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Column: The Olde and the Newe Phantom

The Olde and the Newe

As a player that has had sporadic spurs of presence in the bootlegging world (meaning that I’ve been playing on and off since 2004), one of the main things that has kept me coming back to the game is.. Money. I love fake money. Love making it, love hoarding it, love seeing it rack up in my bank account. Love spreading it out in my bathtub and taking a nice bath. Having the bills tickle my body as I- Okay.. No.

I do love the money on here but the MAIN reason I have enjoyed coming back is seeing how the game has developed over the years. I remember the days where you could own property; where we still called ‘points’ as opposed to gold. Where the Swiss bank was still heavily used, and where buying your first re-enforced Duesenberg was a day to remember. Where there was no ‘Friend chat’, there were no achievements, no ‘earnings’ indicator under your ‘cash on hand’.

Personally, I love the new changes. I love that once you’ve completed the first handful of missions and make it to Gangster, that once you die you come back not having to redo them or having to rank from Scum again. I love the earnings indicator showing me how much money I’ve scraped together via my huge variety of usual means – crimes, auto burglary, stock market, and OC’s.

Being a game that’s been around just over a decade, I honestly believe Bootleggers still holds its own. It hasn’t lost its relevance or its appeal over the years, and the sporadic yet well thought out changes have kept it interesting. I’m sure we’ll all agree that the ‘Race for State & Nation Don’ has added considerable incentive for many players, to get EVEN more involved in the game. The very idea of ‘State’ and ‘Nation Don’ wasn’t even in anyone’s minds at the start of this game!

The inclusion of ‘achievements’ has also added a little personal touch, making players feel rewarded (even though it’s just an honorary thing) for their work. Following the likes of Xbox achievements, PlayStation Trophies, and Steam badges, the achievements allow players to boast about their many accomplishments, and feel a sense of pride over their hours and hours spent on this ‘simple’ text based game.

In full honesty, as much as I come to love the changes in the end, I do struggle sometimes to accept them or to adjust to them. I do believe our human nature is to resist change. We love things that we know, we love holding on to the things that make sense to us. So any change (small or big) threatens what we know and that scares most of us. [Yes I am making generalizations here]. But I think you will also all agree with me that after a while, when the changes become the ‘norm’, and we accept it, we do come to love them. Love them for changing the path of Bootleggers ever so slightly, steering us into new adventures, new things to discuss with our BL-playing friends.

As silly as this may sound, I love pretending its real. Just like a good movie or a good game takes you away into a world of wonder and fantasy, sucks you in an makes you believe what you are seeing in front of your very eyes is actually true.. I love pretending it’s real and I am actually a gangster. In real life I am probably the LEAST likely person to ever ever do anything violent or anything of the sort.. But hey one can dream right? My Bootleggers alter ego kicks in, and I enjoy the thrill of boosting a car.. Oh holding up a bank.. Of smuggling booze across state borders, avoiding police patrols, random checks, undercover police. My gangster wit takes over, helping me choose the right people for my OC’s. Making deals to trade money for gold. Investing my money on the stock market in order to make a profit so I can buy more ammunition for the next crime. It’s magical.

It’s bootleggers.

I know this article has not brought anything of revelation or of new, but I do hope it helps us to think, even if it’s just for a moment, how far this game has come, and how enjoyable it is for each and every one of us. And whatever your opinion on the creator and the developers, we CAN thank them for giving us a platform for us to enjoy Crime and Murder responsibly, with our friends. A place for interaction, community, and friendship. That place that has held its place in our minds for years.. and will most likely continue to keep doing so. That place where we can pretend to be a Mafioso. That place where we can be anyone we want. That place where we choose our own destiny. That magical, magical place.

Let’s all raise a glass to our [arguably] favorite game.

Here’s to Bootleggers. *Raises glass*