Nostalgia for computer clubs: Counter-Strike with the police, nights with admins and handicraft devices
Like many of my peers, my school youth was spent in computer clubs, which were a point of attraction for all advanced youth and beginners “cyber-cutlets” of that time. Of course, we are not talking about modern luxury clubs like Colizeum or VP.Bearloga, but about small “game libraries” where you could hardly find two identical monitors, and it was considered a great success to play a full-fledged five-on-five match in Counter-Strike.
In the early 2000s, computer clubs practically did not differ from each other (at least in my city). Often these were two- or three-room apartments converted into offices on the first floors of residential buildings, but with a separate entrance. Usually there were 15-20 computers of various configurations along the walls and sometimes a couple of consoles. The most top-notch establishments had a kitchen, a minibar and a TV with a sports channel – a kind of relaxation area where you could wait until your computer was free. Instead of modern gaming chairs – office chairs or stools. You could still get lucky with the devices, but you had to wear your own mouse pads, since the club mats quickly got dirty and were rarely updated. It was believed that only losers play on standard ones.
Admin is the center of the universe
The heart of any computer club of that time was the administrator (not to be confused with the administrator). Modern administrators are more suited to the role of service personnel, who can only turn on the computer and punch Coca-Cola at the checkout. If we talk about the same “ancient administrator”, then it was a king and a god in his domain, a shepherd for a flock of novice gamers, a loyal friend, a reliable teammate and a part-time tournament judge. Everyone tried to be on good terms with the admin, because he could download a movie from the Internet in a friendly way, connect a newer mouse, and even let the game play out to the end when the paid time had already expired.
I have always had a good relationship with the admins. Firstly, I never gave them problems, which not all visitors could boast of. Secondly, I was good at finding common interests with them. For example, we became friends with one against the background of our shared love for Heroes 3 and the Civilization series. In clubs, such games were rarely in demand, because they demanded a lot of time from the client and, accordingly, money. The admin was looking for a worthy opponent, and I was looking for a way to kill time, preferably for free. At first we played at night sessions, and then during the day, when there were free computers. If he won, then I bought him chips or cola, and if I won, then I simply did not pay for the playing time.
During the night sessions, friendship with the administrator had other additional advantages. Usually, from the evening until the very morning, the club was closed from the inside so as not to tempt dubious individuals in search of adventure and easy money. True, there were no such incidents in my presence, but I remember well how in the middle of the night the administrator opened the club and invited all visitors to “get some air”. Like a conductor on a train, he announced the time for a smoke break / snack, since smoking was prohibited in the hall, and eating at computers was not welcome. So the administrator arranged a picnic for the guests in the open at night, and for friends he could make coffee or warm up a sandwich in the microwave. These gatherings are some of the best memories of that time.
Did you call the police?
Computer clubs are a place where emotions are often raging, especially when young and hot gamers compete with each other in aim and foul language at the same time. As I have already said, many clubs then opened simply in residential buildings, next to ordinary apartments, where small children, pensioners, and ordinary workers lived, who were already at the plant at six in the morning. Not only did these people have to listen to the screams of the players through the wall all day long, but sometimes the screams did not stop even at night. In my youth, I hung out in various clubs in the city, and almost every one of them at least once was visited by a police squad because of complaints from residents.
– I wish you good health. Neighbors complain that someone is being killed here.
– Yes, Seryoga is constantly camped on B.
When I was there, the patrol came to the club several times, but there were no consequences from this. Usually guys in uniform came into the room, for some reason counted those present, asked the administrator about the sale of alcohol or cigarettes (no one was involved in this) and said the duty officer, “Why were we going out here? Residents complain. ” The fact that there were underage children without parents in the club at night did not interest them, but uncles in uniform never refused from “a couple of fights in Counter-Strike”. Playing against visitors, they could linger in the club for an hour or two. And sometimes the guardians of order themselves shouted and outraged louder than everyone else.
Once, a curious incident happened when, after arriving at the club of one outfit, an hour later a second was called there. It’s just that men’s cries like “Where are you running, creature!”, “Shoot him through the door!”, “Now I’ll put you on the knife!” and so on. Arriving at the call, the second outfit laughed heartily, took the over-played colleagues, and together they left for the sunset (dawn), strictly ordering those who remained in the club to “be quiet”. The crime was solved, justice was done again.
While playing Counter-Strike in clubs, we were forced to invent our own codes and conditional phrases in order to coordinate the team’s actions. Well, you will not tell your teammate “rushim A”, “go to the middle” or “dropped the bomb in the connector” when the opponents are sitting half a meter away from you. At that time, no one heard about noise canceling headphones (and did not dream), but an elegant way out of the situation was found. My friends and I came up with the idea of marking positions on maps using built-in voice commands. In CS 1.6, there were a number of such commands on the Z and X buttons with phrases like “Cover me”, “Go! Go! Go! ”,“ Fall back ”, etc.
At the beginning of each round, with these teams, we informed the allies where we were planning to go and what position to hold. As I remember now, on de_aztec the phrase “Go! Go! Go! ” meant that the player is occupying the bridge, and “Fall back” was said by the one who goes to look at the “water”. If you noticed an opponent, then spam the phrase several times, like an alarmist before an impending action. If you changed position (for example, fell from a bridge into the water), then alternately sent “Go! Go! Go! ”And then“ Fall back ”. At first it was difficult to get used to this stream of spam, but then all the commands were assimilated at the level of reflexes and even synergy appeared. Fortunately, at that time, only two or three maps were played in clubs – de_aztec, de_dust and fy_pool_day (or a variation on the fy_Iceworld theme). The funniest thing was listening to our conversations after the match.
– As soon as I went with the cover mi to the full back, he killed me in the back with Roger Z!
Secret trick for dueling in StarCraft
Apart from Counter-Strike, the most common games in clubs were StarCraft: Brood War and Warcraft III. It was in these RTS that the brightest one-on-one duels took place, where skills were demonstrated and fundamental disputes were resolved. Most often, the battleground was the classic four-person The Lost Temple map, which was so incidentally present in both Blizzard games. A funny story is connected with this card about friends who came up with an interesting way to “cheat on the LAN”.
The scheme was “developed” by two regulars of the club, which we will conditionally call Sanya and Dimon. I do not remember their exact names / nicknames, because these events took place at least 15 years ago, and for the context, stories are completely unimportant. But I remember very well that these guys loved to play one-on-one with visitors and often bought them to bet a small amount or some goodies (they could play for pizza, chips or to replenish a mobile phone account). It is worth saying that both Sanya and Dimon played quite well, but they still did not neglect their scheme. And it consisted in this: the players sat face to face opposite each other and started the match on The Lost Temple. While Sanya was playing, Dimon stood behind his opponent and showed his friend with conventional signals where the opponent’s respawn was. For example, if the enemy appeared at nine o’clock, then Dimon scratched his left ear, and if at three o’clock – his right. In a similar pattern, he scratched his chin or crown, while pretending to be enthusiastically following the game. It turned out that Sanya knew where his opponent was from the first seconds of the match, which meant he could choose a more aggressive or risky strategy. They later learned to apply a similar scheme even on the Big Game Hunters map in SC: BW, where there were nine respawns. True, what kind of secret designations were there, I do not know.
The friends scheme worked with confidence in 9 out of 10 matches, until they were once exposed by an admin who was watching the game from the sidelines. When the guys confessed everything, they were praised for their creativity, and for fraud they were kicked out of the club in disgrace, after having knocked on the head a little.
Custom devices in artisanal conditions
At all times, the most advanced guys (and not some kind of losers) went to computer clubs with their devices. Usually they took a rug and a mouse with them, but sometimes they brought a keyboard, which was considered the height of foppishness. In high school, my friends and I actively followed e-sports, admired the microcontrol of Korean starcrafters, watched Grubby replays and, of course, dreamed of one day getting on the big stage. Of course, the first thing for this we needed to get cool devices, but not anyhow, namely … colored ones.
I don’t know where this theme came from, but even then many RTS players used colored keyboards with bright buttons, some of which were generally torn out as unnecessary (so as not to interfere during quick clicks). Unfortunately, in our city, such keyboards were not sold, at least at an adequate price, so a strong-willed decision was made to engage in handmade. My friends and I bought the cheapest white keyboards and paint cans. I took myself with a green one because I played Warcraft III for the Horde and thought that having a green keyboard would be tough as cool and stylish. As I remember now, in the summer, on a bench near the entrance, we picked out all the “extra” buttons on the keyboard, plugged the holes with cotton so that no paint could get there, and painted the devices with an awkward spray. I will not lie that we got a “clean” job, because in the process we almost snatched away from the neighboring grandmothers for a ruined shop. I had to grab not completely dry keyboards and evacuate to a safe area.
Having finished modding, my friends and I made special configs. We immediately decided that we didn’t need most of the buttons, so we removed almost all of them, leaving just a dozen for the left hand for bindings. To make it convenient, all the abilities of the heroes and characters were redesigned for the Q-W-E-R scheme, and A-S-D-F and a couple more keys were allocated for the construction of buildings. And finally the finest hour came when my friends and I came to the club to show off our “custom handicraft devices”. Under sighs of envy, they connected the keyboards, copied the configs, launched Warcraft III and … only then did they realize what they had screwed up. None of us were able to enter our nickname, because the keyboards simply did not have half of the buttons. Feelsbadman …
Configs in Quake III as a ticket to IT
Speaking about configs, I remembered another unusual fashion in computer clubs. In the days of my youth, we had a fairly large community of Quake III fans in our city, who regularly held some tournaments and championships, arranged multi-part fights on different maps, etc. In addition to the skill itself, these guys also competed in the complexity of the configs. No, jumping on the right mouse button I can still understand, but some of the graphics settings were beyond good and evil. From the outside it might seem that they are not playing Quake III, but each in some kind of shooter – with unique indicators, colors, models, etc. We, ordinary Counter-Strike fans, did not understand this.
The fashion for configs began with the fact that one of the players went to a Quake III tournament in another city and brought someone else’s config from there, which slightly changed the interface, really making it a little more convenient. The guys in the club saw it, wanted to make themselves “the same, but a little better.” As a result, everyone added something of their own there, copied ideas from others and endlessly updated their own unique, the best config in the world. Perhaps this is how the players hoped that from one glance at their screen the opponent would be horrified and refuse the match. I am sure that a good half of these “coders” did not even play Quake III properly, but thanks to the skills of poking around in the config, she could easily start a career in IT.