Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Trixter Gets Pwned By Son; Film At 11

Posted by Trixter on October 30, 2007


To gear up for finally playing Half-Life 2 (and all the other goodies in the Orange Box), I’ve registered my original Half-Life with Steam and started playing through the original HL, moving on to Opposing Force, and finally Blue Shift. I wanted to get reacquainted with the setting and atmosphere before I took the plunge. Yes, I am that thorough. While such practices always result in much good-natured mocking from my friends, I doubt any of them are surprised.

To try to bone my skills back up to where they were a decade ago, I occasionally take a break and play Half-Life Deathmatch. It was during one of these sessions that Max, my 8-yr-old, saw me playing. After the requisite talk about “the blood and gibs aren’t real, it’s just a game, you would never do this in real life, right?” etc., he watched me get into a particularly hilarious crowbar fight with an evenly-matched opponent. We were both howling, and then he asked the inevitable question, “Can I play?”

Could he? It’s a mouse-and-keyboard FPS with an ESRB rating of “M”. The required skill level and content are years beyond him. And yet, he’s a pretty well-adjusted kid; whenever he sees something in a movie he can’t handle, he knows to close his eyes and/or cover his ears until it’s over. He knows when things are fake and when they’re real. He’s intellectually curious; all this last week I’ve been teaching him chess because he saw a set-up board somewhere and wanted to learn. Not bad for an eight-year-old.

Hell, he’s the son of the co-founder of MobyGames. Why not?

I installed Steam on his machine and registered my copy of Blue Shift to his account; like Half-Life, everything popped up as being registered and in ten minutes he was going through the Hazard Training Course. 20 minutes after that, we were playing HL Deathmatch against each other, in a private local LAN server hosted on his machine. And about 30 minutes after that, he pulled something so clever and so beyond his sum of experiences that it completely floored me. I’m still in awe over it. It’s why I’m posting this entry. See if you can follow along:

One of the sneakiest weapons in Half-Life Deathmatch are tripmines. You stick one to a surface (usually a wall), and a few seconds later a laser comes out of it, sensing the other side of the room. If anything crosses its path, the mine blows up, usually taking the offender with it. On our first map, I was cheerfully placing these all over the place, and he quickly learned what they are and how to use them.

That’s not the cool part. The cool part is, on the second map we played, there is a large area with munitions you can get to by swimming in a small canal with a very strong current. The water in the canal is murky and you can’t see into it until you’re actually down there swimming in the water. The current gets stronger along the way, to a point where you can’t fight it and are swept into the giant room with the munitions. About ten minutes after starting the map, I dove into the canal to get to the bigger room. I swam until the current started to sweep me towards the room… and it was at this point I saw a tripmine placed in the canal, unavoidably in my path. He had not only hidden a tripmine in murky water that you can’t see into until you’re already in it… but had placed it after the point where it still might have been possible to swim out of the way. I had about 1.5 seconds to take that in before it blew me to bits.

Let’s review: Eight-year-old, with no past history of playing any FPS, online or not, accomplishes in less than an hour something so sneaky and clever it takes most young adults a few days of playing, against many other people, to pick up.

I was pwned by my eight-year-old son. In a clever way, not a young-kid reflex twitch way. Holy mother of crap!

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5 Responses to “Trixter Gets Pwned By Son; Film At 11”

  1. Accatone said

    Wow! It’s a cool story. If you are gonna “pwned” in Half-Life, it is better that your child do it, and in a way like this, isn’t it! :) Tough, I have noticed you are assuming that Max knew exactly what he was doing when he placed this tripmine on this particular area. It might be a pure coincidence too. But it seems that he has done it on purpose! :)

    But is it really all right that an Eight-year-old play a M rated game? I know that in this age kids are growing too fast, but he will eventually play these games when the time comes, right? I remember, when I was a child, one of the first games I have ever played was Commander Keen, and I had absolutely adored it – it was also my first color game too! I have recently played a similar cute platform, Snowy: The Bear’s Adventures, where you are using snowballs to overcome the monsters in your path, and I have felt a similar joyous feeling for a moment (and it even has a kids-friendly mode!! I wonder what would be a kids-friendly mode look like in Half-Life?!) Snowy’s Treasure Hunter games are also very good too (if you like solving simple puzzles, of course). I mean, there are really good kid games out there. I still remember LucasArts’ Mortimer and the Riddles of the Medallion, and its funny songs! And what about the surreal Alley Cat? It still perfectly works on modern machines!

  2. Trixter said

    “is it really all right that an Eight-year-old play a M rated game?” It depends on the game. Half-Life has blood, guns, and gibs, but none of the graphics are, for lack of a better term, graphic. It’s a low-poly-count game, and you can turn off the blood and gibs, so yes, I felt it was okay.

    Just to be safe, we’ve laid out The Rules: https://trixter.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/birthday-frags/

  3. Melissa Leonard said

    What does “pwned” mean?

    • Trixter said

      It is a common typo-ism of “owned” that has entered the hacker teen vernacular. “Pwned” typically means “embarrassingly dominated”.

  4. Melissa Leonard said

    Just read this again (trying to stay awake on this noc shift) – love it! LOL

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