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Vol. 2, Issue 8
January 11, 2000

Birth of a Gamer:

Unreal Tournament
(A blow to my ego)

by Heather "elki" Haselkorn



  wanted senseless violence, and I got it. No plot, no goal, just kill-or-be-killed fun. In a way I think I'm somewhat ashamed of myself. I pride myself on being compassionate and eschewing violence in all its nasty forms. But my goodness, I love Unreal Tournament! I don't know whether the sudden violent streak is a by-product of my urban upbringing, or whether I was just particularly stressed out, but I had the time of my life in the three hours that I played this game. I've never had such a good time getting my ass kicked.

To be fair, there is some attempt at a plot, albeit extremely sparse and seemingly tacked on as an afterthought. No-holds-barred fighting is legalized in 2022. The year is now 2341 and I'm a member of a professional fighting league, and my "strength and brutality are legendary." Woohoo! Whodathunkit? That's about it as far as plot goes. When I picked my character, I chose a black-haired babe--hey, why not be gorgeous and deadly?

The first thing you have to do though, is play through a tutorial. Have I complained enough about tutorials in my last two columns? Although this wasn't as bad as the tutorial in Half-Life - it only took a few minutes, and it explained a lot of terminology. I guess the elementary level of the explanations might be annoying for a more experienced player, but for someone like me, it was nice to finally have the term "frag" precisely defined. One of the first things I noticed was that I could finally walk! No more motion sickness! Yay! I could now play without fear of barfing on the keyboard. I did notice that it was hard to run and shoot simultaneously, though. I beat Slain, the bot in the tutorial, and moved on to actually play the game.

Full disclosure once again: I played on the easiest skill level. I promise that next time I'll play on the default difficulty level, but at the time I was still feeling insecure. Okay? I started in single-player mode because I wanted to get used to the game before submitting to an ass-whooping by an actual human. Now, you have to get through a few deathmatches before you can go on to the other parts of the game. And I have to tell you, I almost stopped playing right then and there. What if I'm horrible at deathmatch? Why should I be forced to play it? What if I wanted to move straight into domination or capture the flag? That's not fair! And true to form, I lost a couple of times.

I lost the first deathmatch because I couldn't see where my opponent was coming from. I didn't frag him once, and I discovered that I couldn't shoot and move at the same time. I had to stop dead in my tracks, aim, and fire, and of course by then I was already dead. I wasn't used to looking around and constantly moving, so I was a pretty easy target. And it didn't help when the bot told me I sucked. Thanks. I'll go slit my wrists now. But I decided to try again. I still lost, but I killed the bot five times. Encouraged, I gave it a third try. What do you know! I won, 10:1!

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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. Birth of a Gamer is © 2000 Heather Haselkorn. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.