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Are We Having Fun Yet...

I thought yesterday’s blog was somewhat interesting because it was about, of all things, grappling hook usage in video games. It received some great comments, one of which is the inspiration behind today’s blog. It’s ironic, because I was thinking about this particular game over the past few days, and even scribbled the title in my notepad under the potential blog idea section. I just didn’t know in what capacity to bring it up and blog about it, so I’ve been skipping over it. But now I have an “in” to bring it up…

 

 

Before I reveal the game and my thoughts about it, I first want to capture a few details about my gaming personality. I wouldn’t necessarily describe gaming, or at least the reason why I game, as fun or “to have fun”. Entertaining, yes…Enjoyable, yes…but fun, not really. At least not always.


 

 

 

I liken it to jogging. I jog. I jog a lot (I try to get in 4 miles a day). I enjoy jogging, but I wouldn’t say jogging is “fun”. Quite the contrary. It’s time consuming. It’s painful (at least at my age it is). It’s dirty or causes you to get dirty (or at least sweaty). But I still enjoy it.


 

 

 

For me, gaming is entertaining, but not always fun. Sometimes it’s serious. Sometimes it’s grim. Sometimes it’s harsh and sobering…but it can still be entertaining.

 

 

I haven’t played Alan Wake…but it doesn’t sound like a “fun” game. It DOES sound like an entertaining game.


 

 

 

I guess my point is, you can enjoy things that aren’t necessarily fun.

 

 

Maybe it’s just semantics or a play on words…but I think it’s relevant to the topic (especially if you knew me and my stern demeanor in the real world, which some have labeled as grumpy), because most of the games I play aren’t fun games. They’re more serious and solemn ones. (Except for maybe TF2, LOL)

 

 

But the game that I am going to focus on was a fun game. A very fun game. A fun game that has made me literally laugh out loud (which is totally out of character for me). I used to play it with the kids and we spent hours locked in engaging battles of hilarity playing this game. If you’ve never played it, then you missed out on a great game; and if you have played it, then perhaps you have shared in some of these humorous moments from this game that I am about to discuss.

 

 

“And so without further gilding the lily and with no more ado, I give to you, the seeker of serenity, the protector of Italian virginity, the enforcer of our Lord God, the one, the only, Sir Ulllrrrich von Lichtenstein!” –Chaucer, A Knight’s Tale

 


With no more ado, the game is none other than…

 

 

Worms.


 

 

A special thanks to GIO Member Legion for reminding me of this little gem – and yes, I would have to agree…the grappling hook (ninja rope) in Worms is indeed one of the best.

 


 

 

Perhaps the first thing that drew me to Worms was it’s essentially a heavily refined and polished version of an old old classic that many of you youngsters have probably never even heard of. The similarities being both are turned based artillery games (ah, a genre I haven’t heard of in awhile) that involve chucking an object at your opponent that is affected by the angle and velocity of the “throw”. That’s about all they have in common.

 

 

This classic was a game called Gorillas, circa 1991.


 

 

Gorillas is a video game first distributed with MS-DOS 5. It is a turn-based artillery game. The game consists of two gorillas throwing explosive bananas at each other above a city skyline. The players can adjust the angle and velocity of each throw, as well as the gravitational pull of the planet. Written in QBasic, it is one of the programs included as a demonstration of that programming language.

 

 

Long before Windows 7 Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, Windows, 98, Windows 95, Windows 3.X, Windows 2.X and the very first Windows…there was MS-DOS. And this game was played through MS-DOS. That was many moons ago.


 

 

 

But I digress. We’re here to talk about Worms.


 


 

 

A quick summary of the game:

 

 

Worms is an artillery video game developed by Team17 and released in 1994. It is a turn based game where a player controls a team of worms against other teams of worms that are controlled by a computer or human opponent. The aim is to use various weapons to kill the worms on the other teams and have the last surviving worm(s).


 

 

 

The game is set on a two-dimensional field. The players control a team of worms, each consisting of four members. The objective is to kill every member of the opposing team(s) within a set time limit per round. Each turn, which lasts from 45 to 100 seconds, a player may move a selected worm and use one or more of the available weapons and tools.

 

 

The weapons include simple firearms like the shotgun and Uzi, alongside a variety of heavy weapons such as the bazooka (the default selection), cluster grenades and airstrikes. The game also includes a number of 'secret' weapons (available through cheat codes on options screens or 'weapon drops' during the game) such as the Banana Bomb and exploding sheep, for which the series has become famous.

 

 

Also available are various tools such as the 'girders' - primarily used to add protection - as well as the 'drill', 'blowtorch' and 'ninja rope', which are primarily available for greater mobility across the playing field.

 

 

Come on…any game with an exploding sheep has to be cool, right. It was always good for a laugh. Your worm would aim in the general direction of your opponent’s worm and let loose with this bleating sheep that would run like a ticking time bomb. The problem was if it got caught up on the terrain and back tracked down its path, it could blow up your worm too. Never a good thing, but worth a chuckle nonetheless.

 

 

The grappling hook (ninja rope) that Legion mentioned also offered some humorous moments. You could fast rope in and land next to an enemy worm, drop a cluster grenade next to him (or on his head) and then climb away to safety as the counter ticked off the seconds. If time ran out before you made your escape, you might find yourself stuck dangerously close to your own bomb or at least the subsequent blasts from the clusters going off.


 

 

 

Everything about the game was funny. The introduction to Worms 2 was hilarious. The worms themselves had funny dialogue. The game play was insanely intense and a roaring riot as half the time your own “well thought out attack” would endanger your own worms from friendly fire or from unexpected results from your diabolical attack.

 


 

 

The game spawned a few sequels that really just added more unique weapons and maps. Nothing quite as rewarding as inching up to an enemy worm and going Babe Ruth on him with a baseball bat. If you hit him just right with a homerun caliber swing, you would send him flying into the water and ultimately his demise. Perhaps the funniest weapon was the holy hand grenade. When you used this, your opponent would shout, “What the…” before being interrupted by an angelic choir voice that would burst forth in song with a “hallelujah”. The damage from the holy hand grenade was massive, and would leave a rather large crater at the spot of detonation. If the blast didn’t kill your worm(s), the shock wave would likely send him flying off the screen or tear a hole so deep into the terrain that he would fall through and into the water below.


 

 

 

I know Xbox Live has some of the games available, but really…it’s one of those games that was awesome when it first released but doesn’t seem all that impressive with the glitz and glamour associated with today’s games. Still though…it holds a special place in my memory banks for being so awesome and one of the few “fun” games I’ve ever played that made me truly laugh out loud.

 


What the…Hallelujah!

 

 

 

Thanks Legion.

 


 

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