So much has happened with the UT series in these past ten years, yet I can't help but always fall back on the original title that ignited the multiplayer spirit in me.

In the beginning, I was torn between playing Quake 1 and Unreal. I loved the action of Unreal's MP portion, but I seemed to play the bots more than people and I never really became a constant online. The UT demo changed all of that for me. When I first played the demo, it was something different. Yes it was a "Quake clone" as it was called at the time, but it didn't feel like one. The demo was only three or four maps and not all the game modes were included, but it didn't need anything else, I was hooked from the splash screen. Epic had gained a guaranteed full version purchase that day.

The splash screen pops up as my Pentium powered computer is working its tail off, the screen goes dark, then "Precaching". OH no, my computers going to break! As the hard drive chugs along, I start to hear epic music filling my speakers. The flyby and the story enthrall me in this new gladiatorial battle in the future. This is nothing like Unreal, this is amazing. After still being floored by the into scene, I'm greeted to a menu system that just seems right. No more stupid scrolling down menu options for me, I can use it just like Windows!

After fiddling with all the new and generous settings, I start an instant action match in one of the familiar demo maps, CTF-Coret. I figured that before I go online, I'd check to see if they'd changed anything so I could impress people with my map knowledge. I don't remember if anything was changed, but I do remember being surprised that the models in the retail version looked even more impressive than the Iron Guard males in the demo. I think that was the last time I actually ever felt that way about a games again.

UT has been an amazing experience, it sounds strange to say, but it has influenced my life, probably for the better. I've made life long friends through this game, heck I've even gone hours away just to spend a few days at a clan mates house But it's not just the individual people, clan life that I was also introduced to. When I would watch demos from people like overtoad, destrukt, or xspain, I would always be amazed at the map control and timing that they had. The way they could easily predict an opponents moves better than a pro chess player could. It was this curiosity that got me interested in becoming as good as them. Although I never got to that level, I would always strive for it and never look back. My first official clan journey started way back in 2000 with a CTF clan called the Legion of Doom "{LoD}". We played on Proving Grounds and any other ladders that we could sign up for and it was something different to me, I'd never bothered to use any type of voice software or irc to talk to people in Quake, but that all quickly changed.

The extreme competition is what made sticking with UT all worth it. Quake was fun, but UT was like a time lapse for me. I'd start playing it and then it would be hours later and I wouldn't know unless I looked up at a clock. I loved every game mode, every taunt, every weapon. My ping was always terrible, 300 - 500 and I was in lpb heaven, I felt like destrukt when I placed a combo at a walk way and five seconds later when it detonated I got a kill, ha!

UT is the only game that felt right from beginning to end. The SP ladder was fun, the bots seemed to lifelike, and the music made every match feel like it was grander and more important than if I was playing in the finals at the CPL. Currently I'm still very heavy into competition, but I don't think I have ever felt as good about a game as I did with UT. The current reiteration of UT came close for me, maybe it's a feeling of nostalgia that prevents me from enjoying UT3 even more, but there's something missing that made UT so prevalent for me.

I'll always have fond memories of UT, I don't think I every really didn't enjoy a match. The game has a great atmosphere with a story and design that just sucks you into it. Ten years is a long time in gaming history, but UT has the presence of aging like a king.