It is that time of year again, the time when one of our favorite games of all time becomes another year older and wow are we getting old. I’m talking about Unreal, the game that started the entire franchise that spawned three (soon four) Tournaments, a sequel, and a few championships. May 22nd marks almost a decade since the game’s release. Nine years and it still doesn’t look half bad. What made Unreal so special? Let’s check out the facts.

Unreal was rather unlike any shooter of it’s time. When the game was released, the world was mainly dominated by iD Software titles, particularly the always fun Quake 2. How did Epic manage to unseat this behemoth? First and foremost being environments. Anyone who has played Unreal and has walked out of the Vortex Rikers only to see this glorious BSP vista around them knows exactly what I’m talking about. While the Quake games were pretty in their own way, Unreal captured a new sense of beauty. The first level features vegetation, wildlife and a very pretty waterfall (For it’s time), and that was just the first level. As you dug deeper, you entered gorgeous temples, villages, natives and much more.

Another great thing about Unreal was its engine and who can say otherwise? Unreal marked the beginning of Epic’s wonderful Unreal Engine and the game really showed off what it could do. Unreal was a showcase for great lighting effects, great AI, and breath taking amounts of polygons. Enemies used tactics and the scripted events were wonderful. Go ahead and try to convince me that the first time you encountered a Skaarj in that hallway where each light turned off, you didn’t crap yourself.

Weapons were also far more advanced that most games of Unreal’s time. While the Quake series (specifically Quake 2) had the wonderful Super Shotgun, Unreal had weapons that each had a secondary mode of fire; finally a use for that extra mouse button! From shock combos to the Eightball to even the Dispersion Pistol’s charge-up beam and hidden upgrades, the weapons in unreal never got old.

So now I ask you, the community, to tell us what you remember from the game that started it all. I want to hear your experiences, memories, everything. Anything from the first impression you got to your most intense moment in the game to your favorite mod that came out for it! Send your thoughts to us and we’ll post the best on May 22nd, Unreal’s birthday! So get sending!

Remember, we'll be posting the best in a few days here, send your memories and experiences to!

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