That time I was banned from my favorite Multiplayer Space Age RPG

By Jon Antonsen, Variety Editor originally published in Issue 2, Volume 30 of the University Register on Friday, September 22, 2017.

I probably made a mistake. Okay, I more than definitely made a mistake.

That may or may not have been on accident.

But that’s not the point—the point is I was dealt the banhammer for my mistake, and I realize that it’s not as bad as I had imagined it to be.

The game in question is called Space Station 13. It’s basically a fuster cluck every round. In SS13 you assume the role of a crewmember—whether that be the cook, the quartermaster, scientist, virologist, geneticist, atmospheric technician, or any of the other 30 positions on the station. These positions take a lot of time to master—after all, it is a heavy roleplaying game.

But, aside from the difficulty of playing your character, a whole host of other garbage ensues: a cult or Communist Revolution could try to usurp command of the station, traitors could be killing everyone, a clown could go sadistic and steal the nukes for the 300th time and hold the whole station hostage. On top of the random gameplay type at the beginning of the round, the admins could hit the station with any number of other events such as electrostatic storms, which take out power on the station, alien invasions, Deathsquads, and even Meaty-ore showers (yes, you read that right). The round ends when the emergency shuttle is called and everyone escapes.

How can you get banned from this crazy game? There are 3 rules and they basically say don’t kill anyone, or yourself. I messed up. I was a virologist researching a deadly virus and the emergency shuttle had just been called. So, I did what any end-of-round person would do and made a spray bottle of my deadly virus to spray on players in the shuttle.

I went down to the shuttle bay to wait for its arrival. Along the way, I had accidentally infected myself with the virus. Then, when I got down to the bay, other people were asking me to infect them. So now we had five out of 100 people on the station infected, but it’s fine because the shuttle was coming and the round was almost over, right? Here’s a side note: make sure you’re on the shuttle before raising hell.

The shuttle was recalled.

I was shocked.

So, I ran out of the airlock into space to kill myself to isolate the virus. But it was already too late. Before I committed suicide, an admin found my spray bottle.

When you die in this game, you enter an omniscient “ghost” state where you can see the whole game play out. For the next half an hour I watched in horror as my teammates were violently railed by my deadly virus. The main symptoms were loss of strength and loss of speech.

The cultists had sent golems to deal with the crewmembers. Now, if they weren’t infected, this would have been fine, but security officers kept dropping their guns! No one could understand what anyone was saying, and everyone was dying. Before the game ended, almost everyone had been killed by my super virus—only 10 made it on the escape shuttle.

The admins messaged me afterwards and informed me I was banned from the server for two days. I am not one to get punished. I am 21, I don’t drink or smoke, I don’t copy friends’ answers on homework, I don’t do meth… I follow the rules. My heart sank when I received my ban. But then it dawned on me.

“Two days?” I thought to myself, “that’s about how long I wait for shipping on my Amazon packages.” I’m not proud of being banned from my current favorite game, but it was also a sobering moment. It made me realize that just because you’re banned doesn’t mean you’re a bad player, it just means you did a bad thing and you really shouldn’t do it again. It’s a moment for you to reflect on the limits of your shenanigans—allowing you to define boundaries for yourself so that way they are more visible to you but you also feel more comfortable approaching them. Finally, it allows you the opportunity to learn more about the game you’re playing.

If I get banned again, it will be for doing something stupid that I meant to do—not something I stumbled upon. Honestly, for killing most of the crew on the station, I should have gotten longer than two days.