Going… going… GONG!

Hello, everyone. I just want to share with you this piece I wrote months ago. Enjoy!

GOING…GOING… GONG!

Last Saturday, I was invited to join a group of beta testers to try out this unreleased online casual game called GONG. Yes, I know, it was a Saturday night. But it’s a chance to play a game BEFORE it got out in the market. THAT, and they promised pizza. You know me. I’ll drop my pants for food. Kidding. I don’t do that. Not anymore, no.

Anyway, before we all get sidetracked, mobiusgames, publisher of this MMO game I’m really into now–Rakion— scheduled the beta testing for 5 to 7 in the evening. We were all ushered in into their area. Well, I was ushered in, having been one of the last beta testers to arrive.  It was my first time to sit as beta tester, and I was unfamiliar with the whole procedure. We had to answer a survey before, and after playing the game.

GONG, it turns out, is this really cute casual game where soccer matches are played in various fields. There’s a mode that lets one play on the streets of Brazil, and China. Oh, matches can be played in standard soccer fields too, but that’s about the only thing standard with this game. It’s soccer, but it’s… crazy. My Korean buddy Mhin introduced me to this PS2 soccer game called Winning Eleven (it’s to soccer what Fight Night is to boxing. Note to self: You are NOT going to be a soccer star in the near conceivable future.

Playing GONG isn’t as demanding as playing soccer. In GONG, there are two teams, and you run around the field stealing the ball from each other, and kicking the ball into the goal-that’s basically all the resemblance it has to soccer. I later found out GONG stands for “Goal Or No Goal” (and not “Gay or Not Gay”, a betting game my friend Caz and I play when our friend M brings along her boy of the moment).

GONG is like how a kid would have imagined soccer to be. All play, and no sweat. And that’s what makes it so much fun! First, you choose an avatar-each kid from the bleacher where you will choose your avatar has his or her own backstory, likes and dislikes, and strong points. Don’t worry too much on how your avatar initially looks like coz the item shop will eventually allow you to change your hair, your clothes, etc.

Oh, yeah, about that. In GONG, after you’ve earned enough credit from playing matches, you get to shop! The clothes are really spunky and cute. Having a beta tester account, I got access to the maximum amount of in-game gold used to buy stars which can then be used to purchase skills, clothes, luxury items, and play the lottery.

I abused the generosity granted to my beta tester account by buying tons of luxury items. First, I indulged in a complete Mole suit set which makes my character looked like-take a guess, anyone?-a mole. BTW, items get random bonus stats, which makes it more interesting, I think. So there I was, running around the field in my Mole suit, and I wondered why I couldn’t do the same in real life.

The actual mechanics of the soccer matches remind of the game Calvin and Hobbes from the comic strip play. You know, that one where they play this game and the rule is that they get to make a new rule every time a new rule takes in effect? It’s like that. Running around the field (or the street, or Brazil even!), you pick up gift boxes from where you get to stock up on strategies to distract your opponents with. There’s one where you call on your dog to chase the other players, or you call their mother to stop them from playing, and there’s one where you freeze them in a block of ice. The simplest one involves putting a banana peel on the floor-you just have to be careful coz you can slip on them on your way back, too.

During the beta testing, everyone was really into the game. I didn’t know anybody there, so I kept shifting teams, but most of them, who came with their buddies, were all standing in their seats, cheering, and jeering, each other. It’s like DotA, except your character doesn’t throw enormous balls of concentrated mana against blind, horned creatures that spin all over the place holding a sword. It’s actually better coz in GONG, you get to be a kid who pushes other kids in front of racing cars, and then you get to call their moms to stop them from playing. It gets really intense.

The matches are really short and fast paced, like, around ten minutes or so (and that’s divided into halves). Because of the time limit, the competition can get really, really, intense. Think Counterstrike when it first came out. I think there’s going to be a lot of high school kids who’re gonna skip lunch just so they can bet their milk money on GONG matches.

I guess it’s a pretty big prediction to make, that GONG is going to be a classic Pinoy multiplayer favorite along with Counterstrike and DotA. Maybe even bigger. Counterstrike and DotA are played on local area networks, while GONG is going to be played online. Better yet, GONG’s being launched simultaneously in the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia! Imagine all the intensity and all the highly-charged energy of internet cafés filled with pimply kids going against teams from Singapore and teams from Malaysia! Now that’s INTENSE.

Funny thing is, GONG is actually a casual game for all its intensity. Unlike MMORPGs where you sit all night hacking and slashing monsters to satisfy some Freudian need to wield around big two-handed swords, GONG is cute, wacky and casual. Play it whenever you want it, no pressure to commit yourself. But I bet you can’t stay for just one match. I suggest setting an alarm on your watch so you’ll know you’ve played long enough. One match will lead to another, and another, and another, until you realize you’ve played enough to afford a mole suit. And after that, you’d start setting your eye on that Hooded Sweater, and then another Hooded Sweater, but in a different color, and then on that new soccer ensemble. After all, who’s stopping you from having an entire walk-in closet full of Gong outfits?

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Related GONG! Article: Mugenblue writes about his GONG! Experience.

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1 Comment

  1. […] Going… going… GONG! […]


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