I showed up… Where were you?
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my attendance at the weekly gathering of we — the mid-thirties gamer guys with kids — is spotty at best. I failed to materialize last week for a moderately lame excuse, the exact nature of which was so lame that its epic lameness escapes me even now. But, Thanksgiving weekend, in the dwindling hours of a long weekend Monday, a few brief snatches of a precious day-off prior to starting the inevitable commute back to the office in the morning, I showed up.
And I waited.
Now, admittedly there was nothing formal planned. Red is normally always queued up with an event listing in our Steam calendar, and tonight there was nothing planned. But… here was to hoping.
I evaporated into the load screens of a couple potential game night game candidates, browsing their update logs and their status notices for the weekly feed of new content or altered play modes. Left 4 Dead 2 was featuring an enhanced scavenger mode mutation titled ‘follow the scavenger’ that — according to the post — was deeply favoured towards the zombies. So, probably not that, I thought.
I exited and bumped the refresh button on my friends queue. Nothing.
Everyone was too busy cleaning up from turkey dinners, roped into washing up duty, or perhaps just passed out in their swivel chairs from either too much turkey-delivered tryptophan… or too much red wine. That’s my story, anyhow, and I’m sticking to it.
I bumped Left 4 Dead 2 another time, finally after ten minutes or so loading up a friends-only server on the off-chance that a wandering fellow-gamer would see my in-game status and curiosity would get the better of him. I waited a little longer. Still nothing.
I fumbled with the keyboard, the mouse, the volume settings on my headset.
Finally, thirty minutes later, I jumped in. Plan: play, and if anyone else bothered to pull themselves away from holiday or family commitments on this quiet and chilly October evening then great. Otherwise… solo.
The “Hard Rain” Campaign loaded onto my screen. According to the wiki, Hard Rain sums up this way: “At the start of the campaign, Virgil drops off the Survivors with a mission to find and bring back diesel fuel for his boat. The mission is to travel to the Ducatel Diesel gas station through the abandoned town of Ducatel, the Witch infested ruins of the Ducatel Sugar Company mill and a cane field populated with Infected.”
To date, over the couple of years we’ve been holding these drop-in-awesome game nights, I’ve logged a little shy of thirty hours in Left 4 Dead 2. To novice ears, that sounds like a load of time. To veterans, that’s not quite a n00b, but still far from weak. Some solo time wasn’t going to hurt my skills.
I grabbed a katana from the ground and over the next twenty minutes or so — the details to be spared herein — I hacked and slashed my way through — according to my round stats — roughly two hundred infected, rampaging in hoards of virtual, relentless waves of killer zombies… yet still no show o friendly fire from the ever-silent, still-quiet, sadly-unchanging friends list.
An hour after the original expected start time for the Thanksgiving edition of Super Awesome Game Night — and yes, albeit, no formally scheduled event in the group calendar — I gave up, logged out, took my razor-edged sword and went home… and wandered over here to write up a report; A sad report, a report of of playing multi-player games in a lonely sort of way. *sniff*