I'll keep this short and sweet.
Shadows Angelus (SA) was the first RPG that I'd played in as a PC in almost 5 or 6 years. So, looking back on it, I would consider the first RPG I had played in as an 'adult' and also the first HERO game I had played.
Needless to say, I got baptized in fire into a whole new world of gaming. Not only did I transition from the teenage/college years of 'kick-in-the-door' style of play—but the whole tone of the game was different. It was immersive—I could feel that I was taking part in an adventure that was bigger than my character sheet. Ross's attention to detail is fantastic, and nothing went unnoticed. No matter how small, everything came back to haunt you. It was a living world and it was great playing in it. The game was fantastic.
So were the people playing in it. The gaming group is a cut above the rest, and that really makes a huge difference. The dynamic was different too—there were clearly defined roles in the party—the worst (and best) was the hard-balled Lieutenant. Getting used to such strong leadership was hard, but good in the end. It provided a dynamic drive for the team that was hard to beat. We were always doing something and risking our lives. Breaking into, and finding my character's role in the party was handled well too. The other Players were very conscientious and mature about it, and accepted me rather well. Which is nice on its own level.
Shadows Angelus was also the first game I think I had every been in that came to an EPIC closing. Normally, games just peter out and you just don't schedule the next game. But Shadows Angelus closed awesomely and that makes it just better than everything else. I'll remember this forever.