I picked up the game of the year edition of Half-Life with TFC at some point in 1999, a complete impulse buy. I just wanted a new game, I wasn't that aware of Half-Life, but GOTY means good right? Right. It was pretty neat, I was shooting aliens. Here's something on a level of fail that can only give the rest of this post a point to improve from. I never came anywhere near completing even half of Half-Life.
It was about this time that my ISP bumped up my connection rate from 14k to 53k. Multiplayer was actually an option for me, and this was my first taste of what it really was. So after getting a taste of single player, I gave multiplayer a "try" and never looked back.
I remember it very well, I gave a poor showing on lambda bunker for somwhere around 4 hours. It was amazing, I went to work that afternoon and couldn't shut up about it. That was my taste and it was my second marathon that night after work that I got sucked in completely. Near the end of this marathon, the server emptied and it was only myself and a guy named DoctorDank left playing subtransit. We dueled for nearly an hour and I had just enough decent moments that he invited me to join his clan. Within that week his clan was dead and we formed our own.
=ONE=, the Official Newbie Exterminators was born. We were leaders a good core of players and regularly did matches with all the other HLDM networked clans at gamers.com. That clan network of matches eventually spawned Doc's creation of the tournament of tournaments, the annual Perseverance of Triality. 3v3v3 deathmatch. It's amazing that by random luck I came across and became friends with one of the pillars of the community.
In my singular pride book: I once obsessed enough in a week to make #1 in the world on theclq.com for HLDM, with 3 of my clanmates in the top 10 with me. And always being an early riser, one Christmas morning I started playing on OeL stalkyard waiting for my family to wake up. 300 kills and zero deaths later they were awake and angry, not capable of understanding why presents were not important on that moment on Christmas. The best was that over those years, all greatness was still achieved on my 56k modem.
I eventually stopped due to clan-running burnout and hating not being able to get a public game. One, being called a cheater for being so good, or if not called a cheater, people would quietly just quit and not want to play someone that good.
I've given hundreds of hours to several multiplayer games since, but my passion for HLDM hasn't been equaled. Particularly because I have never been as competitive with any of the successors since, purposefully, I never want competition to replace fun again.
Anyways, I owe my passion for multiplayer gaming to Half-Life deathmatch. And I also owe my lack of interest in single player to you as well, but that's ok. I will not let the world forget you.