Tagged: Strife

Strife: The Outlier of the Doom Engine.

Doom is over 25 years old. The tale of id software’s first-person shooter causing a new wave of clones and derivatives has been told to death. But id wasn’t just content with making games. They were willing to license their technology out to other developers who would add their own spin and magic to it, sometimes those games becoming big on their own. For example, Raven Software ended up using id’s Doom engine to greatness with Heretic and Hexen using id’s fancy engine. The two were practically inseparable for 15 years after that, using id’s engines for their games for a very long time.

But there was one other major game that used that engine. One that had a troubled development due to a multitude of factors. You could say they had a bit of strife. The result is one of the more ambitious games made on that old Doom engine.

Not to be confused with that other Strife, the MOBA.

Enter Strife. A first person shooter that had a troubling development cycle and came out to little fanfare in 1996. Why did this game get thrown into the world of abandonware? Let’s find out.

Strife had a rough history: Developer Rogue Entertainment consisted of ex-Cygnus Studios people after wanting to make a new game after 1994’s Raptor: Call of the Shadows. The developers had conflicts with their boss, and decided to take their ideas elsewhere. After co-operating with people at id, Rogue got a deal with publisher Velocity Inc, makers of the JetFighter games and Battlezone clone Spectre, to publish their new project. Strife ended up releasing in May 1996, to passable reviews.

Problem was that by 1996, old “Doom clones” like Strife looked incredibly dated compared to the mind-blowing 3D visuals of Descent and id Software’s upcoming Quake, which came out a month later. This, combined with publisher Velocity folding not long after Strife’s release, meant that the game was basically dead in the water, and mostly forgotten by the general PC gaming populace.

more like “Thanks, die”

Rogue would eventually bounce back, making expansions for id’s Quake and Quake IIDissolution of Eternity and Ground Zero, respectively – and helping out on a former id Software employee’s pet project: American McGee’s Alice. In an ironic sense of history repeating, Rogue itself would dissolve in 2001 as the CEO left to go join EA, resulting in the remaining people forming Nerve Software, which is still around making games today.

Back to Rogue’s debut. I found Strife thanks to the now-defunct Home of the Underdogs, which was a common go-to spot for so-called “abandonware” titles. (Other games I found thanks to Home of the Underdogs include Blood II: The Chosen, which I wrote about back in 2012, and the amazing System Shock 2.) At the time, I had made a good amount of progress into the game itself, but at some point, I forgot what I was supposed to do and ended up bumping around in a sewer area repeatedly before giving up and moving on to other games.

After not touching Strife for so long, I decided to give it another try, nearly 15 years later, and see if it was as good I remember it. Turns out it’s… alright.

Continue reading…

PAX Prime 2013: Gaming invades Seattle!

Another year, and another PAX has passed by. I played a bunch of games, met with some people I know, and got to see some of the sights and sounds of Seattle. Thankfully this year I’m not recovering from some nasty post-convention flu, just sleeping a bit more.

Alas, unlike last year, when I went to the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary event — you can see that blog entry I made of it here — there wasn’t any big outside-of-PAX events that I was aware of.  What I did notice around the Seattle area was a flood of gaming-related entities. From seeing ads for games, to seeing retail stores show their slight understanding of video game culture. So I took a few pictures of them while I was around Seattle.

Most people who were walking to or from the convention center saw this one from the nearest Starbucks. I have to give credit to the sign-maker for making a Ms. Pac-Man reference.

I don’t drink coffee that much, so I didn’t go in and try it. It was probably alright, but when it’s from a Starbucks and there’s about 50 of them within walking distance, it kinda loses the appeal.

A quest… with Mario? I doubt they were referencing Paper Mario or Mario & Luigi

About a block or two down near Pine St had a Timbuk2 clothing store with this Super Mario Bros. reference. Chalk drawings of Mario and Bowser, plus something that resembles the castles of the old game. The other side, which I regrettably didn’t take a picture, had a Question Block on the other side, also talking about quests.

I like how they were trying to shoehorn in RPG references, but since they thought something like Final Fantasy would be too obscure, they went with Mario. Must’ve been a manager’s call. Gotta give the guys credit, even if they got confused which games they wanted to refer to.

Pac-Man here! Pac-Man there! Pac-Man’s EVERYWHERE.

Saw another games-related related thing at a bar a few blocks away from where a Karaoke event sponsored by Destructoid was happening. Surprise, it’s more Pac-Man! Since this was several blocks away from the main convention center, I’m surprised they even bothered to throw a video game reference in, not many people were gonna be heading up this way.

I actually prefer the Strife that’s an FPS, thank you very much.

Even by the Convention Center, video games were all over the place. The Daily Grill, the restaurant next door to the convention, had banners and ads for the MOBA game/DOTA clone Strife. PAX 2013 seemed to be the year of the MOBA as there were about a dozen different kinds of MOBAs being shown off. I bet most of these never took off, especially this one. I’m more a fan of the shooter that’s also called Strife, but that’s just me.

Update 7/15/2020: It turns out the MOBA Strife shut down in late 2018 with no announcement. Meanwhile, the classic FPS Strife eventually got an updated version and seems to be what Google searches lead you to now compared to the old MOBA. I wrote about the FPS Strife in early 2020, which you can check out here.

I also saw ads for Total War: Rome II and Project Diva F: Hatsune Miku on taxis and buses, but sadly I could not get good quality pictures of either. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a few other games-related things in the city to take advantage of PAX happening, but this is what I saw while I was out and about.

I like PAX, it’s a cool convention. It’s too bad it’s being partially ran by two guys who have constant foot-in-mouth syndrome. Hopefully we’ll start seeing other conventions show up in response, I want to make sure my money’s going towards people who aren’t complete dicks.


2020 Update:

This would end up being my final PAX to date. Since I don’t have a lot of money, traveling to Seattle was a rather costly endeavor for me, especially in the last few years I went.

In the years since, both Penny Arcade creators Mike “Gabe” Krahulik and Jerry “Tycho” Holkins would turn out to be massive jerks, with Krahulik saying he felt immense regret for backing down on making T-shirts about Dickwolves, which some people took umbrage to because the original comic was a thinly veiled rape joke.

I bet the convention is still alright in spite of the Penny Arcade involvement, but I honestly can’t say I really miss it. The process to register was rather nerve-wracking for me in the past, and I wasn’t really up for going through the stress-inducing process every year, combined with me having the lack of funds needed.

I wouldn’t mind going back to Seattle again someday, but probably would be for a smaller gaming event, or to just visit friends. Maybe visit Pink Gorilla again, or some of the other mom’n’pop game shops in Seattle.

Alternatively, I’d love to do the common Tourist Garbage and just see all the popular sights and sounds of the city. I feel that’s a necessity if you’re visiting a city. While I did that one day towards the end of one PAX, one day isn’t enough. I figure a week-long excursion of that would be more fun than being around hundreds of sweaty nerds who want to play Dishonored early for a whole weekend.