Epic Games Celebrates Unreal’s 20th Anniversary By Making The Gaming Classic Free On Steam

It’s hard to believe it, but the original Unreal is 20 years old today… yes, twenty years old. The game was originally released on May 22nd, 1998 by GT Interactive and was of course the first to use the famed Unreal engine. If you’re getting on up there in age, you can likely recall fanboys proclaiming their love for either Unreal or Quake II, and the enthusiast community’s delight in eking the best framerates out of modern (at the time) Intel Pentium and AMD K6-2 processors, along with early standalone graphics accelerators.

Epic Games is celebrating the 20th anniversary of this pivotal game by making Unreal Gold Edition free for all on Steam. The game typically sells for $9.99, but you’ll be able to grab your own free copy starting at 1PM EST.

In conjunction with the 20th anniversary, Epic Games has also directed us all to a special video (and audio) tribute to Unreal Tournament. The YouTube video gives us the inside story on one of the original songs – Underworld -- that was included in 1995 alpha build of Unreal, but didn’t actually make it to the final version of the game.

To give you a true trip down memory lane, here are the original system requirements for Unreal:

  • Windows 95, Windows 98, Linux
  • Intel Pentium 166 MHz Processor
  • 16 MB RAM
  • 100 MB HDD
  • 4x CD-ROM or CD/DVD-ROM 
  • Windows Compatible Sound Card
  • Video Card with 1MB Memory

It’s amazing how far PC gaming hardware has come in just 20 years. We’ve gone from a time when 16MB of RAM was considered hardcore to a time when 16GB is about the bare minimum for gamers.

Unreal contained both a single-player and multiplayer component and was followed up a year later by Unreal Tournament (which holds a dear spot in my early multiplayer gaming heart). The last entry in the series was Unreal Tournament 3, which landed way back in 2007. Again, here's the link to download Unreal (the freebie download starts at 1PM EST).

Tags:  STEAM, Epic Games, unreal