In doing some, er, “research” I discovered that the Delta Force 10th Anniversary Collection existed. It was recently released. I was surprised by its existence: it’s a series that hasn’t blazed through the charts and hasn’t garnered massive critical acclaim. I was surprised that its publisher, Novalogic, was still in business. Mostly, though, I was surprised that it’s been ten years since I first played it. The original Delta Force remains one of my favourite games of all time.
The first game of the series falls into this weird historic spot between the frantic deathmatch tunnel-shooters of the mid to late 90s and the more open, squad-based tactical shooters of the 2000s. It predates Counter Strike and Irrational’s SWAT 4, and is a mere three months older than the original Rainbox Six. Delta Force was right smack in the middle of that genre defining pack, but is largely forgotten today. It had a lot of flaws and came from a developer with zero shooter experience, so maybe it’s understandable, but Delta Force had a few distinguishing features that were novel and unique at the time (and for years after) and it deserves some recognition for it.
I would like to write an objective analysis of Delta Force‘s game design, one day, but first I need to rein in my nostalgia. My sentimentality for that game is massive. I played it online, incessantly, for a year and half. It was my first contact with organized multiplayer gaming. I was in a couple of “squads.” We used voice chat, via the Roger Wilco application, to stay coordinated back in 1999. It was the most high-level multiplayer gaming that I’ve ever been involved with. We played tournaments. We won tournaments.
I was good at the game and I was good at documenting my history with it. I have (had?) an extensive collection of in-game screenshots from the earliest, noob days to the final months before life took over. I wish I could find most of those. It’s the gaming equivalent of a high school photo album. I did, however, find a small stash from the late period.
February 2000. DFWorld.com Team King of the Hill tournament. Tournament final match. DD vs le. Third round of a best of three, tied 1-1. The final moment:
It’s hard to separate these memories, from a highly competitive player, from the hassles and annoyances of the actual game experience. Maybe one day I will.