen to the guy not cursing every 3 seconds because he died, this is especially true in games like TF2, when 3/4s of my team is a bunch of Weighted Companion Snipers (not to mention half of the last quarter being Spy Crabs) the guy making plans is appealing regardless of age, race. or gender. For the most part though no such revolutionary leader pops up, just one guy willing to coordinate with the Medic and take out the enemy sentries can turn the tide (But even then Medic Spammers and Fairweather Medics complicate things).

Great article. If you want to truly enjoy Xbox live though form a solid friend base and make a party. You'll be the team of snipers eating alive the guys with buckets on thier heads. My friends and i aren't great players, we have jobs, and lives and families and all that. But take a group of average players playing as one vs a disorganized mess and the team will always dominate the group of singles. Plus your party can have party chat, no need to hear all the other jerks on Xbox live.

Let my day be when I'm actually running around in in COD: MW or 2 or something when I run into a leader like that and then let it be Pip. Cheers Mate *Clinks glasses together* Now go out there and have some good fun.

You know, I don't understand where people are playing or if matchmaking just screws them over. I have played so many Ground War (read: huge, up to 18 players in a lobby) games of MW2 lately, and the chances of someone talking on the mic is somewhere around 1 in 100. I really want to know if this is just a case of negativity bias or are people's poor perceptions of player palaver backed by statistics. Yes, anecdotes are interesting, but they seldom represent the thing that creates them.

Very well written and I laughed throughout the article. I have a similar experience where we were pinned down by snipers in Halo 3 and a 14 year old girl came up and told us their locations and took several out with grenades, one of which was from across the field. Best match ever.

Sounds inspirational and all but I'm too much of a cynic to believe that anyone would work together that kid would have to be the re-incarnation of Winston Churchill I understand all the thought behind the counter arguments I'm just too cynical for my own good.

something like this happened in WoW in pvp on AB as it started we were all running around trying to get the highest kills on the bored but one man said as we captured the lumber mill 'if you want yo win follow me' and so 6 of us travelled like locust decimating the horde tree druids pulverised there frost magi and stomped on there reti paladin capturing the basses one by one and as we did more people joined this little band of men led by a fine shaman i do not remember his name i just remember that he help join a us to victory and so every time i join a game of AB i look for that shaman hoping he can led us to VICTORY.

I try to make every online experience like this. If there isnt someone "in charge" within a few moments of me being a game, I will try to rally people. This is met with varying responses, obviously. However, I believe that part of the blame falls on the structure of the game itself (as someone else said in this thread). Games like Call of Duty and even Battlefield track so many individual stats and promote self-advancement that many people are only in it for themselves. They see teammates as nothing less than people with blue letters above their heads that they can't shoot, and nothing more than occasional tools to be used for further self-advancement. If there were a way to make games more about the team as a whole (while still allowing people to have fun and track their stats), it might lead to more team-oriented gameplay among the masses.

...I think I'm going to go make a seperate thread about this...

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