Last week, we asked the community to send in their favorite moments from Unreal to celebrate it’s 9th birthday and the results were amazing. I got plenty of emails detailing a lot of great experiences with the game and much of our staff contributed their own experiences.

There were plenty of amazing moments in Unreal for me. When I got my hands on the game, I was still a young one and I had just finished playing the demo that I downloaded on AOL’s “Antagonist” game channel. A few days after playing the demo, I found a copy of Unreal at my local K-Mart and immediately scooped it up. When I got home and installed the game, the FlyBy immediately grabbed my attention, and it looked awesome on my 3dfx card.

One of my most memorable moments in the game was the Mercenaries. The massive ship and the amazing textures really got me. Those weren’t the only things, who can forget the music in those levels? I still listen to the .umx of “K_Vision” because it gets my heart pounding and takes me back to those levels and all those memories I have of playing games back then.

A second memory that will always stay with me is walking out of a canyon only to find a giant indent in the earth, with the ISV-Kran at the other end. The sheer size of the level was amazing and fighting the titan to gain access to the ship wasn’t any picnic. Just walking around in that massive trench you got one of the best senses of size, it was truly amazing.

Below are the best replies we got from the community, as well as our staff. Happy 9th Birthday Unreal! It’s been a fun 9 years and here’s to many more!

Staff Memories:


I know there are certain key set pieces that everyone will want to mention, so I'll skip right over those and start out with a few points on why Unreal really delivered: it enjoyed an excellent mix of environments, an intriguing enemy, innovative weapons, and UnrealEd. People were lured in by screenshot of colorful levels on which you might want to vacation with the family juxtaposed alongside mythical castles and dark and leering space craft; they were enthralled by the huge Brutes and the cunning Skaarj and sympathised with the oppressed Nali. While most of the weapons had roots in more common arsenals, the multifaceted nature of each and every weapon was something new. All of this was tossed together in a long series of levels that were interspersed with opportunities to wander and admire... to really feel as if you were a part of that world.

And finally, UnrealEd.

I'll argue that the editor literally saved Unreal. Once the amazement with the singleplayer ebbed and people began to wander online, the early adopters were met with the ugly truth that the Unreal netcode wasn't quite finished! Anyone playing in those early days were treated to a slideshow of online action. No matter, the groundbreaking bots made playing offline a viable option and the eager level designers answered the call with a flood of unique designs. The more serious competitors among us today would balk at the idea of unbalanced play areas (the sniper rifle in a tower atop a tall lift) or the crazy portals (yes, portals - where did they go, Epic?), hidden areas, and traps that made some deathmatch maps more of a puzzle than a hardcore arena, but in the early days, it played right into the hands of the uniqueness of the series... and we all ate it right up! Yes, a huge level design community rallied around a game with broken netcode! Fortunately, for those that stuck around for a patch or two, the netcode was fixed, paving the way for Unreal Tournament.

My own personal memories of Unreal, in addition, to the wild and wacky maps I got hooked on downloading (thanks NaliCity!), mostly center around a wonderful Capture the Flag modification called RealCTF. Following the roadmap laid out by ThreeWave, the RealCTF team pulled off one of the most addictive versions of CTF that I've ever played. The four unique runes, the beamer (a push-pull grapple), and the classic CTF maps combined for a very fun experience. The mod community of Unreal was small, but impressive, featuring the likes of RealCTF, Infiltration, Serpentine, Unreal4Ever, and others. Those players that stuck with the game through the patches were rewarded with a close-knit community that truly laid the foundation for the Unreal Tournament explosion that would soon take place. I maintain that the Unreal Tournament experience wouldn't have shown quite as brightly were it not for the great people that circled the wagon in the early Unreal days.

The internet and the first person shooter communities have grown up (some would say matured) and have lost a bit of those happy-go-lucky days of horrible web page fan sites, ugly level designs with horrible flow, and its sense of wonder you could say. While an Unreal 3 won't bring back that nostalgia, the world is ripe for a return to that perfect mix of familiar and unknown that Unreal helped foster. Epic, you've got a great opportunity to revisit this revered franchise, a chance to take it in-house and do the sequel that you and the fans are hungering for. Bring back the Nali, bring back the castles and the huge, wonderful worlds!


When I think back to the most awe inspiring monets I had in Unreal, there are probably three that standout to me the most. The first is the breathtaking view when stepping out of the Vortex Rikers on Nyleve Falls. There was simply nothing like it in any other game at the time and it is something that will stick with me forever. The second would be The Sunspire. Not just the Sunspire level, but the fact that Epic took the time to draw it in the skybox several levels earlier, foreshadowing that later in the game you would reach it. Then the simply massive scale of the level, that you were standing at the far edge of this massive area where the end of the level was at the top of an enormous tower was also crazy to me, and is something I'm not likely to forget. The last moment that I always remember is Na Pali Haven. The level wasn't particularly breathtaking like NyLeve Falls was, but the overall design of the level and the feelings it inspired were something that I will not soon forget. Unreal was and is one of the best games of the 3D generation of games, and I'm happy to have spent so much time building and participating in it's community."

Next page... community responses!