A gloriously odd paintball MMO from the 1990s has returned


Do you ever find yourself looking at modern MMOs in disgust, finding their graphics to be too garish and ostentatious? Do you pine for a simpler era where all the controls you really need were the left and right mouse buttons? Then, my friend, welcome home to Paintball Net.

Created in 1996 by two amateur programmer brothers, Paintball Net offered a 2-D PvP experience as players ran around splattering each other with paint — and all this in Windows 95’s glorious 16-color palette.

“We were never going to win any awards for our graphics, but we had a very devoted player community,” one of the creators said. “Paintball Net was online from the summer of 1996 through the summer of 2000, when we took it offline to focus on other projects.”

The title garnered somewhat of a cult following ever since, and due to that, the owner brought it back for players to enjoy in their browsers. So why not give it a try and experience early MMO history in all of its simplistic glory?


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Holy crap! That’s awesome. I spent a good time with that. I used to work with one of the devs on Mortal Realms MUD. You didn’t even need the Windows client to play it. It started out with a VT102 text interface (and kept it), so you could play it in colorful ASCII.

I just uploaded a few of the stat pages from when the game sunsetted: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1rIcAuYmAJYPHFPPibxBEkB6CoC2SPKd-

My character (Presto) had player ID #13 (of just over 200,000 players), was #10 for “survival” (splatted in only 45% of the games played – not bad having played 3,817 games), and #51 in “accuracy” with a 76%. And that was done primarily with the text interface.

Good memories. :)