Juicy, why did you start playing Airsoft?
This is a repeated question that I’ve had to procure answers for in the past year of my employment(s) in the Airsoft industry, in some way or form.
I joined Airsoft for the military simulation aspect, or “Mil-Sim” as it is commonly called.
I’ve been doing some pondering lately in regards to this subject, as my 3+ years of at least EVERY week of Airsoft game play, purchasing, fixing, and general enthusiasm has started to become boring. By my calculations of the first game day I attended, that’s already 167 days I’ve attended. That figured doesn’t even count the many times I’ve been to 2-3 organized game days in a week. I get that there are more seasoned Airsoft players than me out there, but the vast majority of them have gotten bored and moved on. The most common complaint I’ve heard from talking to many “old-school” local Airsoft players is that the games are all run-and-gun now, and this definitely hits home with me now. Please do let me explain my thoughts after the break.
Now, I had found myself involved in one of the local clubs, Op-For Airsoft Club (soon to be only known as Lower Mainland Airsoft Group, a conglomeration of the two older Airsoft Clubs in my area) from pretty early on in my Airsoft career – I gave back to the community by helping out during game days and the like. I ended up in a volunteer position of Admin, sooner or later. Here, I cast some votes as a group of Club Admins for the betterment of the entire local Airsoft scene as a whole, not just for the benefit of the club or for my own reputation or increased power or for any individual. It worked out great, but only when the manpower and drive in the fresher Admins was still there, that is, to make the Airsoft community stronger and better as a whole. Irregardless of how things started to slide when people started clamoring for a fistful of power in the rapidly growing community, I never really got any decent Mil-Sim experiences out of playing with the Op-For Airsoft Club unless I put myself in situations that involved me getting shot at a lot. This always bugged me.
I started working in the Airsoft industry in early 2012, primarily as a salesperson for the retail aspect of that business. Somehow, more responsibilities got added to my plate without any raises or whatever – I guess I didn’t quite understand that about a struggling small business at the time. I sold my soul to this previous employer, and got beat over the head with it by the legal owner of that company. But that being said, while I was still working there, I had the opportunity to work with Julian (more commonly known as “optix” on the field) to build branding and general structure to what would become the largest game organizing company/group within the Lower Mainland. We quickly reached 120 players on a regular, weekly basis while I was still actively involved. This player count is absolutely huge; its a milestone as compared to a year and a half ago wherein Op-For considered turnouts of more than 40 players already overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, the number of new players is only going to keep growing now that the ball is rolling… but, with the popularity of team deathmatch games involving killing the other team as the main objective, I really didn’t get any of that Mil-Sim flavour I was so desperately craving.
What I’m trying to get at is – where the hell is the Mil-Sim that I joined this sport for?
I mean, I’ve recently been put in charge of “marketing” (to some degree) at my current Airsoft retail job… and I’ve talked it over for hours with one of my bosses – it was in fact his idea to drive the newly opened storefront that I was hired to work at towards gearing players up for a Mil-Sim game. I loved this idea; I totally want to make it happen. But in the end, there’s still resistance from people not wanting to go the Mil-Sim route.
When I talk about running intensive scenario games or marketing to a Mil-Sim player over the past few years, I’ve been repeatedly hearing this inexplicable fear of losing popularity with the sudden boom of newer players who seem to dig the run-and-gun, high-cap-fueled, high-ROF/full-auto style of Airsoft. Yeah, many of these new players who are joining the local Airsoft scene are into this.
But… let’s face it. When they first start buying their stuff, anyone who joins Airsoft wants to dress up like either some sort of Special Forces elite SEAL military dude. How is that not Mil-Sim in itself – Call of Duty is a first person shooter that makes the player feel like a god, but it is also a video game depicting military simulation at its core? Why can’t the more “experienced” Airsofters remember that when they got into this sport, that’s all they thought was cool (until they realized that there was awesomely cool civilian crap to load down their rifle out there)?
I mean, this is fucking bullshit. Come on, Airsoft community.
It’s what we all once wanted, anyway.
Thanks for reading, guys. Am I the only one feeling this way about the state of affairs within the local Airsoft community here? Or perhaps this is something also happening outside of my area? Leave me a comment if you have something to say – I appreciate your thoughts and ideas on this topic.