Server stalking

Most gamers nowadays have a ‘pile of shame’ – a stack of games purchased at impulse prices, waiting to be played. Lately, rather than simply picking a game that I’m in the mood to play, I’ve had to put a little bit of thought into what titles to tackle first.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine had some DLC in the box that had to be redeemed by March, so that was played before starting other games that have been in the pile for a lot longer. Halo Wars was also blasted through recently as I thought that soon people wouldn’t be playing it online, and thus I’d struggle to get some of the multi-player achievements.

You can imagine my surprise, then, to discover that night there were approximately 7,000 people still playing Halo Wars online. This lead me to revisit a few older games in my previously played pile to see if people are still playing them online. Behold the results:

Turok (2008)

I expected a few people to be playing online as last year Eurogamer ran an article on how a Turok fan was working on an unofficial Turok sequel, and it was mentioned that a small following of around 100 people still play. They even campaigned to have the servers switched back on after Disney shut them down. None of the Turok diehards were around when I tried finding a game though. After twenty minutes of searching, it was time to give up.

Shaun White Skateboarding (2010)

This is a game I played through last year and enjoyed a whole lot more than I thought I would, due to quite a smooth difficulty curve. Back then I struggled to find somebody playing online, and surprisingly that hasn’t changed. I had to stop tapping the ‘Y’ button to refresh available online games after twenty minutes or so in fear of repetitive strain injury.

Blur (2010)

Hurrah! As soon as logging on the top right hand of the screen proudly informed that 109 people were currently enjoying Blur’s superlative delights. Seven of those online were exploring the beginner’s driving school where only those with a low rank can partake. It makes me feel quite warm inside to know that people are out there still discovering Blur for the first time.

Forza 2 (2007)

I was thinking this would be a no-go zone, but I was pleasingly proved wrong. I instantly got into a race with two other players, and after leaving there I got straight into another race with a different player. Forza 2’s front end really was quite ugly, wasn’t it?

Perfect Dark Zero (2005)

I had to unseal my copy of Perfect Dark Zero just for the purposes of this article. Now that’s dedication to our readership. Sadly, after scanning both the Dark Ops and Deathmatch modes for available games I found nobody playing. The start up logo, which features Rare’s Spectrum Jetpack, helped to remind me that the often forgotten Jetpack Refuelled was lurking somewhere on my Xbox 360’s HDD, and after booting that up I found nothing but a soulless server.

WarTech: Senko no Ronde (2007)

An obscure release, but after playing similar mech shooter Cyber Troopers: Virtual-On Force recently and discovering a few Japanese diehards playing that I thought that might be the case here. Alas, it wasn’t. Perhaps it’s a game even too obscure for the Japanese.

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