The best way to introduce the man is to ask a foe or a comrade what they think of him. To this end, I will allow Xt3rM!n@tor and Θrr4cle to introduce Christopher ‘Turkish’ Smithard
The fierce foe, Yasser ‘Xt3rM!n@tor’ Padia
No one can forget the clan known as Criminal Misfits. The team lead by Turkish that consisted of Tommy, Orr4cle, Serpent, Fr00glez0r and Timthezombie to name a few. They were a clan that always wanted to play and were willing to help every other clan get better. If I remember correctly they dominated the game for quite a long time with very clever strats and offensive play that took the opposition totally out of the game. I often thought that their dominance came from their individual skill but later realized that most of it came from their maturity and great communication. Clan matches back in the day always featured a Heavy as the maps suited the heavy really well and the Criminal Misfits were almost unbeatable in clan matches. They developed their entire game around the Heavy being the pocket that kept the medic alive and the rest of the players trying to put resistance and force ubers to give their combo the advantage in any situation. All I can say is that this was a very well balanced dominating team that had a really good leader that understood his team mates and put his plan into action. Maybe one day we can see this team back in action in full flow and maybe teach the mass of the community that missed their reign a thing or two about teamwork and TF2.
The trusted comrade, Daniel Charles ‘Θrr4cle’Zima
Turkish was one of the first friends I made in TF2. Whenever I saw either Turkish or Carty playing heavy I would switch to medic and we would dominate the public servers 😛 When clans started to get organized Turk asked me to join his clan, Criminal Misfits (CM). I played demo for CM and every match we had a blast! Turk was a great leader in game, and played a large part in TF2 in the early days.
When did you start PC gaming?
I began PC gaming in 1995 whilst in primary school. We had a PC lab with Police Quest installed on the DOS based machines.
Give us a list of some of your favourite single and multi player games?
- Fallout 1 and 2
- Baldurs Gate Series
- Metal Gear Solid Series
- Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War Series
- Team Fortress 2 of course
- Starcraft 1
- Red Alert back in 96/97 😀
When did you start playing TF2 competitively, and for how long were you active?
I believe I started playing on a competitive level during November 2007 – around one to two months after the Orange Box was released in SA. I took a long break from the game during November 2008 to April 2009 for various reasons, but I am currently active again (with CM naturally).
Why did you decide to play TF2 on a competitive level?
Initially we just wanted to try it, but eventually I wanted to prove a point. When the game was still fairly new there were a lot of people playing the game that were in clans. They used to stack servers and demonstrated a generally bad attitude – often harassing ‘noobs’. We wanted to prove that these so called ‘noob’s could be the best without being nasty or arrogant.
Tell us about the competitive scene back then.
The scene back then was really different. Many people were still trying to discover what worked and what didn’t. Teams were always hungry to develop match winning strategies and tactics. To that degree the game was filled with a lot of variety. The map rotation was a lot smaller, but more varied – with CTF maps like 2Fort and attack/defend maps like Dustbowl in the mix. Looking back the skill level was nowhere near what it is today – however I believe the game has lost a lot of variety with the prevalence of push maps. I think the biggest difference between then and now though is the frequency with which games were played. We used to often play 6 – 8 games a week. That obviously tells a story in itself.
Your favourite class and why?
Heavy of course. I’m not a particularly skilled player with regards to aim, dodging, etc. My strengths lie in strategy and tactical play. To this end the heavy seemed the class best suited to my style. Well that, and because a certain noob medic needed someone looking after her.
Tell us about the clan days
For us CM wasn’t just the noob clan who won. We were an incredible bunch of people. That was something that set us apart. We were always willing to help others and we were all a fantastic bunch of friends. That is what it was initially about. Towards the end it only became about winning – and that led to the team’s demise.
You were perhaps most well known for being the captain of CM – how did the clan form?
For me it was more like a friends with benefits thing. I think you were experiencing some sort of mid-life crisis at the time Lola, and were looking for something to make your life more interesting. I guess we both got what we wanted. Ok, but on a more serious note, as I mentioned previously, we never really intended to make a team. We were all a really good group of friends and we just wanted to play together. After having a taste of the competitive scene, we decided to commit fully and form a team.
CM started off as being a fairly inexperienced team – tell us about the journey you went through by starting off as a so called ‘n00b’ team, and eventually ending up as one of the better clans in the country.
The journey was extremely hard. I’m sure I can speak for you Lola when I say we had to invest an enormous amount of time and emotional resources. We put in a massive effort to find and surround ourselves with the best players we could find, as well as constantly practising to ensure we were on top of our game. As mentioned – we played around 6 to 8 games a week, never mind all the time we put into developing our strategy, our emotionally charged fights, organizing games, and recruitment.
What were the things you looked for in choosing a clan member?
I always looked for three things:
- Someone who could think for themselves and adapt to the situation,
- Someone who was an out and out match winner
- And most importantly, someone who could play as a part of a greater unit and mechanism.
Tell us a bit about your leadership style?
My role in the team was to formulate the broader strategy. I never tried to tell someone how to play their own class. Rather I came up with the overall strategy and it was up to each team member to execute their part themselves – and even make in-game changes as they saw fit. I would say my style is mostly about empowering people, after all who am I to tell a guy like Serpent how to play his class?
Any special moments?
All the fantastic friends I made. The first time Lola ubered me… All of her crazy sexual references like “don’t go in so deep” “if you go from the bottom I won’t be able to reach uber” and “Froogy I love it when you pull out that thing”(Lola: I was only an Afrikaanse boerenoointjie struggling with big english words in the heat of battle – let’s not forget I was surrounded by 5 wolves :p).
The first time we beat Verve. All the personal battles against Carty. The epic 20minute defenses on the last point of Dustbowl.
In retrospect anything you would’ve done differently?
No not really. The only lasting negative memory that I have was all the emotion and rage I let loose on people. I was too serious and it got in the way of the team, and more importantly in the way of friendships.
Why did you stop playing?
I couldn’t cope with my own personal desire to be the best. It was starting to interfere with more important things in my life.
Advice to clans now?
Always remain calm during the game and stick to your plans. Make small adjustments if need be, but stick to the overall strategy. If it doesn’t work you can change it after the game. Find out what works for you and your team. The worst thing you can do is to go watch a demo and try to imitate what you see. Learn from the demo but make adjustments that suite your team and your team mates playing style. Don’t take the game to seriously and never lose emotional control during games as it’s certain to cost you the game. But most importantly, play with and for your friends 😀
Thanks to Turkish for the informative session – we hope the players can benefit from his experience. If you have any specific questions you would like to ask Turkish please post in the reply section and we will get back to you.
On a personal note: Thank you Chris, it was an incredible adventure to form CM with you, I’ve gained an IRL friend and had tons of fun, which is after all what Team Fortress is all about.
My next interview will be with the Lovely Lolita. We will be talking about girls, games, the broader gaming community and the role MGO’s play in competitive gaming.