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Quake III Is All Growed Up

Ten years. Ten piggin’ years. And still no-one’s topped Quake III: Arena in terms of raw, pure deathmatch FPS solidity and grace. Id’s last great game turned a full decade old yesterday – even though it was born into an era of Voodoo 2s and 15″ CRT monitors, it’s fearsomely alive to this day. Frankly, it’s not going anywhere any time soon – it lives on both in its original form and as the free-to-play, browser-based Quake Live. And also in an endless legion of mods, modders, maps and lifelong gamers, all inspired by the precise majesty of its high-speed bloodshed. Gentlethings and ladycreatures, yesterday was our Thanksgiving.

Sniff. You have given us so much, old man.

You lot: it is your duty to share your finest Quake III memories below. Mine is playing a charity match of Q3DM17 (a fine, fine map whose cuboid-insect shape will forever be burned into my brain) a few years back – the winner was the first to score 999 kills, all within a single match, with no breaks. That was me. That said, by about the 750 frags mark, everyone else was so achingly desperate for these hours of sustained fury, concentration and cathode ray abuse to end that they were basically lining up to be killed to speed the process along, so I don’t feel as though I truly earned every one of those kills. But I’m still proud. It destroyed my mind for the next couple of days, a sort of fraglag, but, in terms of the curious satisfaction that comes with mastery of electronic worlds, it was well worth it.

I’m not a particularly great Quake player in the grand scheme of things, but during the couple of months around that time – hour-long duels every lunchtime, followed by two-hour duels come the end of each working day – I was comfortably the best I’ve ever been and ever will be at any multiplayer FPS. Hell, probably at any videogame. If dark magicks allowed Me Now to play against Me Then, I’d be absolutely demolished. It was a time when I could truly say I was skilled at a game, and frankly there aren’t many of them. I don’t think that could have happened in any game other than Q3A.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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