This is a story of how I joined the -=256=- clan and formed some life long friendships. It is a personal note that I want to share with the world.
Back in the summer of 2005 I was merrily playing Counter-Strike: Source, I frequented a group of servers frequently and formed a loose connection with the other regulars. There was a forum we chatted on, but there wasn’t a tight knit bond between us. It was a casual fling.
That summer saw the release of Battlefield 2, a game which sits comfortably in my personal top five. I had read good things about it in magazines like PC Gamer and I had quite enjoyed the demo of the Gulf of Oman map. The game was released and I started to play it in between my Counter-Strike sessions, I was oblivious to how my gaming habits were about to change.
One day, in my memory it was a lovely summers day, (but in all honesty it might not have been when you consider the weather normally seen in Cardiff) I happened upon a server called -=256=- Clan Server. I visited the server a few times until I happened to be in the same squad as two clan members known as Junctionbox and Sanchopanza. After typing a few messages of ‘hi, good match’ etc they mentioned I should join the clan forum.
Soon enough I was invited to join the clan and from then on I started to fully realise the bond that is formed between clan members. I was part of a great group of people, as we played more together I started to get an understanding of the ethos of the clan which had started life back in the days of Battlefield 1942. The ethos was to be friends and have respect for each other.
My personal guiding light in the clan, Junctionbox was kind enough to post me a microphone so I could join in the chat in the game. Soon enough my Welsh accent was being broadcast to the other chaps and many a night was spent chatting away on Karkand et al.
These people became my friends, and whilst I have never had the pleasure of meeting them in person, I still enjoy talking to them when possible. The clan was a close unit, we shared our personal issues, and JB certainly provided me with guidance in some of my relationships. Pistol_Pete and Swerve were the guys I looked up to as the chiefs of the clan, Spon was hands down the best player, and Sanchopanza was a cracking laugh.
It was with a heavy heart that I read about the passings of Pistol_Pete and Skally a couple of years ago, these were people I had grown to consider friends, despite never meeting them face to face.
Now we have Battlefield 3 to play, another game which is bringing us all back together again on TeamSpeak and on our own server. While I had slipped away from playing regularly with the guys over recent years, with the release of Battlefield 3 we are all getting back into the rhythm of things, shouting out enemy positions, calling for ammo and running for our lives when we spot a tank.
It is a testament, both to Battlefield 2 which so encouraged teamplay, and the bond of friendship that can be established through online games that we are all back together again seven years after I first joined the clan. If anyone says that online gaming is full of putrid bile, I quietly think about the clan and the friendships that will be with more forever. Here is to my friends at -=256=-.
To find out more about the clan, visit the forums here.