‘286 Gaming Prowess

So you’ve got an old 286 sitting around, and you want to have some fun with it. Most people believe that computers from this era are entirely obsolete. Not true!

Buzz of DOJ

Low End PC Gaming

‘286 Gaming Prowess

Brian Rumsey – April 1, 2000

So you’ve got an old 286 sitting around, and you want to have some fun with it. Most people believe that computers from this era are entirely obsolete. Not true! Anyone who holds this opinion has obviously never heard of the 286’s prowess at sports. How, you ask? Ever heard of 286-ball? 286-put? In fact, there are reports that some little-known pro wrestlers are trying to make a name for themselves by including an arsenal of old computers in their matches.

286-ball is similar in many ways to the popular sport of football, in concept. There are two opposing teams of ten players each, at least in regulation. Instances are known where pickup games of 286-ball have been played one-on-one. As in football or soccer, each team tries to get the object across a certain line at the end of the field in order to score. However, instead of a ball, the object used must be a 286-based PC. The weight of the 286 basically eliminates the passing aspect of the game, although 286-ball legends such as Mitch “The Hurricane” Reiland have shown the ability to hurl the 286 over 15 feet. Rushing is generally much more effective. Few are willing to risk their well-being to tackle the speeding bearer of a 50 pound hunk of metal. Another method sometimes employed to advance the 286 towards the goal is dribbling, as in soccer. Although slow, it has the advantage that the constant kicking sometimes is able to loosen components such as the 5.25 inch disk drive so that they will fall out, lightening the overall weight somewhat. Obviously, 286-ball is not a real pretty sport. The real beauty of it is that basically anything is legal. Few other sports come close to matching its intensity or the soreness that you will feel for days after a good match of 286-ball.

286-put has been proposed as a replacement for the shot-put in track meets. While a 286 is much heavier and more bulky than a shot-put, proponents of this change suggest that it would draw more fan interest to track meets. I have to agree with them: it would be pretty entertaining to see elite athletes struggling to heave antiquated computers as far as humanly possible. Some people have suggested going a step farther and bringing 286’s into the center of track meets by using them in place of batons in relay races. While an amusing idea, I can’t say that I would favor it. I think it would give an unfair advantage to those athletes who also happen to be computer geeks who attend networking parties on the weekends, and are used to hauling their computers wherever they go.

Pro wrestling does not seem like the most likely place for 286’s to surface. However, they are. It all started a couple years ago when Wayne “Virus” Peters broke onto the scene. Already a formidable sight with his all-black uniform and his ultra-nerd glasses, Virus really struck terror into the hearts of his opponents when, seemingly out of nowhere, he would produce an 8086 (not being the smartest guy, it took Virus a while to realize that 286’s were not too valuable to use), bring it up over his head, and then, POW! One well-placed blow could end the match with a decisive victory for Virus. Seeing his success, within a year several others rushed to emulate him, including probable future household names such as Jimmy “Abort/Retry/Fail” Geelow and Alvin “Floppy Disk Corruptor” Stevens.

Well, you’ve seen how much fun a 286 can be. Just sit back, flip through the channels for the first 286-ball game you see, and be thankful that you don’t have a Macintosh Plus. Not only are they smaller than most 286’s and therefore less suited to the aforementioned uses, they are also still usable as computers, so most people aren’t quite ready to play Plus-ball other equally exciting sports.

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