Join Date: Jul 2002
Airsoft - Then and Now
A little (or not so little) thought on my view of airsoft over the years...
I think my love for airsoft evolved out of countless hours of gaming in Rainbow Six with my friends. I became aware of airsoft in the late 90's but never really thought twice about it. Around early 2000, my friends and I got into looking at airsoft a bit more, mainly pictures and reviews from Redwolf Airsoft. We have heard rumors of airsoft in Canada and that a local store in the GTA (Pacific Mall) was selling airsoft guns. But then we also heard the rumor that it was banned so they were forced to close down. Oh, unhappy days as our dreams of owning airsoft MP5's became out of reach. So we looked to the next best thing - paintball. We dressed ourselves up in CQB outfits and mostly played out of Sgt. Splatters. I had even used some TM parts to convert my Tippmann Pro/Carbine to look more like an M4. Some old timers from the Tippmann forums might still remember my username.
I can't really remember how I got back into looking at airsoft - but I believe it started when some of the old ASC guys raided a Canadian paintball forum poking fun at paintballers (speedball in general). One of the links posted took me back to ASC (the black and red version). I prodded around and found out that airsoft was still very much alive in Canada, though very much underground. But I was excited, as that meant I would finally be able to get an airsoft gun! It just so happened xTu-Stan (of Planet airsoft) was doing a pre-order sale of Classic Army stuff - sweet, metal bodies! After a few e-mails back and forth with Stan (who was very helpful in answering my total n00bie questions), my friends and I pre-ordered our CA guns.
Mid-summer of 2002, while we were still waiting for our AEGs, one of my friends who worked at customs knew a guy who played airsoft. He invited us out to a game at the old Wasaga field - unfortunately our pre-ordered AEG's hadn't arrived yet - but we went anyway, decked out in our CQB gear.
When we got to the field, our jaws dropped at the sight of all the other airsofters. They all looked so hardcore, woodland camo, face paint, ghillie suits, body armour, etc. Honestly, we felt pretty intimidated by all that 1337ness. *lol* It was during that game where I first met one of the airsoft figureheads, he was hosting the Wasaga game and went by the username of Meta (although I didn't realize who he was till much later). He introduced himself as Sean and I told him my name. We talked for about a minute before he turned and started with the game briefing to everyone.
I didn't play much that day, since I was only sharing one AEG with my friends borrowed from another player. But being out there and getting a feel for airsoft was exhilarating enough for me. I remember asking my friend the biggest n00b airsoft question when he first got hit, "Did it hurt? What did it feel like?" Since we were coming from playing paintball, he said he barely felt the hit. And it wasn't long after till I got to experience a hit firsthand - I remember thinking, "Wow, this is great, no mess!" *lol*
I received my AEG's about two weeks after that first game. Probably the happiest day of my life (thus far) - but n00bishly, I mostly chairsofted at home for the remainder of 2002 save for a couple indoor games hosted by SD-Unit.
The Airsoft n00b Camp of 2003 (at Flag Raiders) really helped kicked things off for me. Though it was held in February, full of snow, I simply had to go. The turn out was quite large and I got to meet some more airsofters in person. Although I can only remember two, Starlight and HoJo. The most notable event of that day was when my friend took one shot at HoJo, it bounced off his goggles and hit another guy in the head.
Games didn't really kick in till the summer of 2003, and I was there at just about every game. I had a blast meeting a lot of great players (and friends) such as Freedom Fighter, Quaestor, Nortus, Ice-Man (Steve), Tomolok, Gump, Tharkad, Malinak, Tru, etc. There are just too many to list. The first time I met Tru was like meeting the god of airsoft ... but I guess that's another story all together. :grin:
2003 was probably the best year of all my time in airsoft, perhaps because it was my first "full year" of getting into airsoft; but many players that were there around the time will probably agree with me when I say it felt different than today's airsoft. There was a real sense of currahee which I find lacking this past year or two. Perhaps it's how fast this hobby of ours have grown. With the influx of new players being introduced to airsoft, people come and people go - it feels like a revolving door with only a handful of "regulars".
It's great to see the regulars whenever I go out to games, and I think there's a real mutual respect for each other that grow as you play together more. But with many of the new players coming and going, it becomes hard to keep track and you lose out on some of that social aspect. A few years back, there was a real mainstay of regulars that you'd see every week, and I can tell you, there were a lot more smiling faces on the field. I find there are more and more arguments on and off the field, often with newer players. Arguments over the mercy rules, for example, it seems like a more common fire starter on the field lately. People refusing to accept mercies, or sometimes they argue over the technicalities of distance. Argument ensues - both party gets off the field with a sour taste in their mouths. I have to wonder, why is that? Are players now more focused on winning? Getting the "kills"? What ever happened to having fun? Laughing at the situation, shaking hands and walking off the field with a smile? Something that happens quite commonly not that long ago.
And aside from some of the Chicken Slaughter events, what happened to all the social meets that we used to have? This seems fairly lacking in recent years.
I feel that a part of all this is also the fact we're losing (or lost) many of the veteran players, or that they have pretty much secluded themselves away from the n00bs, myself included. I find my self socialising with new players less and less - not that I socialised much in the first place. =P I leave that to [DI]DeathSniper - which most of you all know (or should know by now). *lol*
Scarecrow brought up the suggestion of the "mudroom", which many of us thought was a great idea. I think it's about time to bring back some of the social aspects and have the more experienced players help out the new guys starting in on this hobby. Personally, I'm looking forward to have another "n00b camp" game put together - perhaps for the 2007 season.
No doubt with recent events in the media and on this board, there created some tension amongst the cliques. A few years back, it really didn't feel this way - it felt as if we were one big happy group here on ASC - at least on the local level. I wonder if sometime in the near future we can get past some of these differences and band together here on ASC or at least the Ontario players (since a big chunk of ASC members are in Ontario).
I often find myself pondering, "what's changed" over the years? Perhaps some of the other senior members of this community can share in on some of their thoughts. There's a general decline in respect and "honour" on the field (and on the forums) for other players. Fire discipline also seems to be declining as I've witnessed countless occurances of shoot first, ask later.
What's airsoft? To me, it's not just the military role-playing, but it's also about the guy next to you when you're out on the field. It's also about honour, respect, friendship and fun. There are many players I've met over the years who I'd gladly call my friends - even if we only see and talk to each other once a week or two.
When people asked me before why am I so into airsoft, this was the reason I tell them. When people ask me why am I so into airsoft now, I find it harder to be able to say the same thing.
Perhaps, something we should all think about next time we head out to the field...
(pardon the fragmentation in thoughts...too much things going on in my head. *lol*)
My ASC UserID is 666. Oh, great...