unreal tournament 2004 look back esports
Throwback to 2004
I grew up as a computer gaming child. My summers were spent reformatting my parents old computers; installing windows from no less than twenty-five floppy disks. My driving skills were honed in the world of Wacky Wheels. From there I learned all about farming and running a city in SimFarm and Simcity respectively. Eventually, over the years, I played numerous games, in various worlds and times and had a blast. I had always enjoyed first person shooters though, and I can remember how scary the first Quake and the first Half-life games were (I was around the age of 10). When Quake 2 came out, my parents would play against me in multiplayer and wipe the floor with me. When Unreal Tournament came out we switched to playing that, as the Deathmatch and multiplayer was much more refined. It wasn’t until Unreal Tournament 2004 came out that I came to appreciate the professional scene. Frag videos were discovered and watched; specifically a match of SK Gaming versus rK on DM_Rankin.
First, some background on the team that I’ve followed and respected for years. SK Gaming has been around for an extremely long time. Founded in 1997, it started off as an organization of Quake players based mostly in Sweden. As games were developed and evolved, SK Gaming fielded teams for the new games coming out. To this day, they are still a dominant force in E-sports.
When Unreal Tournament 2004 came out, I of course, tooled around on it, going through the motions of the single player campaign and playing some bot games. First person shooter games were my bread and butter in my mind, as I had played them the most. They were also the most enjoyable; you point and clicked, and someone would get fragged. All over the maps in UT2K4 were these innocuous ramps, that I initially took for map ambiance, there just as pieces for decoration. Enter the match video of SK Gaming versus rK.
The match was a slugfest. What stood out to me though was the speed of the players. How the players navigated around the map and maneuvered around their opponents quite frankly, blew my mind. They used the ramps as ways to “slide” up a floor. This was a feature that the game developers had inserted because, in previous iterations of Unreal Tournament, players found you could “dodge-jump” to cover more ground. They took this physics breaking skill and incorporated it into their game. Watching professional players utilize this feature though was astounding.
From that frag video, I learned so much of the game. It sparked an interest in what else I didn’t know and what I could learn from professional gaming. My attitude towards any game I play now is to watch how other people do it; specifically how professional players play the game. It’s made my own gameplay better, and for me personally it’s fun to attempt to master something. That feeling when it finally clicks is extremely satisfying.
In recent times, the videos I watch are League of Legends VODS. Since right after beta testing, League of Legends has been my game of choice. Nowadays, we have twitch.tv and youtube live streaming. There are so many more ways to learn about a game. Numerous sites with detailed guides, walkthroughs, reasons behind certain actions, all abound on the internet. You can even record yourself playing games and go back through to watch what you did wrong to better yourself.
One frag video, from UT2K4, fueled my desire to become better at games. I found an organization which I still follow to this day. My competitive edge stemmed from watching SK Gaming duke it out with rK. Recently, Quake 2 and Unreal Tournament have found their way back onto my computer. It’s only a matter of time before the game that opened up my horizons gets fired back up.