The Syphon Filter League 2016-2017
Written by TruKuu.
The year was 2016-ish, and the world was enduring the worst possible scenario for humanity: Syphon Filter had fallen off the face of the Earth. Barring myself and a small NetPlay community in Russia, Syphon Filter seemed to have never existed, like a strange, bullet-riddled dream. The franchise had laid dormant for the better part of a decade, and the “famous”, nostalgic entries that graced Sony’s original console were almost ready to buy their own cigarettes. I was still a fanatic, however. I scoured and pillaged the desert (internet) for everything classic Syphon Filter I could. That Japanese Geocities site where most of the discussion is about how members can’t obtain a copy of the game from their local shops? I read the whole message board. That satirical “Syphon Filter 2 Turbo” review? Yeah, I’ve seen that, too. (The toilet item looks kinda crappy!) I even took it upon myself to read every entry for Syphon Filter on fanfiction.net. (Eat your heart out, Ian Fleming!)
I Still Believed in Gabe Logan.
As such, I was very invested into what little of a community existed for the Action-Espionage franchise. It wasn’t exactly difficult to keep up to date, as the community was (and still is) quite inactive. There was a player that piqued my interest, Ninjas11. Mr.Ninjas was (and seems to still be) a Russian Syphon Filter 2 NetPlayer and Tournament Organizer. Sadly his videos typically contained audio glitches, music replacements, and an unsatisfying amount of footage cuts. In spite of this, the footage contained what I craved: Mono on Mono, seasoned Syphon Filter 2 throw downs, and I will always respect his hustle to bring the community together. Often, I envisioned a world where I successfully brought together a scene for Eidetic's underrated 3rd-Person Shooters, and inevitably it became my goal to develop a player base for Syphon Filter 2 despite all odds. The game’s obscurity was wearing full-armor, I couldn’t hit it, and yes, that’s bad.
Enter Community College. Immediately upon being enrolled at NEMCC (Northeast Mississippi Communty College) I began chasing the important and exquisite tastes of college academics. Of course this meant I was considering creating and heading an activity club for Video Games. Lo and behold, such a club was already being formed! Unfortunately, the sailing wasn't too smooth, and the club would almost instantly devolve into the stereotypes/cliques I've come to know all too well.
The dude that brings a huge TV just to play Call of Duty by himself? Check!
The loud group that plays Cards Against Humanity and steals all the chairs? OH YEAH!
The Smash Bros/Mario Kart group? Well, duh.
The fella with the CRT & Retro Consoles attempting (yet failing) to get players? Hold on, that was me.
Of course like most college gaming clubs of this nature, the meetings would cease after roughly three weeks. The diamond in the rough was a player "Koozbane" and I began talking to at the meetings. This was the “Unholy Grenadier”, better known on DaBargainBin's YouTube channel as “Black Satan”.
Some time passed after the aforementioned group silently Ole Yeller'd itself in NEMCC's back yard. Fortune would eventually place me into a class with "Satan" and his close friend “Toxic”. Due to the lax nature of the class, we were able to communicate throughout its duration. Sharing an extended amount of time communicating with me will inevitably lead to discussing Syphon Filter. It’s inevitable.
“Have you played Syphon Filter?” “Bro, I think you would love Syphon Filter!” “What’s your favorite shooting game? Mine’s Syphon Filter! What? You haven’t heard of it?” - TruKuu
Usually my banter and suggestions lead nowhere, but this time was special. Suddenly, we had decided on a weekly where we could play many different games, together(!), and Syphon Filter was at the forefront! The NEMCC Syphon Filter League was inherently unique in that we didn’t officially exist according to the school. As a result of this, there was no dedicated room to host our gatherings. I preferred it this way, as I was not interested in any external entities intruding upon our passion project. The League's sessions (and ensuing epic battles) would be hosted within the the student-union, and this lent us to some much-needed publicity. I lugged my trusty Panasonic CRT into the Warzone on a weekly basis with a PSX set-up that let people know we were “The Real Deal™”. The available seating was shifted into a style we affectionately dubbed “the circle”, and the players would game several hours for everyone to see and participate in. Friendship bonds were strengthened like iron, and the rivalries were red-hot! During classes Satan and Toxic flung passive-aggressive comments regarding each other’s Syphon Filter skills. It was a great time to be alive.
The Syphon Filter League's Messenger Chat is created after the 2nd successful meeting. The "Fearsome Foursome®" that had been playing up till this point was joined by a new, consistent member. "Journey" was unfamiliar with Syphon Filter, but he was a diehard fan of the PSX and several franchises within its library. I was a firm believer of “the more the merrier” and just like DaBargainBin of today the Syphon Filter League was always enthusiastic for new players. Journey had taken an interest in the Parappa the Rapper games at this time and we would play them regularly during meetings. (I'll get into my Parappa/Um Jammer Lammy superhero origin story some other time) I had been score-keeping at each event The League hosted, but had not released the documentation prior to the creation of the Messenger Chat.
Koozbane a.k.a. AssMasterRealSlimShady69
Due to the absence of "Toxic", "BlackSatan" and "Koozbane" the next League meeting would be smaller than those previously hosted. Fortunately, "Da Squad©" garnered a new member, “Connor” a.k.a. "Chandelier", and the spectator traffic was as strong as ever! It was an engaging experience surprising those walking by and taking trips down memory lane with them. The League's members were informed prior that "Connor" would begin playing the game, and everyone had jokingly placed bets on who the winner would be between him and Journey. I believed in "Connor" just as I did Gabe Logan, and my faith was well placed! The only loss for "Connor" that session came from myself.
The rankings were updated accordingly:
The community by this point has began adopting their own inside jokes and terminology such as “The Perfect Cast” - a grenade aimed with such finesse that it’d make Goofy™ blush.
With the community at an all-time high, I was hoping to begin improving the quality of play for The League's members. I began drafting the Guide to Competitive Multi-player, and I would spend hours detailing various aspects of the game that I felt less-hardened players would be unfamiliar with. While the guide served to assist The League’s members, it was also created for anyone desiring to become acquainted with the games nuances. Eventually, I wanted to expand the reach of Syphon Filter 2 Multiplayer and other titles sharing a similar predicament. Enter DaBargainBin. In many ways, Syphon Filter embodies what DaBargainBin is and what it stands for. If Syphon Filter isn’t the whole backbone, it’s at least some very important vertebrae.
By this time The League had become known and was a somewhat popular attraction within the student union. Finally, every member of The League both old and new could attend a meeting, and between the players and spectators, seat capacity had been exceeded! The rugged, tough circle had grown so much, and the crowd anxiously huddled around the one glowing television. Spectators even began to play along themselves and coach their favorite players! At this meeting, “Toxic” leaped ahead of “BlackSatan” in the rankings and made his superior skill and dedication shown. “Journey” just couldn’t catch a break, but he came close so many times.
The "Sinister Six™" temporarily split ways for fall break, but still kept in touch through the messenger chat. I spent the time away from academics diligently working on the initial versions of the Guide and DaBargainBin website. During this time, I re-introduced Koozbane’s cousin, “FrickFrack” to Syphon Filter. He enjoyed coming back to a game from his childhood, and his stage presence was quite impressive! "Koozbane" had been the undisputed 2nd banana of our player base for quite a while (and I say that with nothing but respect and joy), but as the record currently stands FrickFrack has the higher win-count in their match-up! I recorded the matches between the three of us, and that was the first recordings of Syphon Filter 2 outside of The League’s authority since its inception. (The footage is used in the first and last matches of Syphon Filter Multiplayer Volume 1)
Plans were made to incorporate "FrickFrack" into The League, but lack of communication and availability would end the venture. Another player I would re-introduce around this time was “KillScott”, but none of the matches were recorded unfortunately. "KillScott" was an unsung hero of the era as he helped me with proofreading the guide and testing out much of the written information in real-battle applications. In what seemed to be a destined pattern, KillScott could never be brought into The League meetings themselves to make his presence more known.
12/2017 - The End
DaBargainBin's Forumotion forum was up and available by this point, and "RizzyDizz" and I were set to host the precursor to Retro Royale. The seasons began to change and so did, too people's interest in our lovely Syphon Filter 2. It was still a good time for a while, with a healthy crowd available, but slowly members became difficult to reach and increasingly busy due to life's cruel circumstances. "Rizzy Dizz" would pickup the game and would actually be quite great at it, but as the story always goes we could never get her involved with The League's meetings. Meetings were less frequent, player development was getting stagnant, and the Video Game offerings of the public Student-Break area next door was putting a dent in our traffic. Despite my attempts at growth I had to acknowledge that sometimes they just ain't that into it.
With the writing on the wall, I made one last gesture to all those that had stuck around. On one cold, winter afternoon, "TruKuu" would go into Game X-Change of Tupelo, MS and purchase 6 copies of Syphon Filter 2. Each copy was gifted to a member of The League as a memento, and contained a slip with the URL for the Competitive Guide. I kept the webpage online for several years after I had abandoned the site itself in the off-chance they ever considered looking back at it for any kind of reference. I didn't officially announce at any point that the meetings were over, and I even offered to drag the trusty-tube 'n console out again, but everyone knew that this was the end of an era.
NEMCC Syphon Filter League - Time Of Death - 5/12/17, 12:36 AM
The Final Public Rankings
The Present/The Future?
The NEMCC Syphon Filter League's spirit and memory lives on through DaBargainBin.
Fortunately, players such as "Rizzy Dizz" and "Buprenorphine Kid" have been able to give me challenges surpassing those of The League. I still haven't been "handed the 'L'" quite yet, but I know my days are numbered, and that's something to truly be excited about!
The members (or should I say "Da" Members?) always joked that someday, years from now, there would be a reunion. The set-up would be out in the open just like the good ole' days, and our digital marksmen would throw down for everyone to see. I patiently await the day.