Oh man, this was totally unexpected (by me). I heard that they were going to make an announcement about Unreal Tournament but I didn’t expect them to go even further than TF2 in making the software open and free. That’s phenomenal.
Unreal Tournament was one of my favorite FPS games of all time. My gaming history in terms of online first person shooters began with Team Fortress Classic in 1999 (offline, it began with Doom, of course). I still remember going to a friend’s house and being absolutely blown away by the fact that I could play video games with people from all over the world whenever I wanted to do so. Back then, of course, I was running a 56k modem with a 41.4k connection being considered a good speed. My latency was routinely anywhere between 200 ms and 300 ms, and it made gaming a lot harder than it would be later on. We upgraded to DSL pretty quickly, and I still remember heading to a friend’s house to see the crazy-looking modem and blistering speeds..
From there I moved to Counterstrike (also in 1999) and then Day of Defeat (in 2000). In both TFC and Day of Defeat I was ranked #1 in the world for a week or so by the CLQ (sure, it’s a public ranking system and not necessarily indicative of my superiority over all other players in the world, but hey, let an old man (in terms of video games) indulge himself slightly). My handle was ControlAltDelete and then ControlAltDelete[KiS] (after I joined a clan with whose members I am friends to this day, 14 years later).
In 2001, I got into Tribes 2 really heavily. That game remains, to this day, my favorite online FPS of all time. I still recall playing matches with over a hundred players on a server, watching absolutely insane battles unfold. I recall once employing a stealth kit, grabbing a flag, and bounding over an adjacent mountain to my hoverbike which I had strategically left for myself, racing back through the ranks of my comrades as they fought the ferocious onslaught which followed me. So many memories worthy of Hollywood were made in those days. But, my friends remained staunch Counterstrike and Day of Defeat advocates, so I remained in those worlds as well.
We were part of the STA league in our CS and DoD days and we continued playing CS for many years. In 2003, I started playing Unreal Tournament 2003 but was not joined by my companions (it was deemed too “twitchy” by my frustrated friends). The game blew my mind. It was so brutally fast paced with incredible art direction and excellent characters (I still love the robot characters’ “Faster, Stronger, Better” utterance) I could hardly get enough. I moved from there to UT2k4 and managed to hit #1 in the world (just for a week, though) with the handle “DoomForge” (at the time, I had invented the name on my own and I retain a saved webpage representing my Google search of the term which resulted in no hits. Nowadays the name is popular in World of Warcraft and analogous games, it seems). When I retired from UT2k4, I was about 100th in the world in terms of all-time deathmatch players.
So in 2003 and 2004, I played DoD and CS with my clanmates, but less intensely than they, for I was sucked into Unreal Tournament more frequently than not. In 2005 we regrouped around Battlefield 2 (64 player matches with vehicles, bringing me to recall my glory days in Tribes 2). We continued playing Counterstrike, but after DoD 1.3B, we steadily declined in our participation with that gaming community (we all hated 2.0 with a passion, largely because of the “realistic” recoil and the decreased power of the weapons).
We moved from BF2 back into CS and I resumed some activity in UT2k4. Around this time, the Playstation 3 was out and I was pulled into console land. I continued with CS, of course, and then in 2007 TF2 was released (after years of being declared vaporware) and we were all over it.
TF2 started to get pretty crazy pretty fast, and we moved into Battlefield: Bad Company 2. After that, we hit up Battlefield 3, and now Battlefield 4. Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 should be in there somewhere, too.
So that was a fun trip down memory lane. Anyway, the point is, I look forward to this Unreal Tournament edition, and I really, really want to get my hands back on that tremendously awesome ASMD Shock Rifle. It was never my best weapon (you can’t beat the rocket launcher/frag cannon + lightning rifle combo) but it sure is the most awesome. Nothing is better than destroying a pursuing foe with a shock combo.
Ah, memories. The games listed here are not exhaustive of my gaming history (obviously), but it was a fun sketch to draw out. It’s always interesting to look back over one’s life and examine a sort of personal evolution. Some of my first great meditative experiences were achieved with UT2k4, where single-pointed mind is the only way to bring order and control to the chaos. Well-placed shots have had a special place in my heart ever since.