Alright, your filthy spawn campers.  Its Wednesday, April 18, 2012, I've been fragged, and this is The Side. Some days, you just have to get out of your comfort zone, and this week I did so with some gaming.  Been a good stress release what with having to do the single dad thing while the Missus is tending to her family.

Yes, apparently I release stress by swearing at my computer screen, and attempting to Force choke people across the internet.


Got word about a free game online, TRIBES ASCEND.  Well, I like free so I looked into it a bit.  This is a really well done game.  I don't really play first person shooter games, but it was a lot of fun.  It handled nicely.  The graphics and sounds were good stuff.  Its pretty straight forward.  Get on a team, go out, shoot a bunch of people until your team wins.

The really neat part is that its free.  We've all played free games online, and the highest quality you're likely to see is something like ANGRY BIRDS.  This was different.  This was like a game that I'd expect to pay money for.  I went over to there site and there was the button for the free download.  Took a bit of time, but there was nothing sketchy about it.  I loaded it up, and started looking through the menu once I set up the account.

Here's where it gets good.  You can unlock all sorts of upgrades and new character classes with experience points that you earn or you can pay to upgrade your account and purchase all sorts of upgrades.  You also get added experience points for getting friends to get the game.  This paradigm for money making on free games isn't new.  Often you can purchase exclusive content from the site offering the game and money gets kicked back over to the game makers.  TRIBES ASCEND isn't being offered through any social website like Facebook or Google Plus.  It stands on its own.  So this may be the start of a major shift in the paradigm of how video games are marketed.  Multi-player games online aren't new, but often you pay to get the game, and you pay for membership to the online portion of the game.  This is different.  This is getting the game downloaded to as many people as possible, because there'll be people out there who will fork out the cash for better gear to blow folks up.  Its a very clever idea.  Plays off of gamers' competitive spirit, and gives them just what they want.

And yes indeed I played the game.  I'm absolutely horrible at it.  I chose the Pathfinder class as they're faster, and if worse came to worse, I figured I could run away screaming as more experienced gamers attempted to pick me off.  I did the tutorials and did alright with them.  I still don't have a good feel for some of the finer points, but it was time to jump in.

Went into a "Deathmatch" in which two teams of about 15 each go after each other and victory comes when the other team loses 99 lives.  I would like to take this time to apologize to the teams I was on as the losses in battle could very easily been all my fault.

I sucked at this.

No kidding, during one match I got ganked nine times.  It tells you who got you and what weapon they used.  Five times the message read "SUICIDE", and I endevored to find that sum'bitch with the screen name "Suicide" and then it dawned on me that I was an idiot and really needed to watch where I aim my weapon.

I did have a shining moment in that in a Deathmatch the first person that gets ganked spawns a flag and whoever has the flag gets double points or some such.  Well, I slid down a slope and caught sight of the flag holder and he wasn't facing me as he had a swarm of guys after him.  I can't hit the broad side of a barn in these games, but sure enough a popped off a shot and got him.  A little achievement metal appeared for bagging the flag bearer and I reveled in my n00bish glee.  My team was up by about 20 lives and on its way to a win.  Then I lost connection with the server and got booted.

I was way more pissed than I should have been.

I've played it a couple more times now and again.  Its fun.  I won't be dropping any cash on it though considering how tight money is now.  Still, I'm happy running around, getting in the occasional lucky shot, and upgrading my stuff when i get enough experience.

Bottom line: TRIBES ASCEND is a hell of a good time for broke clowns like me who like to shoot stuff.


Speaking of shooting things.

That'll do it for me today.  Off to work.  See you guys Friday.

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