Americas Army--circa 2003
Playing an Online FPS for the first time:
Thesis statement: Playing an Online game for the first time is a unique experience.
Playing on the internet against real people, in a real fun game for the first time is an exciting thing. But I had never experienced it until they year 2003.
Back in the days of dial-up, pixels, and ugly 3d graphics, I didn't get to play many first person shooters, especially those on-line ones. I had so much fun playing Goldeneye multiplayer for the few hours that I did, and thought it would be awesome to play it with twice as many people, and with a keyboard and mouse.
But those games cost money, and they cost an internet connection, something of which I didn't have.
Then came along a free pn-line FPS that didn't absolutely suck. Having downloaded it and then realizing we also needed a machine that was 5x better than what we had, we still couldn't play.
But to make a long story short, we started playing Americas Army in late 2002/early 2003.
Why Americas Army was so fun:
I joined a server and realized... hey, that guy over there is a real person! It's not a dumb computer who barely moves and has terrible aim! I played around a little and thought, this map is crazy! I wanna go everywhere and stuff. Then there were enemies, objectives, and hiding places! It was crazy!
Days pass and you join more games. There's so many different maps to try out. If one map is so fun, then the others must be fun too. You could play different sides, try out different guns, try out different maps, use different strategies, get different objectives. It was so different, new, fun, and interesting.
I would join a game one day and think: Ok, what strategy can I use against THIS specific Defense Team to assault into the pipeline building? Ok, I'm in. How should I approach this door? There might be an enemy on the other side. Should I flash it? Nade it? Smoke it? Or just run out, guns blazing?
I would kill the enemy, or I would die, learning a new lesson in FPS.
So many crazy situations would come upon me, and so many different ways to handle them. You could run, hide, close doors, nade, shoot, go prone--all sorts of different stuff.
You could spend hours learning strategies and how to handle specific objectives whether you were on Assault or Defense. It was so fun, and it never got old, because almost every situation could play out a different way, depending on dozens of variables.
Then years pass and you get used to this thing called "Online gaming." Playing with real people isn't so crazy anymore. Strategies and tactics are like 2nd-nature. Fun still? Yes. But new, exciting, different? No.
And now it's 2006. Online gaming is old. FPS games are old. Strategies are old. Tactics are old. Games are very, very, old.
Conclusion: I'm not exactly sure. Online games are not the same today as when you first played them.