Letters to the Editor

The Red Box


In response to “The 12-Year-Old English Kid Who Carried Us to Victory” from The Escapist Forum: A very interesting and inspiring story. It’s a very moving thing in it’s own way. While it may be said that it is ‘just a game’ it’s still a game that makes an attempt at simulating a real and dangerous adult world, and in it we see here a child, someone who should not have any real knowledge of combat scenarios, who takes the reigns of leadership.

Pip actually reminds me a lot of Miles Teg ( for those of you who haven’t read Dune I have some homework for you) in that despite his age and appearance, seems to have that gift of decision. It wouldn’t have mattered as much if his orders were not necessarily the right ones, but the fact that he could say “You go here and do this. You go there and kill that”

I don’t really know where I was going with all that, but it was a great story to hear, and it’s great hear about really good people who shine through the seemingly endless ocean of shit that is online gaming.


There is no question that I’ve had similar experiences in online FPS games. Of course, in death matches, teamwork like this is normally irrelevant. But in Counter Strike: Source, an old favourite of mine, becoming a squad leader or microphone strategist is a role that I often aspire to.

Yes, you have to be a good communicator. You have to know about the strats that may win you the game. You have to be good at figuring out how your team will respond in a pub server, who will follow, if any, on your first round, and who will not. You have to build trust over time, work the emotions of your comrades by being right with your strategics time and time again. And of course, you need to be good at the game itself. If your score is low, no one will listen, even if your strats are straight out of the mouth of a tourney pro talking into the microphone for you.

The natural selection of leaders in such a lawless realm is a real point of interest for social scientists. I think that the article’s right in implying that, ironically enough, if we were to lose games, we would lose a really great example of what a place without rules would be like, and how people would make their way through it in one piece. Leaders are not born in a place like this. There are no dynasties in a public server. You don’t go in rich and well-resourced, ready with an empire half-made. You have to start then and there and work like a maniac to win. (Of course, you do have some advantages being rich in the real world while playing games – like the microphone itself, a big widescreen monitor to see enemies at your sides, and the like. But these are not necessarily social advantages to becoming a leader for that game and consequential ones.)

The article is right that it is incredibly rewarding to find victory because of strong leadership. Not least if you are said leader. Take it from me: there is nothing like, upon a victory both personal and team-based, listening to someone else you’ve never met say into the microphone: “it’s been an honour to fight with you today, [and your name].” Yes, it’s a fake world; there are no real consequences, but there has been a great success in game design when it comes to emulating the best of warfare – that is, the brotherhood of the team against the odds. I hope that one day, this fake experience of wartime friendship will be all we need to have, in the face of a lasting peace.



In response to “A Knife to a Gun Fight” from The Escapist Forum: I personally dislike the use of a one-hit kill melee button, in my opinion it reduces close range encounters to being a race to press the mystical ‘save me’ button before the other guy does.

People panic at close range? Good. This rewards the players who are prepared for close combat (namely those who’s playstyle is based around it, such as myself) and punishes those who require a sense of saftey at long distance, the weakness of snipers was always supposed to be how helpless they are at close range, by giving them an easy way out it undermines this, you don’t see shotgun players being given mortars in case they find themselves pinned down by a sniper so why should snipers have a close range failsafe?

This is one of the reasons I liked Rainbow Six: Vegas, there was no melee button (there was plenty of long range and mid range fights, but close range was very clearly dominated by SMGs and shotguns), if you panic because someone appears in front of you, you die for it and that is something you will have to learn to adapt to, you keep calm and respond appropriately and you have a fair chance of effectively defending yourself with no stabbing or auto-aim lunging required.

Iron Mal

SNIPitty-mon, I choose YOU!!

I loved your post because it reminded me of the impracticality of most melee systems in most games.

I got a good laugh at picking apart the elements to see that no matter how impractical, players will exploit the system, for better or worse.

Personally, I feel that knives should not be a regular one-hit kill attack.

I believe a better system lies in a Two-Type attack system, one of which can act as a weak knife attack that does minor damage, such as a very quick slash that takes off one/sixth (Or if possible, even less) of an enemy’s health. Using the attack in quick succession, it can stop an enemy dead in it’s tracks when cornered or otherwise ambushed, yet it would prove ineffective in rush strategies because the damage is minimal.

Likewise, the secondary attack would be a Finisher-move, or a long sequenced (Possibly a three second long swing, to emphasize the strength and accuracy of a One-Hit kill.) attack that limits movement at the time of the swing. This would be considered the go-to attack for sneaking, and would be limited to sneaking by slowing movement speed.

In comparison, introducing a large variety of weapons rather than just focusing on THE KNIFE (Although a quality weapons system should never be overlooked when this is the case.) creates a relative weapon-based exposition for armed melee based combat, therefore it becomes a class of a range of weapons that allow for unique back-up setups.



In response to “Fan of the Game” from The Escapist Forum: It’s sad to me that in the US, professional gaming on consoles is far more prominent than professional gaming on PCs. The higher accuracy of keyboard and mouse controls creates a much higher skill ceiling for PC games than console games. As someone who loves watching duels in Quake, watching top Halo players go at it is frankly sad. I won’t deny that the players exhibit high levels of tactical skill, but Quake has the same level of tactical skill plus an added layer of aiming skill. It’s just a ton more fun to watch.


Sorry, but I don’t see gaming as a spectator sport; most ‘pro’ gamers are Stop Having Fun Guys who deserve neither praise nor prestige for what they do.

And of course, you’re basing that on having spoken to and gotten to know most pro gamers? No. I’d suspect the people who you’re basing your assumptions on are the snot-nosed little squeakers who can barely spell “MLG”. The “stop having fun” guys are rife at public level, but unless you’ve been to that level then I don’t think you can make that assumption.

I’d agree that gaming isn’t a spectator sport, but why should Baseball be? Why should football, racing, running, or for that matter ANYTHING be spectator based? Because it’s fun to watch a talented human do something well. Millions watch F1 motor racing. Is it logically entertaining? Hell no, it’s a bunch of cars driving around in circles. Can you appreciate the nerve and skill it takes it takes to take a corner at 200mph whilst your arse is about 4 inches from the ground? Yes. That’s why people watch Louis Hamilton, that’s why people watch gaming. To see something extraordinary.



In response to “Crossplayer Is the Future” from The Escapist Forum: One thing that bothers me about this article is how it treats “crossplayer” (now there’s a term that needs to be changed) as a new idea. It’s not, in fact it’s one of the oldest ideas in gaming.

Let me give you a little history, back when Spacewar was still blowing minds an in-depth, story-driven, multiplayer, cooperative RPG with human-controlled opponents appeared. It was called Dungeons & Dragons. Not long thereafter an electronic videogame genre quite similar to D&D was invented. They were called Multi-User Dungeons, or MUDs, which were done entirely via text. As technology advanced a little title called Everquest popularized the MMORPG genre and I’m sure your aware of the rest.

The article defines “crossplayer” as a story driven game that switches seamlessly between single player/cooperative/competitive mode. Don’t buy into the hype, this is not a new idea.

Introducing a pervasive multiplayer element into a single player game has the problematic effect of almost completely destroying a sense of pacing. As the article says, one needs experience to enjoy multiplayer. An inexperienced player fighting human-controlled enemies in multiplayer mode will die very often unless fighting similarly experienced opponents, and even then the usual one-vs.-many paradigm common to single player games will have to be changed.

I am very interested in seeing MMO aspects competently integrated into genres other than RPGs.

Iron Lightning

Really interesting. I like the idea of playing a single player campaign (say, Halo) in which a level contained enemies controlled by other players online. The only problem is that there would be no reason for all the players controlling enemies to not simultaneously charge the single-player guy. How can he survive!

I can see it working in a slightly different situation though, and maybe this is what the devs in the article were referring to: imagine you are playing a single player game in which your character is a lone wolf, a third party trying to survive during a war between two other races. Maybe you’re an undercover marine or brit trying to assassinate some middle eastern terrorist leader say, and to get to him you must make your way through the streets, strife with civil war between the locals.

But these locals are actually real players playing an online deathmatch game. To them, as you wander the level, you always look like an enemy avatar – or maybe the match is a free-for-all and you look like just another enemy online. (And in real life, that’s probably what you would be in that situation.) They try to kill you all the same, but they’re not ganging up on you – they don’t even know you’re experiencing a single player game.

I think it could work, and could be really fun. Even more so if there were huge maps with a bunch of players on each side, big enough to sustain a reasonable single player level. What do you guys think?



Regarding “Muslims in My Monitor” from The Escapist Issue 269: I would like to thank you for printing the “Muslims in My Monitor” article in your most recent issue. While I am neither Arab nor Muslim, I found the article printed to be a huge step forward in the world of gaming journalism.
I applaud your magazine for printing such an article and hope to see future articles such as that one.

I greatly value your website and magazine because of your willingness to explore issues that many other sites refuse to. Hosting such excellent comedy videos (Such as Unskippable and the famous ZP) and your recent addition of Extra Credits (to which I’ve found am immense liking) has made your magazine far superior to any other. In the future, I would love to see more articles that continue to delve into the serious matters at the core of our community, even if those topics aren’t “Happy” or “friendly”. It is my belief that articles and topics such as discussed in “Muslim in My Monitor”
must be brought to the front of our culture in order to move us forward and away from the racist stereotype.

So thank you for your willingness to host these supposedly dangerous discussions and topics.

-Jessica Marvin

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