In the beginning, Burns created the Grif and the Court. Now the court was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of Foundry, and the Spirit of Sarge was hovering over the court. And Burns said, “Let there be Grifball,” and there was Grifball. Burns saw that the Grifball was good, and he separated the reds from the blues.
Welcome to Respect Your Roots, a community-driven history of the Sport of the Future. Installment 1 of this 437-part series harkens back to the creation of Grifball, the Original 8 Tournament and the very first American Grifball League of America Grifball season, Winter League ’08.
The Grifball gametype, like your life dear reader, started out as a joke. It was originally nothing more than a gag from Season 4 of Red vs Blue made by Sarge at Grif’s expense:
In Season 4 of Red vs Blue, Sarge is taking potshots with a sniper rifle at his orange soldier Grif, whom he hates. Heâ€™s having a great time and blurts out â€śThis is the best game since Grifball!â€ť That was written about two years ago and we always wondered what kind of game Grifball would have been. Thatâ€™s why the ball carrier turns orange â€“ everyone in the game is constantly trying to hammer-smash Grif and even if he scores, he explodes. Either way, Sarge wins. – Burnie Burns
Burnie Burns created the first Grifball gametype when experimenting with outtakes from Rooster Teeth’s Halo 3 Heroic Map Pack video.
It came about when we were making the Red vs Blue D.I.Y. video for the map pack release. There was an extended version of the script that had Donut and Grif making Forge creations on Foundry to go along with Simmonsâ€™ rail gun invention. Grifâ€™s invention was going to be the laziest game type possible, where you basically walk into the middle of the room, pick up a flag and plant it two feet away. That scene really wasnâ€™t that funny after the flying dumpster gag, so it was cut â€“ but I had already made the game type. I started messing around with it while we were uploading the video. ~ Burnie Burns
On December 16th, 2007, only a few days after creating the gametype, Burnie orchestrated the inaugural Grifball tournament which was comprised of eight teams. Not surprisingly, this event has since been known as the Original 8 Tournament.
Well, the OG8T was interesting. Once I heard that there was going to be a tournament, I instantly had to find a team. Then I learned that it was staff only and quickly began searching for a staff member still looking for members and eventually I heard about Nico, sent him a message and things went from there. Try-outs lasted for a few games and Flowers and I were the two chosen. Flowers first for his tanking and me second for running. ~ JOEPRO v2
I was nervous my first few games and play sessions. I was the noob alternate for The Anti-Gravity Hammers and everyone else had more experience at it than I did. A lot of betrayals and saying “Oh shit, sorry” a lot, but I wasn’t used to looking at my radar either at the time. At first, I didn’t think I would get used to it, but all I needed was practice and learning what the other teams and players knew that I didn’t know of. ~ Halo3Dragon5
The Original 8 Tournament was amazing. I got to play with Burnie and all of the creators of Grifball and give my input in the development of Grifball. I remember playing with shotguns and hammers. I remember playing with “ammo” and having to exchange expended hammers and swords. ~ RvBLeo
The team SG-1, comprised of KrozeGG, Dixonij, Godzilla2K4, Paladin1221, and ApertureFilmz, won the Original 8 Tournament.
Due to the success and popularity of the tournament, AGLA Winter League ’08 was underway by January, 2008. Grifball.com, the official home of the AGLA, was launched on January 7th, 2008.
WL08 was one of the best seasons ever. ~ El Driver
WL08 was in a league all its own. Back then, Foundry was the only court that supported Grifball and it was still a work in progress. Players could easily escape the court and even tear down the walls! This provided entertainment for players as they waited – sometimes for hours – for the chance to play a 4 vs 4 game.
My favorite memory before WL08 was hanging out in the game lobby with my teammate, andrewpanton. You have to remember that back then, there was no Grifball matchmaking or forum. If you wanted to have a game of Grifball, even after all the noise and advertising that the O8 Tourney brought in, you had to sit in lobby and wait for friends to sign in. We’d talk for hours over so many random topics while we waited for friends to log in, sometimes talking them out of whatever other game they might have been in and to put in their Halo 3 disk to do some Grifball. Back then we’d even settle for 2 on 1’s or 2 on 2’s. ~ Phoenix Rage
In February, 2008, the AGLA entered its first ever Grifball post-season.
It was pretty awesome back then when literally anyone could come out of nowhere and be competitive. We used to actually go and scout and write up reports. I remember doing it for Grunts of Fury (I was fairly confident we were going to win easily at the time, but I was wrong). ~ D Hans / Spud H3ad
Our team had an extremely close playoff game against Grunts of Fury. They only barely beat us on what we later found out was their host, and we pulled over pretty much everyone else. Had we managed to beat them, we had a decent shot to win the championship. ~ Menz / Zerosum33
It was an intense weekend of Grifball action as the #4 Grunts of Fury knocked off the heavily favored #1 L.I.E. squad to advance to the Grifball League Finals. There they will meet #2 Cannonball, who defeated upstart #3 Marathon Runners in a 6-3 bout on Friday night. ~ Grifball.com 3/8/2008
In the end, it was Team Cannonball vs Grunts of Fury for the WL08 Championship. Cannonball defeated the Grunts 8 – 1 in one game and became the first team to ever win a league ‘ship. Cannonball’s roster consisted of Bebop Gastelum, dropg, ii flowers ii, JOEPRO v2, OboeCrazy, orcishmiscreant, and TTL Quikthnkr (JustJwl receives an honorable mention).
Several times a week, Burnie posted the latest league news on the front page of Grifball.com highlighting teams, players and the previous week’s games. Throughout the season, the Rooster Teeth guys produced five highlight reels with commentary by Burnie and Geoff. Even the Grifball teams themselves participated in the video documentation of the first Grifball league: American Dream created a Grifball training video in preparation for their match against Cannonball and were brave enough to share it with the world.
It would be impossible for one article to capture all of the amazing and memorable events that occurred during Grifball’s creation and first league. Thankfully, that’s where the community and the comment box comes in! Feel free to post below about your Original 8 and/or WL08 experiences or ask questions about what Grifball was like back in the ancient days.
Next week, join us as we relive the glorious days of Spring League 08 – when TTL Quikthnkr was commissioner, the Grifball matchmaking playlist debuted, and the launch revolutionized the way Grifball was played. Click here to share your SL08 memories/experiences.