Hey, what's up, folks? This is going to a lengthy post haphazardly chronicling my time with RA and many will probably be able to relate, in some form.
My first name on Westwood was Warheads. I went under the Moniker SPEEDBALL.
Red Alert was given to me in December of 1995, as a Christmas present. I want to thank the Salesman at Compusa for recommending this game to my mother. The first time i played a game online; I was hooked. I wasn't very good at the time, as i am sure others weren't, either. During this time it was the RA Generals, Vaders, Lord Vegas' and other names i can barely remember.
Seeing the chat rooms filled with players meant a long day was ahead. The room would be filled with general banter, name calling and a slew of a Cases or Netleague game, my rank is. There were no shortage of games to be played and this made the game so fantastic as someone new to online gaming.
As i got better, the butterflies and nervousness of playing good players would always take over and i loved it.
I started my days on The Netleague ladder and quickly rose through the ranks. Until Players that i once beat (Nexx, John Wild) starting destroying my scatter (x) tanking. I had no idea how they were dancing around my tanks. A simple waypoint (q) hotkey revolutionized the game for me. Battles were now fierce and intense when going against a capable opponent. I loved it. Although my mother didn't care too much for my 20 hour sessions.
I then decide to join cases. I remember back then Cases had different classes for each series of rankings (e.g. 1-100 Brigadier , 200-300...). I don't know why but i thought that was so cool. Give me some slack. I was a young teenager. I never got much higher than 200 during this time. Still utilizing ridiculous techniques in a game that was based on tank rushing, but the game was still so much fun.
I was around for the Campbadass and Gamestat Tournies and the mplayer craze and the cheap westwood disconnect bs. I remember having to play Nike1 in the playoffs but one of those was a scam, so we never played. I remember beating may great players and after thinking they were all immortal. I also remember losing.
I eventually got to a good status but never great. I topped out in the 20s on the ladder. As the Josef's and Skatanaa's and IamJJs of the world populated the top positions.
Then there was mplayer and the Ten players coming to Westwood. My prime happened when a lot of the good players left making me wonder how much more fun the game would have been for me. There were still very good players, though.
Around 2001 was my final game. I still never did get a 1-spot, but that is ok. My best rank was 4 as it was very hard to find the top 5 players.
Years later i had nostalgia and did some researching and found that RA is now a diskless executable. Fired up Kali and starting playing on p4. Still as much fun, now, as it were, then.
Around 2008, i went back again to Kali and was amazed there were quite a few people still playing.
Fast-forward to present day and one of my work buddies brought up RA and the nostalgia came pouring back. More searching for the game lead me to the anniversary edition and cncnet. Out of my own curiosity i log into the chat and i see familiar names like Rosssi (i know i missed some s's) and robskate and the ORA moniker.
I have constantly told people time and time again how RA was the greatest RTS game ever made. At least, it was for me. The simple mechanic of speed and tank rushing always brought the adrenaline. Every RTS game after RA was a disappointment for me. As Total Annihilation started pulling players and other RTS after it, the RA days were becoming bleak.
I am pretty sure RA will always be with me. Even if its a game i play once a year or in thought. With some of the familiar names - i question: do you feel the same way?