It Was A Regular Night

It was a regular night, you know? Busy, but not too crowded. Command & Conquer was sitting in the booth at the back, as usual, telling old war stories to anyone who’d buy him a beer. Krush, Kill ‘n’ Destroy was there too, getting smashed on Castlemaine.

Elsewhere, the robotic exoskeleton crowd was celebrating Mech Warrior 2’s birthday over cocktails. Warcraft II and Age Of Empires were playing darts, and there was a bunch of balding old graphical adventures desperately trying to chat up Tomb Raider by the jukebox. LBA sat on his own in a corner, waiting for LBA 2.

Most of my regulars were sitting at the bar. Doom II had been at the hard stuff all afternoon, and was well out of it. He spent most of the night slumped forward with his head on his hands. I only saw him move once, when he sat up and turned to Duke Nukem 3D, on the next stool.

"You’re my best mate, you are," he slurred, slapping Duke on the back. "Shure, we’ve had our differenshes in the past, but as sprite-based gamesh’ve gotta stick together, right? These poly … pol … polygonal fools think they’re so smart …" he turned round to glare at Quake, sitting at a table with Syndicate Wars and some space combat game I didn’t recognise "… think they’re so smart," he repeated, bitterly, as they tried to ignore him, "but true 3D’s just a fad, innit mate? Just a fad, right? We’ll be played again soon enough. Shure we will …" And then again he fell forward onto the bar once more.

Duke just grunted, and got back to his tequilas.

The flight sims turned up around nine, clustered together as usual, babbling earnestly about angles of attack and electronic countermeasures.

"Crk. Six pints of lagar, over," said EF2000.

"Crk. And two packets of cheese and onion crisps, over," added Flying Corps.

Then it happened.

Total Annihilation came in first, blathering into his mobile phone as he strode towards the bar.

"Yeh … tell Dave it’s sorted," he was saying. "The extra mission discs are on their way, and the sequel’s in the bag." He elbowed the flight sims out of the way, snapped his fingers to get my attention, and continued to chatter into his phone. "Yeah, that’s right – were talking MEGA dosh, babe."

I was just about to ask what he wanted to drink, when everyone in the bar fell suddenly quiet. The only sound was Total Annihilation, still talking. "So we’ve got a half million units ready to shift fourth quarter," he continued, words echoing in the now hushed room. The he noticed the silence.

"Hey," he began, turning round, "what’s – " but he broke off, as the crowd parted to reveal Dark Reign standing in the doorway, his breath heaving, a futuristic pistol in his hand and a twisted look on his face.

"Gotta go," Total Annihilation whispered quickly into his mobile. "Ciao!" He slipped the phone into his jacket pocket.

"You swine," croaked Dark Reign. "Two years I’m in development, then you come out the sae time as me, with all your fancy explosions and la-di-dah polygons, and suddenly no-one’s interested in MY revolutionary brand of real-time strategic combat. I could’ve been – " he choked up for a moment, then recovered. "I could’ve been the next bloody Red Alert. But, no, you’ve got to come along and ruin everything. Well, I won’t stand for it. I wasn’t stand for it, you hear!"

After that, it’s a bit of a blur. Dark Reign fired, I think, but missed and hit Civilisation instead. Total Annihilation ordered everyone around him to adopt a roaming fire-at-will attack pattern, and stood on the bar to get a better line of site. Civ II, I noticed, dashed over to avenge his precurser, but ran into a pissed-up Mech Warrior: Mercenaries and spilled his pint. So of course the whole robotic exoskeleton crew whirred into action, and things went from bad to worse …

Last thing I remember, before F1GP2 laid me out with a chair leg, X-Wing had TIE Fighter by the throat, and was yelling, "Gouraud shade this, you bastard!"

Like I said: just a regular night.




<m e n u
Send me anything, irc conversations, bulletin board discussions.

© Molloy 2002