Today 5punk.co.uk is ten years old. What began as a function for likeminded people to organise gaming sessions has, in those years, become a very close community in its own right. Many members, many games, have been and gone through the forums. Even the forum has died and been reborn. But the constant which makes 5punk the place it is remains true. The members, whoever they may be, their puerile but good natured sense of humour, love of gaming, and penchant for bumming horses.
This could very well have been a history of 5punk, but that has already been covered here. It could have been a comprehensive list of all the games we’ve played and why, but that’s not necessarily what we’re about. It could be a summary of who we are and what we’re about, but you can find that here. Instead I asked our members to think back and remember their favourite moments, and have collated them as best I can. There has been much more, there was much more than this remembered on that forum post alone, but I hope that this illustrates who we are by example, better than any diagnosis. Even in this I’m limited by my own experiences, and I hope that other 5punkers will share those I couldn’t elaborate on in the comments. Such is the volume of content presented to me for this article I will be splitting it over the next few days, both for my sanity and yours. Today we reminisce over the weird and wonderful games outside the First Person Shooter environment, which I will come to tomorrow.
Gaming is by far the lion’s share of the subject matter. Games are the reason we’ve all come together, and combined with TeamSpeak is the catalyst for many of our memes and funniest moments. The range of games we play, and have played, is as wild and varied as our members. Some habits formed which can be seen throughout these anecdotes, such as the counter-trolling of unpleasant individuals we’ve encountered. Early on in our gaming history, before everything was inexorably linked to Steam, we took to renaming ourselves en-masse after trolls in a form of passive (aggressive) resistance. And of course pissing about in their name, much to their chagrin.
For a time many of us entertained ourselves during non-gaming time with turn based web games. They proved popular, mainly due to our determination to bring humour to what were normally extremely po-faced communities. One actually banned us en-masse, the game admin registering on our forum to reiterate how horrible we were. Urban Dead, a game of zombie survival, was the first to really capture our imaginations. As zombies the vocabulary was limited, and the weird pidgin English which skilled (non-5punk, but still amusing) players used fuelled our imaginations. Mr Bobbins still uses the alternative moniker Brahbahnz to this day. As humans though we really made a name for ourselves. Our group grew quite large, attracting a few feuds an not a little notoriety. Holed up in an old (and useless) pub named the Waugh Arms, we most famously embarked on a pub crawl of the zombie apocalypse. Not everyone was happy with our reviews.
Not long after we left Urban Dead we found a similar game by the name of Shartak. Set on a tropical island, with conflicting groups of tribes, colonists, and pirates, it was a more serious affair. We made a scene, albeit accidentally at first, almost immediately when the unsavoury actions of one of our group earned us a ‘kill on sight’ mandate from the self appointed police force of the colonial town of York. In the spirit of goodwill there were several attempts to resolve the issue, but being a fairly large and powerful group the Colonial Police chose to bully us instead. I don’t expect they could possibly have imagined the backlash of around 50 members who joined from the forums to exact revenge. Forming the counter-group ‘the Colon Police,‘ we quickly established a new Waugh Arms, carried over from UD, gave their leader a nervous breakdown, and caused sufficient infighting to destroy their group. Despite the evidence of our monumental impact on the game we were steadfastly ignored by the in-game press, and conversely petitioned against for bans from the game’s admin. With our point made most people drifted away again, but before the game (temporarily it would seem) shut down Berk and a few others made our mark by filling the entire town of York with signs stating simply “WILLIES!”
Minecraft was inevitably going to be popular, offering as much scope for expression as it does. We bought in early, somewhere around 2010 when it was still in Creative mode by default and Survival mode was a quirky little in-development mode. Mole people featured heavily in these early games, digging out the entire (limited at the time) world right down to the bedrock. Later, when the game was in a state recognisable to the players of today, we came together in several rare spates of 5punky coordination. On one occasion we built a huge replica of Isengard, complete with lava chasm moat, and constructed in Survival mode. Later we attempted to build a replica of Grimmie’s entire fictional village from his D&D campaign, although this was somewhat less successful. In more recent time we introduced mods such as Tekkit. The holy grail of Tekkit was, for us at least, nuclear reactors. I recall finishing the first one myself. A meticulously designed construction which was stable but low output, and which Shot2Bits was hell-bent on sending critical. Later Anery built a more impressive one. Unfortunately it was also less stable, and a meltdown and nuclear explosion later we required a restore of the server from backup.
Burnout Paradise, known as Bumout, combined chaotic multiplayer stunt driving with bad music and webcams. The game’s system of taking a screenshot of another player via their webcam when you wiped them out led to moments of horror such as Fabyak’s not-so-deliberate nipple slip, and my own invention of Naked Bumout.
While RTS games haven’t traditionally been the most popular here, we’ve had some shining moments. Massed superweapon battles in C&C Generals, massed nuke launches in Supreme Commander, to name but two I wasn’t witness to personally. Starcraft 2 didn’t get much play time in its normal form, but the arcade presented us with a cornucopia of wonderfully broken games. Lightbikes were frustrating enough to amuse with howls of anguish on Teamspeak, and Aiur Chef was sufficiently silly (and competitive) to draw a great many chuckles. By far the greatest SC2 mod, though, was Pictionary. We found that if you put half a dozen 5punkers in a game where you draw things for other people to guess, we find an almost infinite number of obscene ways to include cocks in those pictures.
Tomorrow we visit the land of the shooter, home of some of our most sacred memes.