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Stick Arena

This is a Flash game that used to be rather popular. It is a multiplayer arena shooter game with a top-down view, and all players are represented in-game by stick figures. Although I cannot remember definitively, I believe I first discovered the game through Newgrounds sometime in 2007 or maybe late 2006, and afterwards I would play it (always on the official Web site, not on Newgrounds) every now and then throughout the late 2000s, as well as a little bit into the early 2010s.

Initially I played Stick Arena only casually, joining ongoing games randomly and anonymously, but later on, having found the game quite fun, I decided to register an account and play a bit more seriously. I also remember that I had known about the game for some time prior to the beta testing phase and subsequent release, on 4 November 2008, of Stick Arena Ballistick, which was a huge expansion to the original game; thereafter I played Stick Arena Ballistick, and rarely (if ever) returned to the original game. (I might have registered my account around the time Stick Arena Ballistick was released, but I am not sure of this—it might have been earlier.) I never bought a Lab Pass (i.e. a membership subscription), but I do remember a few instances, which were probably special promotional events, in which I used the Lab Pass–exclusive weapons (the chainsaw, Tesla helmet, flamethrower, etc.), but those experiences were not enough of a motivator for me to spend any real money on the game.

This is not to say that I didn't care about winning, that I did not play the game seriously, or that I was bad at it—in fact, I recall that, most times when I played, it was rather easy for me to obtain the most kills at the end of a match. Back then I did not consider my skill in the game to be anything remarkable; instead, on many occasions I remember thinking just how bad most other players were, which is not too surprising, as a large portion of the playerbase were probably kids. The only players who I ever feared were the Glock gods: the guys who would always go straight for the Glock immediately after respawning, who would use only that weapon for the entire match, and who were absurdly skilled at the game—oftentimes they would accumulate more kills at the end of a match than the other three players put together. At times I even believed them to be cheating, as it seemed that they could shoot through the corners of walls and damage me, but now I attribute this to their mastery in aiming and their thorough familiarity with the game's mechanics.

I was comfortable with all the six original weapons, but preferred the shotgun, which could kill with no more than three hits; my favorite map was, predictably, XGen HQ (I also liked Floor Thirteen, Concrete Jungle, The Foundation, and Storm Drain). On my original account (which, sadly, I cannot access anymore) I eventually achieved at least rank 6, though I don't believe I advanced to rank 7. I can still remember the slight awe I felt whenever I was in the game's lobby and found somebody, among the sea of low-ranked beginners also present, who had a rank of 10 or higher; in all the time I have spent playing this game, I might have encountered somebody with rank 13 or 14 only a handful of times, and a player with rank 15 perhaps only once or twice.

Sadly, Stick Arena's heyday is over, and has been over now for many years. The game was most popular during the late 2000s and early 2010s—the same period of time during which I regularly played it—when there were something like 10 to 15 servers, each with plenty of ongoing games and players chatting in the lobby; the first server in particular was far busier than the others, having a total of probably a few hundred players, either in a match or in the lobby. It is unfortunate, but this game's popularity has declined partly as a consequence of the decline in popularity and reputation of Flash (the latter of which, I will remind you, will never die!). The game is not completely dead, however: as of March 2020, there is still a small group of dedicated regulars, many of whom are probably veterans from the game's golden years, who still log on and play matches against each other. Although the game is relatively simple, and leans a bit more to the casual side than the hardcore side, there is still enough depth to it that, after all these years, I find myself playing it again.


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This page last modified on 5 March 2020.