Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
An open-world taxi game set in a hyperviolent dystopian futurecity, 1994’s Quarantine is hugely exciting in my foggy memory. It felt more like a place than any game I’d played. I remember weird fares with weird lives, cars at a drive-in theater watching a cartoon of a man whipping a hot dog weiner, covertly reintroducing life to the park’s lake by launching fish with my ejector seat, a gang of punks set up in a zoo of slaughtered animals, and cruising dark streets simply trying to avoid trouble. If you wanted trouble, mind, your cab was also stacked with weapons.
It’s a weird thing. Most of the time, you’re earning cash to upgrade your cab by picking random fares up and dropping them off. This being a hyperviolent dystopian futurecity (quarantined after an experiment made everyone fighty), cars casually take shots at you and each other, but it’s not particularly malicious. You can find big fights if you want them, but mostly they’re obstacles delaying you on your journeys, albeit obstacles you can explode with guns, rocket launchers, mines, and C4 strapped to your bumper. People only care about you if you’re in their way or driving them somewhere.
Well, until you inadvertently join a rebellion fighting the local megacorp. Still, you’re mostly helping them because they’ll help you escape into new areas, and ultimately leave the city. Getting out the dark blocks of the first level into a foggy green park was hugely exciting. Watching videos now, it looks pretty frustrating. Still, the Quarantine of my memory is probably the open world I judge others against, and inside my head it’s hard to compete with goofy dystopias filled with zany punks.
And gosh, this intro cinematic!