Prior to last week's annual reunion, I hadn't played SOCOM 2 in years, let alone at a ten man LAN. The most people I've ever played SOCOM with in the same room was ages ago when Mr. Yellow, Orange, Green, and myself used to hook up our TV's and PS2's at each others homes for clan wars.
Our goal this year was to connect our ten man LAN to XLINK and play SOCOM online with old friends. Unfortunately, the LAN to XLINK connect eluded us. Hats off to Mr. Cobalt, Dande, Mystic, and Grey, who troubleshot their hearts out. In the end, it was time to play.
Once we drew teams and fired up our PS2's to battle, nothing else mattered. From the moment the first lobby greened up to the last, we transported back to that place of tactical adrenaline, nail biting gun fights, sarcastic humor, clutch victories, high-fives, and endless gameplay. It was amazing to me how much fun SOCOM 2 still is all these years later.
Reliving the game that birthed us 12 years ago and playing through all of those timeless maps and strategies in person with clan members goes down as my greatest gaming experience of all-time. The flood of nostalgia and forgotten memories was something like magic. I think we averaged 5 hours of sleep between our marathon gaming sessions.
During the reunion we also held Dan's graduation ceremony. He chose the color, Dandelion, or "Mr. Dande," representative of "Dan the Lion." Fitting. We also surprised Mr. Mystic with a promotion to Lt. and welcomed him to Commissioned rank. He never saw it coming.
Next year, we're planning a week-long mega surprise for the community. Details shall be kept secret until all invitees arrive at our designated bullpen and travel together to the reveal. As soon as we arrive at our LAN destination, I suspect the fellas are going to go bananas. Look for our social media profiles to explode. Oh, and this time, we'll definitely be connected to XLINK.
We would like to take a moment to acknowledge those in The Division IGR and our Brothers in Arms who have and continue to support the SOCOM gaming community wherever and whenever possible.
THE DIVISION IGR
Justin Bastian (AKA, Mr. Blue), is co-founder of both The Division IGR and SOF Studios. In 2011 and after playing the SOCOM 4 private beta (writing on the wall), Mr. Blue dedicated himself to his vision of creating a game development studio to produce a SOCOM spiritual successor to save the SOCOM gaming community. Raising venture capital, producing both a record setting Kickstarter campaign and the fastest voted-up STEAM Greenlight campaign at the time, Mr. Blue lead daily startup production, recruited organized gaming communities (Brothers in Arms below), special operations veterans such as Tom, and the original Creative Director of the SOCOM games franchise David Sears to his mission at SOF Studios.
Dan Moenkhaus (AKA, Mr.Dande) was an original SOF Studios startup team member. Dan would invest hundreds of man-hours, pro bono, to develop SOF Studios website from concept, assist Mr. Blue in the development of venture due diligence, develop the H-Hour gaming community, directed a record setting 90-day Kickstarter campaign, and managed all campaign logistics.
Brady Rozens (AKA, Mr. Cobalt) was SOF Studios IT Consultant and Systems Engineer. Mr. Cobalt would invest hundreds of man-hours, pro bono, creating SOF Studios Perforce game development server, managing all SOF Studios front-end and back-end servers, facilitating critical troubleshooting support, and spearheading the SOF Studios international marketing initiative noted below. Saving H-Hour from total oblivion, Brady also once recovered the game prototype from accidental Dev. deletion.
Matthew Mondero (AKA, Mr. Silver) is a "Sergeant Major" Kickstarter backer and life-long SOCOM community member. Mr. Silver would invest hundreds of man-hours, pro bono, into H-Hour community support, developing H-Hour-based relations with other gaming communities, and marketing H-Hour.
Troy Mills (AKA, Mr. Mystic) is a Kickstarter backer and life-long SOCOM community member. Mr. Mystic's submission to SOF Studios map naming contest was selected by David Sears and "SISMIS" became the title of H-Hour's first map. Mr. Mystic is also an "H-Hour Alpha Team" playtester and would invest hundred of hours, pro bono, into H-Hour community support.
Daniel Christensen (AKA, Mr. Grey) is an "H-Hour Alpha Team" playtester and life-long SOCOM community member. Mr. Grey would invest hundreds of man-hours, pro bono, into H-Hour community support and forum moderation.
OUR BROTHERS IN ARMS
TheRealSOCOM.com: Founded in 2008, TheRealSOCOM.com was created by a passionate SOCOMer committed to keeping the community connected and communicating. Five years forward and our friends at TRS have developed their .com into the world's largest SOCOM fansite. From epic articles, to decade-old forum personalities, to "Friday Night Fights," to leading a SOCOM 2 remake initiative straight to the top of the Playstation community polls, TRS is a pioneer from the SOCOM community.
SUKMYTURBAN: Publishing his first video in 2009, SUKMYTURBAN quickly emerged as the SOCOM community's go-to YouTube personality. With a fist full of passion, SUKMYTURBAN set out to confront the slow demise of the SOCOM series, to challenge publishers and developers, and to echo the plight of the SOCOM community. SUKMYTURBAN would go on to generate over 3.2 million views and counting, more than thirteen thousand subscribers, and countless debates throughout the community. SUKMYTURBAN is a pioneer from the SOCOM community.
Urgent Fury: Founded in 2003, Urgent Fury was created by two SOCOMers and 10 clans to honor the competitive credo, "Win with Honor, Lose with Dignity." Over a decade later, our friends at UrgentFury have developed a long-standing, scenario based tournament community responsible for producing "Commander Claymore Fury" and years of battle memories. UrgentFury is a pioneer from the SOCOM community.
Sea Snipers: Established in October 2002, Sea Snipers was originally founded as a SOCOM clan. Shortly thereafter, the Sea Snipers seized an opportunity to create tactical tools for SOCOMers. There wasn't a competitive SOCOM clan alive who had not seen a SeaSnipers generated map. Today, our friends at Sea Snipers are one of the games industry's most professional clans. Having authored and illustrated 9 official strategy guides with Brady Games and Piggyback Interactive, the Sea Snipers are a pioneer from the SOCOM community.
HappyThumbsGaming: Founded in 2011, HTG was created by two SOCOMers who joined forces to make error free, HD walk through videos that would help other players unlock the full experience of their games. Over one thousand videos later and the HTG community is booming. Our friends at HappyThumbsGaming are pioneers from the SOCOM community.
FraggedNation: Founded in 2002, FraggedNation was created by a SOCOMer looking to socialize and compete with like-minded players. Twelve years forward and our friends at FraggedNation are industry leaders who facilitate a community where the gamers voice is heard. No matter who they are, where the play, or what they want to accomplish. Today, FraggedNation is one of the largest tournament communities in gaming and a pioneer from the SOCOM community.
A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Supported by Mr. Blue and led by Division IGR members, Mr. Cobalt and Mr. Emerald, the below links reflect the Division IGR's international marketing outcomes for SOF Studios Kickstarter campaign, "H-Hour: World's Elite."
POST KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN COVERAGE PRODUCED
30-DAY KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN COVERAGE PRODUCED
There is a powerful dynamic in our clan that I would like to touch on. I point no fingers and shake no fists as I reflect on past experiences. I would simply like to share some epic truths about our decade-old gaming community.
Together, a small group of hometown friends discovered a play they had never seen before. Just as the Norse, the Scotts, and Medieval Kingdoms, they discovered clan, families, and friends, with their own world for battle and their own houses for respite, synonymously. This online gaming experience indirectly revealed a more complex and more fulfilling level of engagement than any before it. Realizing this experience must be used to its greatest potential, they developed forward.
Forged through vision, the Division IGR was established in 2003 with one goal, to find like minded gamers and revolutionize the shooter clan experience. Our co-founders, Justin, Matt, Russ and Chris, created a community, and within this, a competitive organization that would dominate the clan war servers. There wasn't an active gamer in our virtual nation that had not heard of the warring crayolas or the stories of their virtue. A producer of influence within the SOCOM community, the Division IGR represented respect, honor, dedication, brotherhood, and teamwork. Always enforcing the warrior mentality. The "world" as we knew it had heroes.
However, the true virtue of a hero cannot be expressed without an enemy or opposing force. The enemy in this story taking many forms, such as the disrespectful gamers yakking on the mic, the nemesis clans fighting to destroy reputations and even brethren turning coat. These enemies were negative forces, seeing only the battleground and not the bonds within it. These gamers saw only the winning and not the growth through struggle, the lure of good times and not the brotherhood required to endure hard times. They saw only the fun in playing with active gamers and not the fun given through being the best in a bad world. Those that could not overcome adversity fell.
But truly the conflicts in every story are trials. Obstacles given to the protagonists to reveal their true strength. Should the protagonist fail to overcome the obstacle, then the story loses its right to be written. Always, the Division IGR has emerged victorious from these trials, fluctuating in numbers but ever-surviving, adapting to each new game and age, but never wavering from its values or mission.
Today, we represent a living story, a true testament to the SOCOM experience and uniquely, the Independent Gaming Republic. Just as the Division IGR is a living story, our members are living characters, representing the virtuous gamer in an unruly and at times, self-serving world. Trash-talking, backstabbing, clan hopping, disrespectful, dishonest, disloyal, self-centered, and negative are characteristics that no protagonist in our story have.
As it has always been, the Division IGR continues to move forward in pursuit of its guiding vision. We say, when existing gamers become inactive, the active ones must find others to develop. If we start losing, leaders must must find ways to start winning. Whatever the problems, we must work together to fix them. Triumph over obstacles is what makes the characters in our living story great, never the victories themselves.
Use these truths in gaming, use these truths in life!
Daniel Christensen (AKA, Mr. Grey)
General of the Division IGR
Co-founder of the Independent Gaming Republic