Victory will be mine in this Battlefield 1942 map contest ... though I had to take some drastic actions.
I love building maps and scenarios for wargames, and ever since my complete mastery of Empire Earth's scenario builder and the fallout from that, I shifted my attention to 3D mapping.
It was hard-going at first. My initial Medal of Honor map was called "Escape from the solitary confinement cell of Stalag 69," and it accurately depicted a 6' cube with no light, weapons, or doors. The only way to 'win' was to join it in multiplayer and knife each other to death.
But nowadays I'm pretty damn good. When I saw an Internet site was running a Battlefield 1942 mapping contest, I was all over it like soot on Stalingrad.
I guess I should've read the rules more closely.
I started coding up a brutal scenario. At first I called it, "Thomas's Rolling Wave of Unflinching Japanese Death." That didn't exactly roll off the tongue. So I called it "The Battle of Samoht Island," figuring I was clever. (Get it? Samoht? Thomas? Bah.)
I had it all. Custom scripts. My own textures. New models. USO girls. I must've spent 100 hours on that thing over the course of five days. But then, when I went to check the rules to see if there was a file size limit (my intro cinematic included 20 minutes of vintage war footage) I discovered RULE 3:
"All entries must be based off of actual World War II battles."
I froze up, staring numbly at my monitor. Actual battles? Samoht island doesn't actually exist, nor was there a battle fought there. I frantically called up some World War II history sites trying to see if a battle played out similar to the one that I had developed, but there was no such battle. Certainly no battles involving precision Coke-machine airdrops. Much less secret Japanese hoversubs and amphibious carriers.
I rolled backwards on my chair, reeling. I had to think. THINK!
Well, one thing I've noticed about gamers -- particularly by the number of people in the forums asking who actually won the war -- is that we're not dealing with war historians here. And this is the Internet. I just needed to plant a little evidence.
Two days before the contest deadline, I wrote up a history of the hard-fought battle at Samoht island, submitting it to an amateur history site. I also created a website for the Samoht Board of Tourism that talked about their World War II battlefields landmark, cemetery, and museum. Then I created a fake email address and sent an angry note to a more legitimate Pacific War history site, linking to the article on the amateur site and saying, "as a lifelong resident of beautiful Samoht island, I take offense to the marginalizing of our contribution to this war. Years after the conflict my father lost a leg to an undetonated landmine, which was no doubt protecting the hoversub pen."
They added a link and battle summary to their timeline. Then I got on the phone and managed to get some Cornell Professor to publish my paper in a historical journal, citing the website as proof of validity. ("Everything on the Internet is true!" I bellowed.) Afterwards I convinced a Rolling Stone reporter that the lyrics from U2's "Where the Streets Have no Name" was based off of this pivotal battle.
Armed with this "evidence," I was finally able to enter my map into the contest. I'm still waiting to hear the results.
Unfortunately, this strategy has some serious drawbacks. For instance, I just got a fax from the New York Times asking if I could send them photographs of the remains of the exploding toilet that changed the course of the battle. Then Dateline NBC called me up inquiring if they could do a story on the locals and how they were affected by the decimation of their secret submarine pens during the war. I told them that I was the only islander who spoke English. When they didn't believe me I "handed the phone" to "The Mayor" and then howled at them in gibberish.
This thing isn't going to blow up on me, is it?
[Daily Victim Idea submitted by GameSpy reader TJourney.]
I've just started recieving Veteran's Benefits in the mail...
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