All Out War - A Stirling Services event
In what I hope to be a semi-regular series, (if I can get the HEXUS boss dudes to spring for it!), we will be taking a look at games and how well they simulate the real world experience. For example, does Colin McRae 2005 simulate a real rally driving experience? Or does Microsoft Flight Simulator accurately portray how to handle a C172? For no other reason than it gets me of my bum and out of the office, we take a look at the real world because there might actually be times when you turn your PC off…
By far the most popular genre of games right now is the First Person Shooter and when looking for a real world equivalent, Paintballing came to mind. But paintballing is really more like a real world version of UT2004 CTF. Most sites only run CTF games over different areas and all it really is a frantic session of running around blatting anything that moves while trying to grab a rag off a tree branch… No, what we were looking for was something more realistic, something more tactical and with a bit more finesse and that’s when we stumbled across a company called Stirling Services.
Nick from Stirling Services set us up with a weekend up in Sheffield at the LightFighter site where we met Matt Belgrove and Ben Watt, two Stirling Services guys who showed us the ropes and tooled us up. The idea of the weekend was that nearly 200 players would be gathering to play the continuing scenario of previous events. Yep, that’s right, we were taking part in an ongoing ‘war’ that had a continuous storyline, affected by the outcome of the weekends when everyone got together for a fight. You can check out the story so far over at the Stirling Services AOW forums, which will bring you up to speed.
Now, I have to say that both Matt D and I were pretty apprehensive as we rolled up to the site with neither of us knowing what to expect. As we drove in all around us were guys and girls kitted out to look every bit the real soldier, from boots and helmets through to webbing and cammos, these people had everything. It soon became clear that there’s a lot more to this thing than just turning up and shooting people.
Thankfully, everyone was just about as friendly as you could wish with absolutely no trace of elitism over the two complete muppets standing there in jeans and t-shirts in the midst of a khaki sea of soldiers. Once we’d been kitted out, Matt and I felt a little more settled, and a bit more ‘in’ and after chatting with a few of the players, it soon became clear that there was a distinct difference between these guys and even the most enthusiastic of paintball players.