ARTICLE: History of Gamespot’s System Wars board

Written by JPOBS:

So I decided to write up what i know of the history of systemwars. Everything here will be through either personal experience or what i have learned throughout my years of foruming.

I just thought I’d do this a my addition to the community (with the help of some memebers), so the young wippersnappers can know where they came from. Pretty much everything in here may be irrelevant to current systemwars but its always cool to know your past. On to the story…..

enjoy
Genesis

“Before System Wars” (2000)

Archive 1

Archive 2

Archive 3

“The birth of System Wars” (August 2001)

Archive 4

System Wars – new design (December 2001)

Archive 5

Archive 6

System Wars – Lithium (2002-2003)

Archive 7
When the Gamespot forums first stated, there were only General Game Discussion and Console specific forum. Unfortunately since these budding forum were during the start of the next generation (ps2, xbox, gc) console wars, these forum were overrun by rabid, preteen internet dorks known affectionately as Fanboys. Most of these fanboys were MS haters who were pissed that MS was entering the console business, so needless to say that it was the Xbox specific forum that was being attacked the most.

It was then that early forumer Alex Watchtower, submitted to GS admins the idea of a “War Room” forum that would channel the fanboy garbage into that and clean out the other forums. The admins agreed and thus “System Wars” was born.Systemwars today is a very different place from what it was years ago. Back then, the forums where know as Lithium. The creation of factions and thier naming took place rather quickly. the barnyard names we go by today have been around for years and i mean years. The term “sheep” was invented by jj cambell even before systemwars in the very early stages before the lithium days.

Lithium smiles:

One of the first MAJOR ownages in systemwars history was the flopping of Super Mario Sunshine. Hyped by the sheep as the successor to SM64 and easily above 9.0, SMS is one of the hardest flops to ever occur in systemwars, being that it fell way below expectations. Prior to the review of the game, sheep had massivly overhyped this game as a surefire GS AAA. After the review, the majority of sheep demanded that afterwards we must use gamerankings to determine if a game is a flop or not. This was the 1st ever mention of gamerankings in this forum.

In 2002/2003 rumors came out from various sources, Famitsu being one of them, IGN and Gaming-Age forums being another, that Nintendo was going to announce something big. No, scratch that, it was going to be HUGE, and it would rock the gaming world with it’s hugeness.

What passed as “insider info” most likely cooked up by overactive imaginations, went like wildfire across the web. For months, the rumors built up, Sheep went everywhere with what it could be:

  • Nintendo buying out Capcom
  • Nintendo buying out Sega
  • A new full 3D color VR headset (think Virtual Boy but um… better?)
  • Nintendo had found a loophole in Sony’s PlayStation patents (remember that the PS came out of a failed relationship between the two companies) and was going to take advantage of it’s rights to the PS/PS2 and aquire all of the profits Sony had made from the PlayStation products.
  • Still under a forgotten contract to Nintendo for a few games, Nintendo was going to force Rare (whom MS bought from Nintendo) to make games for the GameCube and in essence get Rare games made for free because now MS and not Nintendo signs Rare’s paychecks.

They were surely others, but I forgot them or won’t list them here. In reality, despite Nintendo’s repeated assertions that there was no “Megaton” the Sheep maintained that it was a secret and Ninty was just playing coy, so they ran with it and flooded the forums saying “wait for the Megaton” “things will be different when the Megaton hits ” and “Nintendo will change gaming forever with the Megaton announcement!!!”

The announcement was to come before the end of 2002, and it came and went, but the sheep persisted saying they’ll reveal it in January…when that didn’t happen, then March… and when that didn’t happen… E3 for sure.

What was it? Absolutely, positively… nothing. The only “Megaton” that came was the profound way Nintendo fans got ridiculed for months about “TEH MEGATONNNNE!!!!!

As it turns out, the Megaton sprung from a comment in V-Jump saying a big announcement was coming, and as it turned out it was simply the announcement of a V-Jump based game for the GameCube, which to fans of V-Jump (A Japanese magazine) would have been pretty big… for the rest of the world… not so much. But by the time it was announced, the faithful Ninty fans had hyped it to high heaven and overlooked the game because it wasn’t “Megaton” enough.

During the GC and Xbox launches, there were notable minority fanboys for eack system that would list a complete title lists and claim that every single game would be great. The flop came about because of this. One of the biggest early flops was Bruce Lee for the Xbox. Another would be Blinx for the Xbox. It seemed to escalate further to where only the Xbox was the system that had flops

The whole “FLOP” thing was started by Ramza and Evil Taru, the most famous Cows in this forum from 2002-2004. The whole thing started because Cows used to make fun of XBOX games and their low scores, so then “FLOP!” was used over and over and over for more than just XBOX games as it became a SW “thing”,

Notable users at the time: RyanTheGod, Ramza, Gcousin, Lawndart, iceradon, King Frizzy, Whipitigoo, Ghostz, Spartan446, Cityboy, EvilTaru amoung many others.

All of them (except maybe frizzy) have left the forums for one reason or another.

The Golden Age

Circa 2003-2004 is considered by many the golden age of gamespot foruming. Why? well, simply because it was a time when the forum had many more members and many great and significant events happened. Most of the Lithium posters were a part of the glden age as well. The forums themselves had also undergone a makeover into the old blue skin (a screenshot is posted furtherdown). And even though it had a lot of faces, everyone knew everyone else, and there were clearly defined lines between the factions. You were either sheep, lemming, cow, or hermits. PERIOD. Notable forumers from this time for each faction (sorry if the lists seem unbalanced, those are the names i remember, its been like 4 years now):

cows: azazela, Foxhound, dillinger, dz1gns, avrilkilla, fact0r, voidler, cobragt

sheep: jmar57, cookster, cupojoe, WheresKinggiAt, PusherT, Ps2_casual, cubeaholic

lemmings: KingJago, Kinggi, JakeT, avalanche04, hold_th3_pickle

hermits: lol (you’ll see why in a minute )

Then there were others like MonkeysAndRobots, MyLifeSucksABit, Duke Raoul and other members of the “Magnificent 7”. A group of seven posters (led by M&R i believe) who were notorious spammers, yet, they bought ample laughs and good times to the forum. One of the biggest events in forum history is the “I Need a Hacker” thread. As the story goes, a forumite got extremely pissed off at monkeysandrobots, and wanted to hack his account. the following occured:

When discovered, this became one of the most famous/infamous events to EVER happen. it was incredibly funny to the community and especially supporters of M&R.

Anyway, moving on, pre-winter 2004, users had the ability to change their usernames at will. this added to the dynamic in systemwars. The community placed bets on reviews (a tradition which has died off entirely today). When a review would drop, supporters and nay-sayers would place name change bets with one another. Whoever lost had to change thier usernames to a predetermined name for a predetermined time. In this way, there was no way to duck ownage, when you got owned, everyone knew of it. More specific and amazing ownages occurred at the releases of doom 3 and fable.

Jago single handedly owned the entire hermit faction. With the release of Doom 3 the hermits where hyping (i believe) 9.5+ Goty, and greatest FPS ever. Yes. That was the hype behind Doom 3. Feeding off its predecessors success. Naturally, who would be foolish enough to say otherwise? I’ll tell you who, a sole forumite named Jago placed an epic bet with the hermits, that should Doom 3 flop (the barebones definition of a flop at the time is anything below 9, regardless of hype), they would leave SW forever, if it scored over 9, he would leave forever. Many cocky hermits took the bet, thread about Doom 3 went on for hundreds of posts, with jago fighting nearly a one man war. Well, we all know how that turned out. The hermits were severely owned. Some left out of shame i would assume, others had to keep to the bet. Thats why there are hardly any hermits on sw as far as i can tell. Afterward, Jago changed his name to “KingJago” to show his dominance.

Another huge ownage was the Fable review. Hyped by the lemmings as the greatest rpg ever, fable was HUGE at the time. A user named Kinggi was in the forefront of the hype. When it flopped, Kinggi was the laughing stock of the systemwars forum, he left systemwars because he was constantly flamed about the review. After he left a user (i cant remember his original name) changed his username to WheresKinggiAt. This was naturally hilarious.

The Official Flop Judicial committee. I can’t remember who started it or who was involved. The idea was to stop every single game from being called a flop by fanboys by setting up a standard a flop must meet. They used scores vs the amount of hype vs expectations. So a game that had very little hype and wasn’t a big hit could score a 7 and not be considered a flop. Whereas games that got tons of hype and people expected to be AAA would be considered a flop if they didn’t get a 9 or higher.

The OFJC didn’t last long as the number of fanboys greatly outnumbered them and they kept calling every game a flop anyway. Now the term flop refers to ANY game, no matter how much hype, that scores less than 9. Games like Halo 3 that have high expectations have to score pretty much perfect or else they too get called a flop.

Another thing which made this the golden age was that the mods actively participated in the forum. How often do you see casey anymore in general threads? hardly ever. In those days, he and JakeT (i still dont know what happened to him, he was the coolest mod ever) posted among us like regular forumers. They werent really held to any higher standard than anyone else. Both were lemmings, both got owned when lemmings got owned.

Furthermore, and this may seem like hypocrisy considering my last paragraph, sw was like an all out brawl fest compared to today. Flaming was far more tolerated. and the mods let alot of it slide. It made for some really fun times.

Also memorable was the inclusion of “gangs” to the factions. Each faction made minor factions so to speak, who almost exclusively fought one another. Sheep were the first, a core group of them became the Nmafia. then cows and lemmings followed suit, forming the PSBatallion and XboxPirates respectively. This mini war was pretty fun, and whenever a member of one gang made a thread, it would get ripped to pieces by the other two’s spam. good times. good times.

Another thing was Azazela’ infamous 2004 hype list. it was a list of ps2 for 2004 including images, which he copied into like EVERY THREAD. damn that was annoying. Stuff like MGS3, Sly cooper 2, Ratchet and clank 3, Ace combat 5 etc. Naturally, this list was adored by cows and despised by sheep and lemmings. It was extremely long and stretched out the page for what seemed like forever. The funny thing was that, every single one of those games flopped

The infamous “LMAO LONDON,FRANCE LMAO” one of the most famous quotes happened during this time. Avalanche04 made a thread hyping Forza’s (or was it pgr’s?) graphics, and he described the pic with something along the lines of “beautiful locals such a london,france”…..now…geographically, london is NOT located in france So everyone completely ignored the screens but rather flamed him for his ignorance. and “lmao london,france lmao” became a huge fad.

The bannings began when gamespot editor Bethany found a thread in SW about religion and ethnics, it wasn’t a pretty thread (racism etc.), back in those days it was ok to post off topic threads however after that thread bettany went on a rampage and started imposing strict rules such as no OT and flaming etc. All the veterans opposed her and started spamming thus getting perma banned.

At various points between 02-04, sw underwent a series of divisions. First, banned gamespot forumites broke off from gamespot to form systemwars.com, a place where the only rule was that there were no rules. sw.com started as little more than a place where banned members planned gamespot raids. It became sort of a graveyard for gamespot’s sw, where people would turn to see familiar faces and still bash consoles. Eventually, sw.com grew from gamespot posters to include new comers to the community, and now has a thriving community of its own.

Secondly, Spartan446 created a user created board known as SW2. This was because a lot of the memebers were upset with the “no off topic threads” rule in sw. Many of the really old school sw posters left sw for the new SW2 while sw still attracted many new comers, most of whom completely oblivious to SW2’s very existence. The relationship worked out well.

Then finally, the last noteable split was the creaton of “serious wars” (the very name makes me laugh) by dz1gns. alot of the circa 03-04 members shifted to this board. but Inferna246 created an offtopic board, which became more popular, and many of the 03-04 forumites sorta merged with this other ucb board, and it eventually became known The Lounge, a mix of off topic and sw.

The Great Depression: Enter the Manticore

After the numerous splits, (and many bannings) the circa pre-2005 had by that time either completely left the original systemwars or gamespot entirely. In anyones eyes who have been there the whole time, they’ll tell you sw today is a shell of its former self. New rules were put in place to limit spamming and flaming. The community was still VERY lively, but not with the same faces. By summer 05, there was almost no trace of the old sw left.

At some point in the second half of 05 there was a thread proposing the naming of multi console owners. This will seem outrageous to you lot, but there was hardly any representatives of multiple consoles at the time. everyone pretty much chose a console to represent and participated in the mud slinging. The name manticore was proposed because it consisted of a lions body with eagle wings and scorpions tail. the perfect combo.After that, more rules were put in place, and things changed.

In october 05, gamespot underwent another forum change to the one you see today. The forums were down for like a week and a half, and after they came up, they were EXTREMELY buggy. this is know as the F5 era because you had to refreash like literally 12 times to see a single page

also in late 2005 (or early 06) the SW2 forum completely broke off from gamespot. They got tired of their members being banned for numerous reasons and felt it was hurting thier community. They created systemwars2.com so they could govern themselves as they pleased without gamespot down thier backs. Almost everyone from pre 2005 can be found at either sw.com or sw2.com.

The definition of flop changed slightly from “anything below 9” to “only if hyped above 9 and falls short”. The manticores became the peacebringers so to speak, because now, not every thread was shot down entirely, you now had some positive and optimistic posts sprinkled in. It took a while, but more and more “manticores” rose up and know i guess you could say they are an official faction.

June 25th 2007: Gamespot changes its review system from .1 to .5 incraments. SW explodes with a mix of loathing and admiration.

Well, names and faces come and go, and the forum lives on. Recently we’ve had things like E3 06 and TP’s flop as major events in sw history. I just wanted to recount the events which brought us here for you guys.

*Acknowledgements:*

gridlok
yellow_rose
JakeT

ZIMdoom
Norule04
DXGreat1_HGL

Thanks to everyone who helped with the thread by supply note worthy information. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

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