A Trip Down Memory Lane | Part 4 | An Unreal Crysis

This has been a long time coming, a very long time coming. I couldn’t sleep last night and whilst I laid awake I was trying to remember some of my gaming history that stands out, perhaps sort of testing my memory and then I thought “hang on, I was writing articles about this, I should be doing that!!” and I decided to skip ahead to what I stated I would do at the end of the previous part of this ‘Trip Down Memory Lane’ and as I was laying there in bed, I’d spent a good few hours laying out my entire history of PC gaming between 2000 and 2008, now I realise that in the previous article I stated that I would be doing from 2000 through to 2005 but I’ve changed my mind and want to do it system by system, which kind of still makes no sense really. I had an old Windows 98 machine until 2002 when my Grandfather built me a new system, I had that until 2008 hence me wanting to end this one then, so I will. My site, not yours. 🙂

Midtown Madness’ box art

It’s kind of difficult starting this and keeping it all readable and consistent, I won’t be going into too much heavy detail as I spent 2 or 3 hours doing that in my head last night, then I fell asleep, which was nice. What I really wanted to do was to go into my history of gaming online between 2000 and 2008 but there are also other memorable times that should be mentioned and so they will.

I’ll start with 2000, Carmageddon TDR2000 came out in 2000 and being the avid lover of Carmageddon that I already was, it was purchased for me and I couldn’t play it from what I recall, it ran okay but as soon as a race began things started to go weird, so that was the end of that one until I revisited it a couple of year later on my new PC and I somewhat enjoyed my time with it.

It was also at some point during the time between 2000 and 2002 that my PC was moved from downstairs opposite my fathers to upstairs in my room, I don’t particularly recall that move itself although it must have been before I got my new PC as I remember already gaming on my PC in my room before setting up this new system. The time before getting my new PC was mostly spent playing the original Grand Theft Auto and also the first Midtown Madness, in which the sky would flicker all sorts of crazy on that old PC, it still ran alright though. My father still has a couple of videos that he recorded with his new (at the time) fancy camcorder of the original Grand Theft Auto and Midtown Madness being played on my PC, such fun.

Anyway, when I got my new PC in 2002 from my Grandfather it was an absolutely incredible moment, we plugged it in and fired it up and it had this brand new operating system on it called Windows XP, the shiney blue taskbar and the speed of it was all very confusing at the time when transitioning from Windows 98. The first things that I of course did was install all of my favourite games, such as: Carmageddon 2, Unreal Tournament, Quake III Arena, Grand Theft Auto, Need For Speed II, Worms 2, Midtown Madness (finally without the crazy sky!) and Carmageddon TDR 2000 to name a few and they all ran on max settings perfectly due to my new system’s 368mb of RAM, Nvidia Geforce 4600ti and it’s Pentium 4 running at 1.4ghz!!! Epic.

I recall a few of the older games not working, Grand Theft Auto was a pain to get working, Worms 2 sometimes looked a bit funny and Carmageddon 2 didn’t run for me at all, that was probably around the time when I first visited the CWA Board, we had dialup at the time and only my Dad’s PC was connected (my old one was hooked up downstairs but that’s some crazy wiring job to get it connected upstairs) so I used his computer when I could and wanting to play Carmageddon 2 again I tried to search the internet to find out how to get it working in this new version of Windows, inevitably finding CWABoard in the process. I registered for this forum using the email address that someone at school had given me (poor Stephen, I used his email for a lot of things) but I don’t recall my username, it most certainly wasn’t Razor as I only used that name in games and the internet seemed like something completely different to games at the time but alas, I eventually sorted my Carmageddon 2 issues and could play the game flawlessly on my shiney new computer! Hooray!

Now as the year passed I played more games on PC and would occasionally play Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament with my father who at the time went by the name of Kickass, one deathmatch in Unreal Tournament Game Of The Year Edition’s exclusive levels was particularly memorable as we spent the entire game playing with only sniper rifles and the odd Redeemer, that lasted one hell of a long time and he probably won but boy was that a fun time.

It wasn’t until late 2004/early 2005 that we got Broadband and finally I was connected to the entire world, I took advantage of this by using this Carmageddon forum I had found before to get new things for my game, probably my first venture into modding video games myself (aside from TDR2000’s paint mode,) I also played Quake III Arena online under the name Razor, which was also funnily enough a bot’s name so I usually went unnoticed.

A screenshot from Unreal Tournament 2004

In mid-2004 Unreal Tournament 2004 was released, my Dad had already owned 2003 but could never get into it so I didn’t pay it much attention but 2004 was what really grabbed my attention, it reignited my love affair with the Unreal franchise and pushed Quake III Arena right down my list of regularly played games and now that I’ve finally worked up to what will likely be the bulk of this article I should inform you that it’s now time to really detail my online gaming history with these two games between the years of 2003/4-2007/8!

I’d been an avid player of Quake III Arena since it’s release back in the late ’90s and upon being connected to the big wide web I used that opportunity to play the game online and it wasn’t long before my skills were really up there with some of the best but of course I was still going by the name of Razor and as such I was still fairly unnoticed although during my time with Q3A I did join many-a-popular and long running clan, I was in some of the longest running clans to ever grace the world of Quake III Arena but it wasn’t until the leap from regular deathmatches to everybody playing Railgun Freezetag (or Freezerail) that things really started to go crazy, that game-mode gave Q3A one hell of a kick up the arse and made things really, really fun and competitive for me. No longer were people camping the Quad-Damage up the top of The Longest Yard only to hop down and pick everyone off with a Railgun, the playing field was evened out and everyone had a railgun, a gauntlet and nothing else and some of the fondest memories of my entire gaming history came from Quake III Arena and some of those Freezetag matches.

Now I don’t want to go on too much about Quake III Arena as I played it as more of a ritual thing, I needed to play it and it needed me to play it so I played it but Unreal Tournament 2004 on the other hand was an entirely different kettle of fish. Whereas Quake III Arena was all about the deathmatches, Unreal Tournament 2004 had all different types of game-modes ranging from your average deathmatches, to big open Onslaught levels with vehicles and turrets! It had a singleplayer mode which was basically a tournament campaign against bots but it was great fun placing wagers on matches and appointing new players to my team, it really did expand on what the original Unreal Tournament had done with it’s singleplayer mode but singleplayer is not what I want to talk about, I want to talk about the multiplayer which, for some reason I never really bothered with until some point in 2005, I decided to click that multiplayer button and join a few games and after thoroughly enjoying myself for I don’t know how long, I one day decided to head into the UT2004 built-in IRC channels and it was at this point that everything changed.

One of my Deathmatch levels, created in 2005

I recall this like it was yesterday (this of course being the following interaction and not exactly what was said) and there are people that can vouch for me on this one (I’m looking at you, Broly) but during my time in one of UT2004’s IRC channels I was talking to a fella by the name of AOD-Neo (at least it may have been Neo, I had his exact name in my head not five minutes ago but now it’s gone and Neo seems pretty close to what I recall) and he had asked me if I wanted to take over his clan Angels Of Darkness as he was done with the game and wanted to move on, I accepted and it was at that point that UT2004 became my game. Initially AOD was just a thing that was on my name, I played a few deathmatches and gained a few friends that also wore the tag “AOD-” before their names but then I discovered the fantastic world of trials maps, Trials was a game-mode that was based off of the game’s Assault mode, people would make maps that were based solely around extremely tricky and difficult platforming in order to reach a goal, one team had to perform these increasingly difficult trials *ahem* and the other team would (usually) just spawn in a tiny room with no exit that simply just told them to switch teams.

Angels Of Darkness became a trials clan and I’d like to push it to the trials clan but I shouldn’t because we were never as infamous as .:LLS:. (Low Life Scum in name, low life scum in nature) but anyway, the clan rapidly expanded and engulfed the trials scene in UT2004 to a point where we were into the hundreds when it came to members and yeah I really did lose track, I began creating my own trials levels with all sorts of bullshit things in, such as: Rooms that would tell you how and when you were going to die but not do it until you weren’t expecting it, rooms with floors that didn’t exist and the ever-lovable room that would ultimately lead you down a series of small corridors only for you to be teleported into a tiny room full of absolutely disgusting imagery on the walls! I was nasty back then.

As the year passed and AOD kept on growing and growing I felt very frustrated with the whole thing, the clan pretty much had it’s own international division that had never even heard of me or how the whole thing started and there were a lot of people that just used the “AOD-” tag because it was something to do and were never intending to be a part of our community whatsoever, so I put an end to it and quietly left the clan of my own accord and became extremely fed up with the whole thing, at which point I spent a week or two under a different tag “!FTW!” which stood for Fuck The World (it was not related at all to Taz or ECW, that was a later thing for me) and it was my job to go around and be a complete dick to everyone else playing trials on my servers but that didn’t last long as myself and another member of AOD decided to create another clan with very specific rules and we had decided to call ourselves the Warriors Of Evil (looking back on it, I don’t think at the time I realised that it was to contrast my feelings about the Angels Of Darkness.. Interesting) or full clan tag being “!FTW![WøE]” and our rules were that anybody joining had to change their name to “!FTW![WøE]Warrior_V” and the number that they were in the clan, I was Warrior_V2 and the other chap (Nick I think his name was, or Shane, or something) was V1 and due to our crazy rules the clan stayed very small, I think during it’s run only ever reaching around seven members, all named !FTW![WøE]Warrior_V-something and I have to tell you that when all of us were in a server together, that scoreboard looking damned intimidating!

To cut a long story… Long, we had a website that was some really shitty free hosted site that was linked to a free domain and things went on until the clan disbanded and everyone went on their merry way, I did make some good friends from UT2004 who I am still friends with now though but after the Warriors Of Evil thing, UT2004 sort of faded into the back of my mind until around 2006 when I got back into it. At the time I was creating music (HAH, how not to use the word ‘creating’) under the alias of Ice Weasel and I’d joined a little clan with someone called Kittykewl, the clan was called Mirror Image but the tag was “]db[” because that looked cool and mirrored and totally-not phallic, I was ]db[iceweasel and there were only three of us in this clan, we spent a good few months playing some trials maps and I’d made a few for us with specific secrets for us to all find with pictures of ourselves and trophies in them for example and then once that was over and done with my life with Unreal Tournament 2004 slowly faded into history and all that’s left is my poor memory and probably a few archived images online somewhere.

Half-Life 2 Screenshot

Now I did warn you that was going to be the bulk of this article but I’m still not done as we all know what game came out in 2004, don’t we? Half-Life 2 and I can remember the very first time I saw Half-Life 2, we were at my Uncle Andy’s (he’s actually my Godfather but we call him Uncle) and he’d got this brand new Half-Life game and he wanted to show me and my Dad, so we went upstairs to his room and he showed us this one part of the game just after you first visit Kleiner’s lab and Barney throws you the crowbar for the first time, I recall my Uncle and my Dad being amazed at the way the crowbar sort of fell at your feet and you could actually pick it up and then he smashed the wood that barricaded the gate shut and it looked incredible, this was really the future of gaming and once I had got Half-Life 2 I really couldn’t stop playing it and then Valve just kept on giving with Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two and then Portal which completely blew my mind on an entirely different level.

During this whole time I had kind of forgotten about my old love Carmageddon and never really thought much about it until around the time I left school, I was having a bit of a tidy (which if you’ve seen my old room, a bit of a tidy doesn’t go a long way at all) and I’d found out my old Carmageddon 2 and TDR2000 big boxes and started playing Carmageddon 2 again and eventually, on December 1st 2007 I registered at the CWABoard properly and began my journey into creating my own content for Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now! My history with the Carmageddon community and the great friends I’ve made over there will probably be looked into more in the next part of this ‘Trip Down Memory Lane’ but one thing that must be said is the free hosted website that I had back in 2007/8 was absolutely awful and looked like it was taken straight from 1999 and it is still online and easily accessible! Maybe this will remind me to try and get it removed for good, haha.

The beauty of Crysis

In late 2007 I started College and in one of the classes people were talking about the PCs that they had and I revealed that I still had my old Pentium 4 that I’d got in 2002, much to the amusement of the class but I never needed anything else so I never looked into the advancement of computing hardware over these years and didn’t feel like I was lagging behind at all because I could still play Carmageddon 2, I could still play Quake, I could play Half-Life 2 on high and I could even still play Unreal Tournament 2004 on moderately high settings and I never wanted or needed a new system until a few months later when a little known company called Crytek released Crysis… Now I needed a new PC.

I attempted to ignore Crysis as I was happy playing around with what Steam was offering at the time, I played all of the games that were on there but after another year and the arrival of GTAIV, I had decided that enough was enough and that I should spend the money that I had earned at College through my Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) on a new computer and I decided to purchase a new computer from a company called Eclipse. It was late-2008 and this system had an Intel Core2Quad Q6600 running at 2.4ghz, 4GB of RAM and a Nvidia Geforce 9800GT and it ran Crysis pretty swiftly, it also ran GTAIV pretty okay at times too but we all know why GTAIV barely runs on anything.

And without going into too much more, that was a relatively brief history of my time with PC gaming from 2000-2008! That took a while and brought back a lot of fond memories, if I am able to find any remnants of my online gaming past then I shall attempt to include them within this article, could be fun to see what is still around but I won’t know until I finalise this part, thank you very much for reading and I shall see you in Part 5 where I go into the next generation of consoles as well as gaming on this newer PC!
EDIT: It turns out very little still exists from back then, shame.

Until then, thanks for reading and good gaming.