Glass Broken: May 2014

Glass Broken: May 2014

2003, in a dark October night a bunch of people who pointed their alarms at 3:30 AM woke up, turned on their PC and joined the italian #ut IRC channel.

Tension was raising. Spam has never been so low. Someone was instructing people on how to join an audio stream using WinAmp. The stream was broadcasted from Seoul, South Korea. It was the commentary of World Cyber Games and it was about to live cover the Unreal Tournament 2003 duel final between our ForresT and the Dutch Lauke. Shortly before 4 AM the match starts. They were neck and neck since the very beginning.

Everyone with headphones glued to the head was trying not to wake up sleeping parents. Everyone was silent trying to decypher the English words from the host, hard to fully understand due to the low audio quality.

The 15 minutes are about to run out. Neither of the two manages to outdistance the other. First a kill for ForresT, then one for the dutchman. The frag exchange goes on until the host can be heard screaming a phrase that none of those present that night has forgotten, that “Forrest kills Lauke with a Mid Air Snaipah Shot!”.

Now everyone believes. Run Forrest Run!

In the background, the UT announcer can be heard: “One minute remains!”. The score gap holds. Countdown… The score gap keeps holding. Even before the end everyone in the chat channel went crazy. Unleash the wild spam! IRC automatically starts to kick out those who just cut and paste their cheering to death.

It was done! Our Forrest, the underdog, had beaten the strongest dueler in the world.

Shortly after that the website Tourney.it was born. Inside it started a webcomic sloppily drawed by me but awesomely written by Mischa and it was named, by chance, uWarfare. That’s why I wanted to start this sort of resurrection with this story.

Ten years have passed since Tourney was shut down. In ten years countless events happened in everyone’s life, some are not even among us anymore, but unrealers are a weird race.

An Unreal fan, deep inside, will forever remain an Unreal fan. And that explains why all websites and forums of the worldwide community blossomed to a new life in the span of few hours when Mark Rein tweeted an itty-bitty hint about an Unreal Tournament news. Nicknames and avatars last seen in 2007/8 suddenly reappeared but with cautious optimism. VERY cautious, having seen the blatant failure of UT3.

Then the streaming starts and Steve Polge appears, the man that up till the last second tried to save whatever can be saved in UT3, but was ultimately powerless against budgets and adverse publishers. Stacey Conley, one of our kind who now works in Epic. And Nick Donaldson who started everything anew with just an hour of work. They talk.

But this time everyone rejoyce. Even the dutch.