At University, I played a handful of multiplayer games. But, always on the University's LAN — or directly on a node or cluster, via terminals in a computer lab.
I played my 1st online multplayer game, in 2001. Although I had a (relatively) new 20" Nokia CRT (1600x1200 @ 75 Hz), I was playing on a PC which barely met the system requirements. On an IBM ThinkPad T20 (Pentium-III 750 MHz and 512 MB RAM) — with a DVD/CD-ROM drive and a 56K-modem — I connected, via dial-up ISP, to the game servers for:
DELTA FORCE: Land Warrior
This FPS game had many "new" features. Many were, of course, graphics-related: lighting, shadows, and reflections off textures. If the weapon equipped had a scope, players could see hazy reflections of what was behind them — including the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Not only did the weapon-models appear "realistic", but they appeared on-screen in front of the player — with weapon-sway, which increased with faster movements. In addition to the typical array of weapons, DFLW touted one unique weapon: the XM29 OICW¹ (Objective Individual Combat Weapon).
Playing a multiplayer FPS doesn't require much bandwidth — even today. But, 56 Kbps was pushing the lower limits. I had to equip an LMG, every match, to compensate for the terrible lag I experienced. "Pray-n-spray".
Early in 2002, I finally got home broadband (5 Mbps down; 3 Mbps up). Lag was no longer an issue. I could use any weapon, effectively. But, cheating had made almost every match unbearable. One example: invisible opponents would run around the map, knifing me and all of my teammates. Why only knifing? Because muzzle-flashes were not made invisible by the cheat, so they abstained from using guns. smh
¹ See the Wikipedia entry for XM29 OICW.