BahdKo's description of: Henning
Henning at his PC with Martin watching
Henning Skogsto lives in Stavanger, Norway, and began playing around November of 1996. He is best known as a highly prolific single-player doomer, but has been deathmatching with his locals since the beginning as well. As of the last time I checked, he has 225 recordings in the Compet-N demo database, and is in the #1 position in Compet-N points ranking. As of the time of this writing, he holds many records in the various Nightmare and Ultraviolence speed catagories, including amazing ones like "NM100S Movie" - - this means playing all of Doom2, in Nightmare mode, and completing it with all secrets actuated, in 61 minutes 55 seconds, without dying. His record for speedrunning Nightmare without completing the secrets is 34 minutes 13 seconds, and can be downloaded for your viewing amazement here.
I got to meet and play Henning at the Stavanger, Norway netparty in December, 2000. I also got to watch him do his 37 minute 38 second Nightmare run live, and I remain awestruck by this doom-god's incredible skill. Whenever he would start to play a Nightmare game, the people in the room would wander over and cluster around his monitor to watch, as seen in this picture here.
Watching him play live is mesmerizing. His real life appearance while playing matches his local Augi's nickname for him: "Zombie". He looks wholly relaxed and casual, watching the screen. What seems like only occasionally, you see his mouse hand move, almost careless-looking. His keyboard hand is just resting there; you see the fingers moving to different keys in his config but it doesen't look all that deliberate. But then, when you see what is happening on his monitor, it is like the two worlds don't match. The game on the monitor is absolutely amazing, fast, and among the highest skilled things you can watch. A phrase that comes to mind that describes it well, for me, is "casual perfection".
Playing him in Deathmatch was yet another amazing experience. I am told that he does not play exactly like this anymore, but when I got to play him at the 2000 Stavanger netparty, he had a funny way of doing Map1. He did not have a lot of strategy on the map but was thoughtful, careful, and most of all, unbelieveably fast in his movement and accurate in his aim. His speed was unreal, he would simply run me down and kill me, usually with a point blank shot. To be seen by him was to get hit, squarely, with whatever weapon he had, regardless of what you, or he, was doing at the time. Playing him was like playing someone's very sick, sadistic idea of an insta-kill, auto-aiming deathmatch bot that was using Turbo 180.
Things like this were commonplace: I would respawn in the plasma room, and run straight for the door to the outside shotgun area (he was always too fast for me to want to grab the plasma because when I turned around with the plasma gun, I would be dead from a point-blank shot before I got the weapon up). In the time that it would take me to run from the respawn spot around the plasma podium to the outside doorway, he had made it not only down the plasma hall but across the plasma room too, and would point blank me as I tried to get out. My mind could not grasp how he could get from Point A to Point B in the time that he did, and his amazing speed took most of the bite out of my Map1 strategies.
Oh and did I mention, he never misses.
One thing that was kind of neat would happen once in a while. His movement was so efficient that sometimes he would not look around as much as would be best for a deathmatch game. Occasionally I would hide in plain sight and he would race right past me, not seeing me because he was straferunning angled in the other direction. When this happened, I would take this gift of life for what it was, and being careful not to fire reflexively, I would run away as fast as I could and get out of sight. I found out the painful way that while I was relatively safe in the seconds that he was moving past and away from me, that would change the very millisecond he got to where he was going and realized I wasn't there, and turned around. This occasional running-past-the-opponent may or may not still happen in his games - - I heard that he became at least somewhat more conventional on Map1 after the 2000 Stavanger netparty.
He is the master at understating his Doom skills and accomplishments. When you talk about it around him, he says things like "Oh, it's nothing, it's just a process" or "It's just practice, anyone can do that". When he says things like that, I am at a loss for words; he is obviously messing with people's heads when he says things like that, but he sounds totally serious when he says it.
At the netparty, he was for the most part a laid back, almost regal kind of guy, except for brief wrestling matches with Oagie. If I had been the one to pick his doom handle, it would have been "Iceman".
When he made his 37:38 Nightmare run at the netparty and we were all watching, Oagie came up behind Henning's monitor and pulled the power out of the back of it. Henning instantly alt-entered his game (essentially pausing it through Windows) and sent a cascade of norwegien-language statements at Oagie, presumably colorful cursing. Oagie later said that he had only intended to pretend to do it, but had accidently followed through with the whole power-cord-grab thing.
Henning would occasionally do nomonsters runs, placing shots where the monsters would be in a monsters run, and it is very odd to watch.
At the end of the netparty, Oagie drove me and Henning, in his work van, to where we needed to go. The work van only seated 2 people in the front including the driver, and Henning volunteered to ride in the back, with all of the computer equipment. As it turned out, Oagie can be a maniac driver at times (big surprise there), and on the way to the airport he drove really fast and took corners hard. When we got to the airport and Oagie opened the back doors of the van, Henning was buried beneath the computers and monitors which had shifted and come down on top of him. He had been riding like that for who knows how long, patiently waiting under the fallen equipment. He did have a few choice words for Oagie after escaping from the back of the van, but he was otherwise, almost predictably, cool.
Want to see a demo? Henning's 37 minute 38 second Nightmare run can be downloaded here .