Shout-out to the old Outlaws gang

Only my brother and cousin will likely have any remote interest in this post, but that's ok. (Edit: Or maybe not as a couple former players have now commented.)

As I was going through some of the drawers around my computer desk I stumbled across the original install CDs of one of my favorite old games of all time, Outlaws. It brought back a flood of fond, personal memories from the very early years of the online era.

It was a time when the World Wide Web was still in its infancy. Companies like CompuServe, AOL, Yahoo, Infoseek and Lycos ruled the Internet. High-speed connections were a luxury only major universities and corporations had. Dial-up ruled supreme. In fact, one of my central memories surrounding Outlaws was constantly playing tag with my university's SLIP server trying to get just the right dial-up connection. For normal web browsing, just about any connection would do. But if I wanted to play Outlaws, there were only two connections that seemed to provide stable play - 26,400bps or 42,600bps. That's worthless information I know, but it's funny how those numbers are still ingrained in my head years after the fact. ;)

As for Outlaws itself . . . Outlaws was a western-based, first-person-shooter style game released in 1997. While I've never been an avid fan of westerns (although I do love the Sergio Leone trilogy) this game just caught my eye back when I was looking for something to play on my new computer.

As a single player game, Outlaws was enjoyable, but nothing remarkable. Actually I take that back. There was one aspect to the game which was absolutely amazing - the musical score (listening to it as I type this actually.) The soundtrack was original, but instantly recognizable for its inspiration from Ennio Morricone's great spaghetti western scores. The music won several awards and helped create a much more immersive atmosphere for a game was otherwise fairly standard fare with a graphics engine that was already quite dated at the time of its release.

Where Outlaws made its most lasting impression on me personally was in the realm of online multiplayer. I had already played online games before (Quake was all the rage and Quake II was released shortly after Outlaws) but those ventures into the online world had been excursions into chaos. Unless you were in the inner-circle of a clan or a regular on a specific server, nobody knew anybody. As a result, the personal interactions were less than stellar examples of a civilized world. The Outlaws online community was the anti-thesis of Quake II due to its much smaller community size. Just like a small town, everybody seemed to know one another. Most players usually congregated in the MSN Gaming Zone where they would spend nearly as much time chatting as they would playing.

I never rose above a mid-tier player, but was still a regular on the Zone for many years. During that time I formed a fairly large circle of 'online friends' - people I'd never met but knew casually through regular interactions over the course of many months/years. Online friends are a common occurrence these days (the whole Web 2.0 bubble is built on them), but it was still a novelty back then so that's why the impression was so potent at the time.

Still, the foundation of our interaction was based on Outlaws. And over time that foundation started to erode as fewer and fewer people played the game. For myself, married life and the 'real world' quickly ate into the free time I once had in abundance back in college. Like most players, I gradually stopped playing. Something would occasionally remind me of Outlaws and I mighty quickly visit one of the old news sites or do a quick search on some of my old Zone friends.

LJP_Blackthorn (or CSB_El_Nino and later WAC_Blackyolero)
Lil_Senorita (later Lil_Senorita_DR)
LJP_Picante (or just plain old _Picante)
GA_Reaper
OGB_Hooter
OGB_Hoss
WAW_Beignet
Outlaw_DR
many others that I can't specifically remember off the top of my head

And that's part of the reason I'm writing this post. I'm hoping that if some of the people listed above ever start reminiscing like I did that they might stumble across this post and maybe just shoot me a quick comment or email to let me know how they're doing. If this were a reunion, my name tag would say "Hi, I'm Pirate_forty."

10 comments Links to this post

Adam said...

Oh my......Is it weird that I feel really proud to have been a part of the infancy of the online multiplayer community?

I miss that game so freakin much. I wish I could run it on my apple.

Do you remember what my screenname was, I can't remember it. It may have been snot-rocket but I'm not sure.

Dynamite stunts and Turning the gravity off. Classic.

KeithB said...

You and Steven went under a myriad of names I won't repeat here. I just tried to pretend I didn't know who you were most of the time. ;)

The only name I can remember was SRV_Crossfire.

Anonymous said...

HeeHee. Now THERE'S a blast from the past!

Howdy, Pirate. Blacky here!

Yeah, those were the days. I remember well some of the duels we had at Mud, Sanc etc, mixing it with Thiggy, Picante and the CBOs!

Just stumbled across this post in a Google search for old-time's sake. Good to see you keeping the old Zone flame alive, mate. Maybe we should re-install OL and dance again one of these days :)

Peace!
LJP_Blackthorn

KeithB said...

I figured it might be months/years before I got a response to this. But I'm glad to see this post already accomplished what I intended.

Great to hear from you Blacky! I hope's all well.

Yeah I probably ought to create a small partition and install Windows 98 on it just so I can play Outlaws again. The only problem is, I have no idea where the handful of people who still play go anymore. I stopped playing before it happened, but I know Outlaws was eventually shut out of the Zone several years ago because so few people were playing it. It's a shame, but I guess all good things must eventually pass. Still, those times obviously created some great memories and I'm glad you stumbled across my post when reminiscing as well. Take care and feel free to stay in touch.

Anonymous said...

Hello All

I have to agree this post brought back some memories. A friend and myself would sure love to get this game going again. If anyone of you have the ability to host or any ideas how we could get together let me know. I believe this would be a blast. You can email me at okie_bama@yahoo.com

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hey Pirate!

Outlaw_DR here. I did like Blacky, and was just searching for Outlaws stuff for old times sake. Of course, as usual, I'm about a year and half late :)

Every once in a while, I still hear from some of the players from back then. Monk, Bambam, Joe_Kidd, Captain_Picky, Youngun, etc.

btw, a friend of mine gave me about 6 win98 computers (all with one problem or the other) to piece together a computer. He even threw in a voodoo card! Oh well, as usual, I've been procrastinating. Maybe I'll get one put together, eventually, and check on Warzone and see if anyone's still playing.

Later!

Outlaw

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ricco21 said...

Worth keeping an eye on http://xlengine.com, as Outlaws is one of several games currently being re-worked to run on the XL Engine. Early level screenshots look good, and Win 7 compatibility is promised with Mac OS X to follow.

Tracy Christman said...

Pirate!!! I miss you!!!!!
(and Blacky misses you too) Come to the e-warzone.com (although it has been down for a week and we have taken residence in Voobly.com. Come shoot us!!! :)
Lil_Senorita aka Senny

Tracy Christman said...

Senny here!
Well, I have looked for you on Facebook and thought I may have found you but never got a response back. I hope all is well with you. I don't know if you ever check this out anymore but we have a FB group page for alot of old Outlaws players called 'Outlaws Players Lucas Arts' We still play this silly game believe it or not! You can get an updated version of Outlaws from GOG.com that will run on win 10 machines now. We don't really have a place to play it but we play IP games and have reunions to get people together to play. I hope you find this and check it out. Would love to get some shots in at ya again :)
Lil_Senorita_DR

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