I started playing video games at a young age; I believe it was probably around the age of 5 when I can remember my first time ever getting my hands on my very first video game. It was that long ago I cannot remember the game; all I remember is that it was a football game that my grand-mother bought me for my birthday one year. When I was younger I think I only ever had two games for my Nintendo 64 and that was a 007 game and the football game I mentioned above. I will admit I was not a big “gamer” back when I was younger as I was very active when I was younger and was only ever seen in the house when I was coming home from school, getting something to eat/drink or getting ready to go to bed. I would have usually played the Nintendo 64 just before I went to school as I could hear the bus approach the gates from my bedroom window or my dad would phone my mum from the guard’s room telling her that the bus was approaching the army base, yes I lived on a army base when I was younger and travelled about a lot but that’s for another time and place!

 

When I got older and moved to Taughmonagh, South West Belfast that is when I started to really getting into gaming as I now lived closer to my family as 80 percent of my family lived in Taughmonagh. It was really my cousin David (Who I call Dee-Dee, because I couldn’t pronounce David when I was younger) got me into gaming because he and I would spend a lot of our childhood hanging out with each other and to this day we are still very close. My cousin’s dad, Bill would usually take us both to the Sunday market to buy us both a few playstation games with our pocket money we had saved throughout the week. For me the games would have usually been either Army related, football related games or racing games. I still wasn’t a bigger gamer when I was younger because I was still very active when I was a kid and preferred running around playing football than sitting in front of a television and playing console games even though I really enjoyed it, I just didn’t bother myself most of my childhood to play games.

 

I was always a “console gamer” when I was a kid but when my dad brought home a new PC which he later installed a real-time strategy game called Sudden Strike. I would spend hours and I mean hours watching my dad play Sudden Strike just because of how cool I thought it looked we even had matching T-Shirts, god that sounds so bad come to think of it! But he finally trusted me to play it and to be quite honest I became better than him at it and I was only around seven at the time, this when I found my true calling in PC games and stuck to playing real-time strategy games, although I did play Football Manager games on the PC when my Uncle Jim introduced me to them a few months after I started playing Sudden Strike. I still played my playstation but would only usually play it when I, my friends or my cousin wanted to play a football game on the consoles.

 

We later moved to Lisburn, my dad had bought a new gaming PC. Which he later bought the first person shooter game “Black Hawk Down” and Flight Simulator. I was just joining High School when we moved to Lisburn and had a better understanding of how to play games. After a year or so of playing Black Hawk Down my dad and one of his gaming friends who he had met online started a gaming clan called United Kingdom Combat Elite also known as uKce. When uKce was formed it was established to create a fun environment for gamers to come and enjoy a few rounds of Black Hawk Down together. It wasn’t until a year or so later that we started to enter the competitive gaming scene and competed in major gaming competitions to promote the clan. It started out as a few matches here and there until we realised we could actually end up somewhere with this. Although we never competed at LAN events to win money or a sponsorship (well we did once but I will get to that later) will still had fun training for a clan match and sorting out who was doing what so we could win the lower league matches to gain invites to join the major ladders. It took us a few months to establish a competitive team that was willing and dedicated to winning matches which we learned the hard way, that hard way was by getting beat nearly every game until we learned how to compete against these clans and eventually we did and started to win leagues and in 2005 uKce was handed the Northern Lights League Division 1 trophy and the Fair Play Award medal. It was only a small league with no bonus at the end of it apart from a small trophy telling us we had owns a league. This to all us in uKce meant a lot because the hard work had finally paid off.

 

We continued to play Black Hawk Down right up until we switched to Battlefield 2142. After we had won the NLL Division 1 trophy we continued to win major leagues through the Black Hawk Down competitive scene and finally put our stamp on the competitive world that a new and upcoming team was emerging from the shadows. When we finally made the switch to Battlefield 2142 and bought ourselves our own personal servers we started to recruit players who wanted to join a competitive but fun team. It was hard to begin with because the clan had a major spilt in 2006 when some players wanted to stay and play Black Hawk Down while others wanted to change to Battlefield 2142 this is when my dad and the other major founder of uKce parted ways it was a major blow to the team because Gadget as we called him was our Server operator and my dad was the web developer for the team so it was a major learning curve when we had to learn how to operate and maintain a popular gaming server. But we got there in the end and started recruiting players from all walks of life from people who wanted to come online and just enjoy themselves to people who wanted to compete in the major leagues. During our time as a Battlefield 2142 clan we got the reputation of being a fair gaming clan which to us was a major achievement because then that meant teams trusted us and knew we never recruited hackers to win the games for us. Black Hawk Down and Battlefield 2142 were defiantly my two major games when I in my early to late teens and I learned a lot from gaming. Gaming taught me how to socialise, it made be better at English and my Maths; Yeah sounds odd that gaming would teach me such skills but it is true I learned those skills as I go deeper into the gaming industry.

 

Sadly uKce is not around no more and I have quit the competitive scene of gaming and have now focused of creating a YouTube channel to hopefully earn viewers/fans who will wish to watch my gaming content and that is basically where I am now with my “gaming career” if you so wish to call it that. I do not regret anything and I would urge anyone who wants to try competitive gaming to try it because it is very rewarding and you meet some of the most amazing people, who later become your friends for life.

 

I could go on about the events I went to when I was a competitive gamer and the teams I played against but that is for another blog!

 – Chris.

 

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