After hunting down the longest Ethernet cord I could find and using duct tape to secure it to the ceiling as tightly as possible, we managed to hook our two systems together. And when the closet gamers among us realized what we had done, they wanted in on the action. As long as we kept the wires attached to the ceiling and out of the way, the ranking petty officers didn't seem to care. Those weeks spent playing Halo 2 with my friends down the hall were a few of the best weeks of my training - and the easiest to handle.
Nothing improvised ever runs completely smoothly - there are always bumps and bruises along the way. But with each attempt, you learn a little bit more about what works and what doesn't. Since those early Halo 2 tournaments, the Ethernet cord on the ceiling has followed me from location to location. I've even seen it working between the departments of a Navy ship so my fellow journalists could team up against the engineers next door. And when my friends and I couldn't connect through Xbox Live, we'd scrounge together a few televisions, stuff them into a room so small we had to keep the door open to get enough oxygen and play through the weekend. But the LAN experience isn't enough for me. I need to work my magic against people I've never met and pound them mercilessly into dust. And with a few of the places I've been stationed, that's a lot easier said than done.
Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, is a wonderful place if you're into ancient Minoan cities, a big fan of the movie Zorba the Greek or enjoy Mediterranean beaches. But for a multiplayer gamer, Crete has major drawbacks. The population of the island has been growing in leaps and bounds every year as it draws more and more tourists. Unfortunately, the power grid on the island hasn't grown at the same pace: In the region where I live, we suffer through several blackouts a day. Sometimes they only last for a few minutes, and sometimes they last a few hours, but when you're playing an intense match of Red Alert 3, all that matters is your computer just cut out in the middle of it.