On the 19th of December I went to my friend’s paintballing birthday party thing. (It wasn’t actually on the day of his birthday) I’d never been paintballing before so I was a bit nervous, but it turned out to be great fun. Getting hit doesn’t hurt as much as they say it does.
I hit: Someone right in the middle of the back; Someone in the neck; James apparently (although I couldn’t see through my misted up visor); Probably a few near misses at people in the distance.
Hit me: I got hit in the forehead but I was wearing a visor covering the entire front of my face so it didn’t hurt; Someone got me right in the shoulder from behind. It stung for a while but the pain faded away after that and now I’ve forgotten which shoulder it was.
It was hard to imagine what it would be like before I actually did it. All I could compare it to was Laserquest (but that’s not really a very good comparison) or playing an online game. I think there are too many videogame metaphors in my life.
I spent a few days before the time wondering if it would be a case of A) sneak round the edge like some kind of movie secret agent B) Charge straight in there, guns blazing C) Stay back and fortify key strategic points and think about everything before you do it D) Something else. I’m not sure which it turned out to be, but conserving ammo was the main thing you had to do (if your gun actually worked). For two of the 5 games I could hear my gun leaking – They’re “Semi Automatic” guns powered by air pressure. – They’re really powerful though. And accurate. Or maybe that was me. I could hit fixed targets pretty well, but I have shot air rifles before.
The first game we played was one flag CTF (Each team has a base and there is a flag in the middle of the playing field. The aim is to get the flag into the enemy base). That went very well. First we gradually moved towards the centre, using plants and wooden walls for cover. There was a tank (real or fake, I can’t remember) at the centre, with the flag leaning on it. We just stopped there and shot at the other team until they were all out. (I think we got two lives and I stuck by that idea all day). That was when I got someone i the back.
I think the second game was the church game, in which one team has to defend a (fake) church from the other team, who have to get into the church and upstairs and ring a bell to win. We just stayed in the church and tried to hit the people in the distance most of the time, wasting our ammo. Occasionally someone came up in a kind of suicidal attempt to get in. I saw someone out of the window and got hit in the forehead, but shot back and got him in the neck. I only had one paintball left at the end. (There was a time limit so we won)
The fourth game was the tower hostage game. My team had to attack a tower to rescue a hostage, or we could win by killing all of the other team, which we did. I got shot in the shoulder during this game when I came out from behind my cover to advance a bit further towards the tower. I went behind a tree, but it wasn’t very good at blocking paintballs so I turned round to head back and got hit. I recovered behind the original cover.
After that there was a team deathmatch. I really have no idea what happened because Ben and I decided to go to the church building and see who we could hit from the upstairs balcony like thing, assuming the deathmatch would span the whole woods. The problem was, it didn’t so we gradually made our way beck to where all the others were and I didn’t really have a clue what was going on so I didn’t do to well.
The fifth and final game was an all against all deathmatch kind of game. I made the same mistake of going too far, so I came back to kind of the edge of the action (I didn’t really feel like getting my limbs shot off by going any closer) I was a bit more nervous in that game because nobody was on my side. I got plenty of fighting anyway because I had a firefight with someone-or-other, which I won because I had superior cover. (Skill doesn’t matter unless you’ve got something to hide behind!). It was quite exciting/scary to hear the bullets paintballs flying over my head and splatting on the trees behind, or in some cases the log wall in front of me. I either won or scared my enemy off. A while later someone else appeared. I couldn’t tell who it was because my visor had misted up so much it was nearly completely opaque. So I did the default greeting and shot at them like mad. I probably missed because I couldn’t really see them. The mysterious person wasn’t firing back so I stopped and tried to de-mist my visor with limited success. It seemed a ceasefire kind of agreement had been made between us, but I kept an eye on him anyway. A bit later someone (who I think was James) snuck round behind me and started shooting. I went the other side of the tree I was using to hide behind at the time and returned fire. I think I hit (but I’m not sure) and I think I didn’t get hit (but I’m not sure). It turned out the mystery person who didn’t shoot back was the referee, and he only had a gun in case someone’s stopped working.
The last few matches were less fun, but that was my fault, and overall it was a great experience.