Video Game: Ace of Spades
Ace of Spades
is an online multiplayer First-Person Shooter
with destructible, modifiable voxel-based terrain. To sum it up simply, it's what you might get if you were to cross Team Fortress 2
's class-based action and color coded teams with Minecraft
's building blocks and boxy character models.
Originally a simple freeware game, the Ace of Spades
IP was bought out by Jagex
fame) in 2012. The game's creator was supposedly a Jagex employee and still involved in development at one point, but for reasons that are none too clear he seems to have moved on to other things. Jagex' version of the game offers new graphics and quite different game-play, and is now available through Steam for about $10.
The original, pre-Jagex version of the game is still legally available — and still free. It also seems to have a playerbase as large as, or even larger than, the Jagex version. Because Jagex now owns the name Ace of Spades
, the community supporting the original version of the game has been named, in Exactly What It Says on the Tin
fashion, Build and Shoot
, and the pre-Jagex version of the game can be downloaded freely from their site
The Jagex version's official website is located here
In the original, freeware version, the game takes place on a large map, which may be randomly generated or selected from a range of fan-made arenas. You play as a member of one of two teams, with the choice of weapons between a rifle, a sub-machine gun or a shotgun. Your other equipment consists of a spade (for removing and acquiring blocks — and melee combat), 50 blocks (for building), and three grenades. The point of the game is usually to capture the enemy's intelligence a certain number of times (though several other game modes are also available). Both digging tunnels and building structures for cover will aid you in this goal. You may freely change the color of the blocks you place. A popular strategy is to build a foxhole in the side of a hill, using the same color blocks as the hill, and snipe from it with a rifle.
On Valentine's Day, 2013, the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" DLC was released for the Jagex version of the game. This adds a new class only playable in two new gamemodes, with its own weapons. It also added new maps to go along with those gamemodes, a Chicago map and an Alcatraz map.
This game provides examples of:
- Alien Sky: The Skybox can be set to a number of hues by server command, some of which are genuinely creepy. There are also scripts for a Minecraft-style day and night cycle and Disco Mode, the latter of which is now thoroughly depreciated.
- Bizarrchitecture: Trying to get a pickup team of sixteen gamers to collaborate on building a large fortification, with an enemy attack coming in every few minutes and often no voice-chat, can result in some really weird-looking -but often surprisingly effective- fortifications.
- Boom, Headshot: Easy to pull off, too easy in some people's opinion, because the sprites all have heads as wide as their torsos.
- Boring but Practical: Simple buildings like bunkers and walls are easy to build and can act as effective barricades and sniper spots. The team with more of them often wins. More often than not, though, hastily-dug foxholes and trenches under fire will be what the player spends most of his time in.
- Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Not even when you die.
- Emergency Weapon: The entrenching tool can now be used for a One-Hit Kill at melee ranges, an Ascended Mod of sorts since it was added by the third-party server software. Occasionally a source of frustration if Friendly Fire is switched on, because digging and attacking are performed with the same command and it's embarrassingly easy to accidentally deck a teammate.
- Every Bullet Is a Tracer: Locating dug-in snipers would be very difficult otherwise.
- Everything Breaks: Everything but the ground level.
- Fast Tunnelling: For a given value of "fast", anyway. It's much faster than would be possible in real life, but tunnelling any distance will still take quite a while.
- The Miner class in the Jagex version, however, can plow through mountains like butter. Especially with his drill gun.
- Fire-Forged Friends: What happens with you and your teammates, if you're lucky.
- The mod, Psyspades, adds squads. This, with many close encounters, firefights, and saving of lives, either makes you hate your squad, for respawning you in front of an enemy with a Smg or Shotgun, or trust them, where they snipe enemies who try to sneak up on you, heal you, and move with coordinated precision.
- Floating Platforms: Generally averted, if you remove all the blocks under another, it will fall to the ground and vanish, but occasionally a glitch will leave a few in place.
- However, if a structure spawns floating at the beginning of the map, it stays floating.
- Follow the Leader: To Minecraft and (arguably) Team Fortress 2
- Gaming Clan: There are Major League Gamers, Bay 12ers, and *Color* Veterans.
- Oh, and special mention must go to the bronies, one of the few clans to run their own server. Several clan members have named themselves after the "mane six" and maintain Kayfabe, and there's a word-substitution script that forces you to talk like a brony. It's still one of the better servers.
- While not actually a clan, /v/ of 4chan used to have Ao S threads, which they've brought back for the new /vg/ board - along with a dedicated server.
- Game Mod: Mods can range from skins that revise weapons or iron sights, or make your character look like a Space Marine wielding a crossbow.
- Green Hill Zone: One of the default maps in the original version.
- Griefer: Rampant in earlier versions, usually centring around knocking down things other players have built. Occasionally, multiple griefers would even join forces to demolish a particularly well-made structure, often displaying greater teamwork and coordination than anyone else on the server. Laying out blocks in the shape of giant male genitalia or obscene messages was another popular griefer pastime, and the game also attracts a genuinely alarming number of neo-Nazis. Thankfully, an update that made bans IP address-based instead of nickname-based seems to have brought it under control.
- Guide Dang It: Its highly recommended to read or watch a guide before playing. Even changing certain game settings can take a while to figure out (edit config.ini in the game folder).
- Hold the Line: Missions on some of the smaller and narrower maps frequently end up like this.
- Hollywood Darkness: You will always be able to see, even in an enclosed space.
- Insistent Terminology: Jagex insists on calling the original, freeware version of the game a "prototype," even though it's a complete, stable, and fully playable game in its own right.
- Invisible Anatomy: You can't see yourself.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: One of the achievements is called "Hey is that a sni-".
- Loads and Loads of Loading: Every server in early versions, a bit better now.
- Obvious Beta: The game takes simplicity to the extreme, with only five weapons (six, counting the spade), two official modes, and one kind of map, not counting user-created maps.
- One-Hit Kill: Shooting someone in the head with the rifle is this.
- The Points Mean Nothing: Players get points when they kill enemies and capture the enemy flag. They're only for bragging rights.
- Blueshirt Army: and Greenshirt Army
- Real Is Brown: Many of the more natural maps. Actually justified by the quasi-World War One aesthetic, as one can infer that the ground has been churned to mud by several years of Hopeless War.
- Maps that are initially colourful can actually be "churned to mud by Hopeless War" during normal game-play. All terrain blocks under the surface layer are generated as brown by default, and as the surface of the map is destroyed by grenades, tunnelling, the demolition of structures, and even stray gunshots, the world will gradually turn brown.
- Reality Ensues: For an FPS that looks like Minecraft, it actually turns out to be a relatively realistic war simulator.
- Respawn Point: It shifts around a bit each time, but it's always on your team's side of the map.
- Scenery Gorn: Whatever structures the mapper has set up at the start of the game will not be intact by the time the game is over.
- Schizo Tech: The default graphics for the rifle are loosely based on a German semi-automatic rifle from the Second World War, the SMG is clearly a Heckler & Koch MP5 and the shotgun and grenades could be from any era.
- Actually considering the rifle is (supposedly) the M14, it's possibly even more Schizo because of the 1960s weapons... being used to fight First World War trench combat!
- Sentry Gun: The Rocketeer can deploy an automated rocket turret.
- Short-Range Shotgun: Averted. The shotgun in this game has a surprisingly realistic effective range.
- As of .75, Played Straight.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Its decent range and ability to blow through blocks like a hot knife through butter make this trope even doubly so.
- Shout-Out: The London map has a blue police box next to Big Ben.
- Shovel Strike: The spade can be used as a deadly melee weapon as well as a entrenching tool.
- Sickening Crunch: When you take any damage at all.
- Similar Squad: Identical except for uniform color.
- Soft Water: Averted. Water is only one block deep and it will hurt if you fall in from too high up.
- Standard FPS Guns: A rifle, a Submachine Gun, and a Shotgun, with a proper machine gun and sniper rifle to come.
- Stealth Expert: You need to be this if you want to even see the enemy intel.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Grenades
- Taking You with Me: Some players opt to save their grenades for hopeless situations, when they'll toss them just before falling dead in hopes of killing their killer. Sometimes it works.
- Unbreakable Weapons
- There is, however, a rare Good Bad Bug that can cause your rifle to "jam" until you switch weapons.
- Unusual User Interface: There's no ingame server browser, and in fact you don't load the game from the Start menu at all. Once the game is installed, players have to select a server from a list on the game's website, or type the aos:// address into their browser.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Will you protect your intel and teammates with your life?
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Or will you destroy your team's defenses and teamkill them?
- Water Is Blue: Averted. It can any color of the rainbow.
- However, for ease of identification, most maps do, in fact, make the water blue.
- War Is Hell: A common saying among the playerbase.
- Wartime Cartoon: A few of them exist for the game, as well as propaganda for the two teams.
- Zerg Rush: Less experienced players often default to this. It seldom goes well.