Wednesday, 5 July 2017
MSN Gaming Zone and Others
Nowadays online gaming is very easy, you just hop on PSN, Xbox Live or Steam and you hit "Multiplayer" in whatever title and it will find people for you and then drop you in a match. Back then though things were very different and a lot more annoying. There were these 3rd party services like MSN game zone where you'd have to chat to people and set up little rooms and wait for folks to join you. That was the easy part though because I seem to remember once you were actually in a game connections being really unstable and games being dropped left right and center.
This was OK if you were playing a Tom Clancy game or something where matches were short but me and my friend would often try and play things like Heroes of Might and Magic 3 through this thing and those games are fucking LONG. If you dropped connection during a match of that there was no chance to reconnect, you were just done and that made things very frustrating. It could have been a problem with my internet rather than the MSN Gaming Zone service but the point is that stable connections during games are something I think we very much take for granted now.
There was this other service called Gamespy which was kind of similar but I remember that had chat rooms where you could use a microphone to talk to people which was another thing that absolutely blew my mind. It was also something that sort of freaked me out because I came from a time when I was constantly told that everyone on the internet was a predator so the idea of voice chatting with people was not something I enjoyed at the time. Probably for the best because I was a bit of a twat as a child so I saved myself some embarrassment.
I sort of miss the these times but at the same time I'm so happy that online gaming is mostly hassle free nowadays. I'm more than happy to sit here and reminisce but I don't think I'd ever really want to go back to using these kind of services ever again.