Frags For The Memories: Quake Is Twenty Today

Twenty years ago today, id Software released Quake. Following a multiplayer test that gave the world a first glimpse of the studio’s new, cutting edge 3d engine, the full game arrived on June 22, 1996. Its bizarre mash-up of medieval architecture and crunchy, industrial weaponry didn’t run through the sequels, which have focused on both singleplayer and multiplayer combat, and there hasn’t been anything else quite like it in the two decades since release.

Arena-based Quake is set for a revival with the recently announced Quake Champions, but here, we remember the original. Happy twentieth, Quake.

Alice: I’d declare that Quake Made Me if: 1) we were still doing that; and 2) Pip hadn’t given me an informative talk on where babies come from. But Quake is certainly the game which made me love PC gaming specifically.

After months of playing the singleplayer (I couldn’t afford many games), I discovered mods. I played the campaign over and over with wacky megaguns and dog buddies and grappling hooks and character classes and portal guns and goodness knows what else. I didn’t have the Internet yet but still poked around multiplayer mods from hoverboard racing to Team Fortress, wondering what they’d be like with other people. Then I took my first steps into multiplayer with Reaper bots. Quake kept growing and growing as I plundered PC Gamer cover discs (which is probably where my readme file interest comes from).

Then I discovered I could make my own mods. I sloppily edited skins in a shareware version of PaintShop Pro 5, made leak-ridden and game-crushing levels in Worldcraft, and even tried hacking together mods by copy and pasting QuakeC code from different mods as I couldn’t write a lick myself. Most of it didn’t work at all, what did work was rubbish, and I adored it. PC gaming was the one for me.

John: It took me a while to realise that I enjoyed Quake. I had been such a big fan of Doom, playing it through to that awful bunny-head-on-a-spike final graphic so very many times, and then along came the thing that was supposed to be better than it. But it was different from it. And one hell of a lot gloomier.

And then, as I played, I realised how much I enjoyed it. How familiar it was becoming. Going back to it now, as writing this offers the perfect excuse, there’s a mix of nostalgia and surprise. Gosh, those sound effects are all so very familiar. But cripes, had we really not fully implemented mouse-look by that point?! Especially daft, since the game did let you look around by holding down a button, although I think even I was struggling to make the transition from all keyboard controls at that point.

You know, I don’t think it holds up as well as Doom. The graphics fell into an awkward middle spot, between Doom’s iconic 2.5D chunky pixels, and the mind-bending smoothness of Quake II. Playing it now, it’s a rather messy blur, a brown/grey smudge of a game. But heck, the whole of it, each of those huge, superbly designed levels, all fits into 55MB. That’s madness. And what levels they were/are, running with Dark Forces’ bold use of multiple levels and making it feel far more instinctive. And yet they feel less like returning to an old holiday location than picking any random level from the original Doom.

There’s no question it’s majestic, and it would be outright lunacy to deny its massive influence on the course of gaming, but for me, hmmm, it was more of a step from Doom to Quake II.

Alec: I have never replayed Quake in its entirety; in fact, I don’t think I’ve even played the full version, just the extensive shareware. Oh, those were the days: kids harvesting huge chunks of shooter for free, then never playing the full editions until someone passed them a pirated copy. How come that business model didn’t stick around, eh? But Quake is nonetheless a game which has burned indelible images onto my brain:

– The difficulty selection segment, which in my case was a true test of ability. I couldn’t actually manage the jump required to access hard mode, so was effectively stranded in easy. Mouselook was brand new to me at that point, even in its half-formed Quake incarnation, and I was for a long time bamboozled that I couldn’t just use the cursor keys.

– Some kind of elevator in the earliest level, which took me down, down, out of metal and stone corridors and into some kind of great outdoors. It seemed so unspeakably real, and the multi-tier level almost too vast to comprehend. Ah, innocence.

– The Shambler: the greatest, scariest, most massively unfair videogame monster I had ever seen. I’m not entirely sure that this has ceased to be the case, in fact.
The dogs gave me hell.

– I found the ‘secret’ low-gravity level and I genuinely could not believe my eyes. I even called my dad, with whom I had a pretty fractious relationship at that point, and who constantly tried to stop me from playing games, in to see it. We were truly living in the future, I decided: he grunted in scorn at my repeated deaths and walked off. God, that’s how you do a secret level though; never bettered.

– I think Quake might be the only game for which I can close my eyes and conjure up specific textures. I can see its walls and floors and crates so incredibly clearly. It might not have been a constant in my life like its predecessor DOOM has been, but by God it blew open the doors of what I thought was possible; it said that games did not have to look like what I had I spent the last decade thinking they did. It said that they could become another reality.

– I spent an entire Summer holiday trying and failing to make the notorious, unofficial X-Men total conversion work on my PC. I never did, so to some undying teenage part of me it remains a dream game. I am almost certain it would be the exact opposite, so no, there’s no way I’m trying it now.

Adam: One of my friends managed to download Qtest, the three map multiplayer demo/experimental build/beta a few months before the real Quake arrived. At the time, I wasn’t particularly interested in a multiplayer game because playing would be such a faff. We’d had the occasional LAN party to play Doom deathmatch but playing online was out of the question. I couldn’t even download the test because using the dial up internet connection for more than ten minutes at a time was grounds for, well, being grounded.

I was underwhelmed at first. The palette was drab, the environments were caught in a halfway house between the abstraction of a maze game like Doom and the apparent realism of bridges and buildings. What was this world supposed to be, and what kind of creatures would populate it?

We soon found out the answer to the second question when some enterprising internet-people figured out a way to spawn enemies. They weren’t quite the finished product but getting a first look at what seemed to be diseased dogs, blocky ogres and angry soldiers was enough to convince me that Quake would deliver something worth my time and money.

I hadn’t known what to expect at all before playing the game for the first time. There had been rumours of a fantasy RPG, with a Thor-like character slamming people around the level with a great big hammer. I remember hoping there’d be vehicles, despite the apparent medieval setting. It was exciting because whatever Quake turned out to be, it would be the next thing from the people who made Doom, which was far and away the best action game I’d ever played.

Here are the things that I most vividly remember from my first few hours with the finished product:

– Grenades bounced, spewing out gobbets of smoke. They made a big THUNK as they hit the walls. I’d never seen anything quite like it. Instantly, I wanted to see games in which everything rebounded, recoiled and reacted.

– There was a Nine Inch Nails logo on the nailgun ammo. I’d been as excited about hearing a Trent Reznor soundtrack as I had to see a new id game, such were my teenage musical tastes. The audio that we got had more in common with the Various Ominous Drones Reznor contributed to Lost Highway than an actual soundtrack, but that was perfect. Quake sounded meaty, industrial and grim, just as I’d hoped it would.

– Ogres continued to confuse me. They looked like barbarian butchers, but they had big ol’ chainsaws and grenade launchers. I still don’t know what that was all about. Watching them blow themselves to pieces if they got stuck in a pit was enjoyable. Like dogs, ogres can’t look up.

– Fiends, with their rip ‘n’ tear claws and faces full of bloody teeth, scared the heck out of me.

Despite that final point, Quake didn’t unnerve me in the way that Doom had. It felt more like an attempt to make a finely honed action game than a showcase for atmospheric design, the audio aside. Perhaps that’s due to the confusion of the environments and enemies, or perhaps it’s a byproduct of the technological leap forward muddying the artistic waters a little.

As a singleplayer game, Quake has never been among my favourites. But as a multiplayer game it won me over to the idea of LANs and fragging completely. Even now, more than a decade after setting up online games has become simplicity itself, I don’t think I’ve ever spent as much time playing any game competitively as I did Quake. I even designed maps, usually involving some gothic cathedral idea, with switches to open up great pits of lava and other traps.

I was legitimately good at Quake, mainly because of the hours I put in rather than any real skill, and it absorbed me completely. I can still tap out the routes to weapons and powerups when I picture my favourite maps. I can still feel the burn of the lightning gun, which always seemed cheap to me, burning through armour as if it were made of balsa wood (it took concentration and skill to direct the bolt, but I struggled to use it effectively so fuck that).

Quake occupies a strange place in my memories. A formative game, definitely, but I didn’t latch onto deathmatch for long once my days with Quake were done. Those days stretched into years though. Perhaps that’s what makes Quake special – it formed a sort of cul-de-sac in my mental map of gaming and is still my ideal of the multiplayer shooter.

Further reading:

John Romero has been talking Quake today, with a lovely set of early images from the game and a link to a .txt file containing interviews and previews about the game from back in the day, including what might have been as well a what eventually was. It’s all well worth a read.

“if you kick a monster down from a cliff, it won’t just fall down. it will spin round and round and flail with its arms. and you can cut an enemy’s neck and take its head to sacrifice it to the gods of darkness, or wherever you might need the head. at this time, the head is a separate model so the enemies can look up and down and to different directions. and if you hit a monster to the head or upper part of the body, it may stumble backwards. and if you hit it to the legs, it may stumble forward. or if you see a guy standing on the edge of a tall cliff, you can run and kick him. he will fall down from the cliff, and get a big headache.”

Quake’s entry in our 50 Best FPS Of All Time

“Quake, perhaps more than anything else, is the template for what a first-person shooter is today, especially in terms of deathmatch. That said, overlook the single-player side of things at your peril: it remains fiercely playable, with some excellent monsters and superbly imaginative level design, and a reminder of how brutal and thrilling things could be before the transformations of Half-Life.”

Gaming Made Me: Quake

“Somewhere in the dusty attic of my parents’ house, there will be a box. My parents rarely throw anything away: if there’s excess clutter, the situation is analysed, and the least useful items get taken up into the loft, where they might sit for years, if not decades. Inside the box, there’ll be all manner of child’s drawings. Drawings of cars and of planes, of rollercoasters and wild animals. There’ll be the first three pages of a book called ‘The Mystery of the Lost Pin’, scrawled in a young child’s handwriting and discarded by his attention span. And there’ll be an exercise book, filled from cover to cover with level designs, monster sketches and weapon ideas. They’ll have been there since 1996, when I was eight, and they’ll all have been influenced by a single game: id Software’s seminal 3D shooter, Quake.”

Free-To-Frag: Quakeworld’s Once-Planned Business Model

“Quake had started building a multiplayer community even before release, with Qtest, and QuakeWorld was to encourage that competition and bragging something fierce. “All frags on the entire Internet will be logged,” Carmack schemed in a .plan file update (an awkward precursor to weblogs, using the hilariously-named ‘Finger protocol’) in 1996”

Have You Played… Quake?

“Spawn, sprint, left turn, elevator, shoot at the dog, cross the bridge, through the door, shoot the exploding barrel, left, right, right, hit the button to cover an acid pit, turn right down a corridor, hit the buttons down the ramps, hopping banisters to save time, left, right, up the ramp and hit the exit. Steam estimates that it takes 55 seconds to download Quake on a modern connection. I can complete the first level of its first world in 20 seconds. But it takes me no time at all to remember each part of the first first-person shooter I played.”

Make Quake With TrenchBroom

“It’s cross-platform, so you can totally use it in your future Valve-Linux-Steam-Boxmajig, or a pod-person’s Apple Macintosh. Does that excite you? It excited me, and I’m not even going to make anything. I just love that someone out there can give 16 year-old game a new lease of life. There’s something very PC about it all. It’s like we’re helping a punch-drunk boxer go out in style.”


“By comparison, SUPERQOT is a bit janky, since Quake’s grunts, Death Knights, Scrags and Ogre’s were never designed for real-time-with-pause combat. Still, it’s fun. There’s a single tip-ex’d level with sixty enemies to prance your way around, and it’s a fair challenge given the number and relative strength of the enemies you’re facing.”

This Flash Port Lets You Play Quake In Your Browser

“Flash: what can’t it do? Well, it can’t fix the wonky big toe I’ve got as a result of kicking a rock when I was 13, that’s what it can’t do. But it can run a remarkably smooth version of the original Quake in a browser. Mouse support, the constant bane of Flash games, is a little off – you have to hold down the left button to activate mouse-look, meaning firing happens with Control, but it works pretty well nonetheless.”

Happy birthday, Quake!

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  1. Bobsy says:

    My abiding memory of Quake was playing it with wholly inappropriate soundtracks. Once installed you could play it without the CD in the drive, but it would still check any disc with audio tracks and play them automatically.

    My most common choice was Parklife by Blur. It was the nineties. These days I can’t fire a nail gun at a shambler without Damon Alburn in my ears.

    • Distec says:

      I had a similar experience with Half-Life: Uplink and a random Mike & The Mechanics CD.

      Didn’t realize Dad left the disc in the PC, so I went through the Hazard Course thinking this was some intentionally weird OST choice.

      • haldolium says:

        and one more to the accidental cd soundtrack group… took me some time figure out it’s been an audio cd my sister left in the tray.

        Great times…

        • melnificent says:

          And another accidental soundtrack. Alanis Morissette – Ironic, which kind of matched up when you ran out ammo and needed more than an axe to beat a shambler.

      • Sic says:

        For me it was the first Turok game and The Fat of the Land (The Prodigy, of course). Pretty damn great.

    • Sharpe says:

      I used to listen to a CD that I bought from a band performing on a local street. It was smooth spanish-guitar jazzy type music. e.g., girl from ipanema was one of the songs on it. To this day, Quake feels spanish or south american to me.

      I also played a lot of Doom 2 with the star trek first contact soundtrack playing – specifically two songs on loop; Oobie doobie by Roy Orbison, and Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf.

    • Zekiel says:

      My memory of inappropriate music is Pacelbel’s Canon, which my sister was learning on the piano when I played Quake. For some reason it seemed to fit, and that’s what I remember when I remember Quake.

  2. Urthman says:

    I’ll never forget that ogre turning around with a roar and swinging his chainsaw at me at the beginning of the second level. Best jump scare in a video game until Half-Life’s headcrabs came along.

  3. renzollama says:

    I reinstalled Q1-3 after playing DOOM recently and found the shooting to still be more enjoyable than most of the other shooters in my steam install list. To be clear, I’m not a neckbearded anti-modern weirdo, I enjoy modern shooter mechanics plenty, but playing around with the Quake games still feels really good. Now if only they’d discount Quake IV so I can complete my collection (I know everyone hates it but I never even played it at release…leave me alone)

    • aoanla says:

      I actually don’t hate Quake IV.

      I do hate one or two bits of it, where the player is complicit in unnecessarily sadistic method of killing an enemy, but generally I think it’s a fairly solid attempt to reboot Quake 2 into what was a more modern shooter format at the time. (And some of the enemy model redesigns are a massive improvement on Q2s – see the Iron Maidens, for example).

    • Bobsy says:

      Quake IV is a more than passable shooter, but marred by an utterly drab and directionless art style… Well, nearly directionless. It has a REAL fetish for mutilation and body horror, right from the opening cutscene where a dismembered torso casually flies past the camera.

    • Perjoss says:

      I also didn’t hate Quake 4, it certainly felt like a game that hadn’t been created by id but it had Strogg and the usual Quake weapons like a rocket launcher and the railgun. The graphics were quite nice when it came out too.

  4. RaunakS says:

    Since there was only computer in my town and a queue half the towns length to get in it, my early gaming experiences were weirdly fragmented. I played bits of Dangerous Dave and Prince of Persia, managed to complete the first world of Wolfenstein 3D and then I discovered Quake.

    Gods I loved the game.

    I don’t think anything can quite capture the viceral sense of a truly nonsensical demonic world, with even selection of difficulty being a test. SO few games can have that kind of impact anymore, quite possibly because we have seen all genres that could possible exist.

    • disorder says:

      I played Quake, for years it felt like. It had less character, or place than doom, less slick than Quake 2 in any measurable extent but it’s the one I never quite uninstalled. It was always something else, apart; and it basically invented so much of everything that came after that so r_wateralpha 0.0 became taken for granted.

      It came seemingly, by deific ordination at the right time, the inflection point of the internet, and for accelerated graphics (wish I still had my original voodoo 1). It never got boring, and mods and maps seemingly never stopped being made, with negligble story, but real challenge. The amount of calls I spent on 33.6k dialup trying to get a full download of zerstorer, penumbra, ikspq’s quake rally, or all the others..

      As much as I loved the later unreal’s strange and beautiful mix of medieval and technological (how did that occur, one is given cause to wonder), quake always had /one more/ mysterious temple to actually, explore. That’s what it felt like. That’s partly why it meant something to me.

      And it still does. link to or specifically link to

      I don’t know I’ve seen anything that really changed so much, since, or even, if anything still can.

  5. Barberetti says:

    Quake supported proper mouselook from the start. All you had to do was drop the console and type “+mlook” into it.

    Anyway. Ah, my favourite game. Can’t believe it’s been 20 years. I’ll be raising my glass to those years of glorious carnage tomorrow night, and hopefully playing the game over the weekend if I get the chance.

    • Barberetti says:

      Fuck it, I’m having that drink now, and going to play me some Quake!

  6. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    I didn’t play it that much. I’d loved Doom, and played a lot of Doom 2, but never got into Quake until Quake 2 (and Quake 2 remains the only Quake game I’ve finished).

  7. Aerothorn says:

    I was expecting Jim to appear in this post :(

  8. aoanla says:

    Quake was really my first introduction to “PC” gaming. We’d been an Amiga-owning family for years (and I have fond memories of the Amiga), but we finally bought a Windows-based PC in later 1996 (I think it might have been a combined Birthday/Christmas present, partly, so it would have been maybe 6 months after Quake came out). I remember being particularly excited to play Quake, as I’d managed to get a copy of PC Gamer’s “Top 100 PC Games”, which featured it at the exalted #1 position… and also, I’d been reading some fan websites which had built up my enthusiasm.
    In retrospect, I think that my anticipation carried me through Quake a little more than the game itself (I’d been expecting something more… narratively complex, and more subtle in design), but I still have a real soft spot for the single player game, and its dark, weird mishmash mixing of gothic castles, near-future military, and Lovecraftian temples; and its use of ostentatious displays of the 3d engine (like traps where the entire floor splits in two, just to show you it can do it).

    Of course, soon after, we managed to persuade some of our teachers to turn a blind eye to after-school Quake deathmatch, and that’s really another deeply positive memory of mine. We started out with vanilla Deathmatch (who plays on Teams?), but when one of us discovered this new mod called “Team Fortress”, we ended up just switching whole-sale to that.
    (Quite apart from the then-innovative class-based teamplay, I think the thing that grabbed all of us was that it used the space for a “demo” of the gameplay for a “cinematic” trailer for the game, in early Machinima style and overblown soundtrack.)

    Long after I completed the single-player campaign (with maybe quite a lot of use of cheats…), the mod scene and the growing set of bot-AI deathmatch mods kept me booting up the game. (I even started a doomed-to-failure overly ambitious plan to write a mod for Quake myself – it would have let you “play as the monsters”, but I never managed to resolve some weird issues with changing the player’s movement mode, and discovered that some other guy was making a much more advanced version of the same thing via the newsgroup, so …)

    Quake might not have invented the mod scene, and it might have been less ambitious in some ways than I would have liked, but it gave me my first introduction to the idea that a computer game (or any piece of software) could be open to modification by the community, and what the community could do when allowed to. It really did essentially invent Machinima, though, which is something else I’m very grateful for.

    I’ve rambled on for quite a bit now, but I think Quake deserves some self-indulgent nostalgic rambling for its 20th…

  9. wcq says:

    I was in the same boat as Alec, having never played the full version of the game. With the 20th anniversary coming up I decided to finally go for it and got the pack from GOG.

    Somewhat surprisingly for me, the game still holds up very well. A lot better than Q2, in fact, a game I have fond memories of playing as a kid. It’s one of the last great FPS to really embrace abstract level design, and combined with the anachronistic mix-up of fantasy and sci-fi, it gives the game a dream-like quality that’s hard to find in these games nowadays. And, of course, the soundtrack really drives home the atmosphere.

    Despite how much backlash I remember the game being subjected to back in the day for being “another Doom”, it It really is quite a different beast in retrospect.

  10. int says:

    I love the Shambler, and I would love a new Quake with the original monsters. I like Stroggs but the original Quake ones would be amazing in current graphical fidelity.

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    Minsc_N_Boo says:

    I can’t believe it’s been 20 years. I didn’t have a pc till after Doom 2 had been out a few year. Quake was the first big shooter I got to experience the pre release hype.

    I played the shareware demo, and then got the full version. I played it to death, and then glquake brought a whole new experience. The shambler still haunts my dreams

  12. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Quake was the game that forced me to learn to use mouse-look for the first time.
    Before that I’d used joysticks or keys to look around, the mouse’s use in games was to control a cursor only.
    I can still sort of remember that afternoon as I finally forced myself to abandon the cursor keys, in order to be more competitive against my friends in the deathmatch we were playing at school. And to my slight chagrin, finding it much easier than I’d expected, and so much better as a means of control.
    So thanks Quake. You gave me so much, but I’ll always remember you for giving me mouselook.

    • Barberetti says:

      Yeah, same here. I still remember the moment I overtook my keyboard only skill level. It was that level where you get to the exit door on a grassy section at the top of a cliff (via a lift I think), and some fiends jump at you from either side. I circle-strafed round them and took them all out with minimal damage, and when it was over, I gave my monitor the middle finger while shouting “EAT THAT FUCKERS!”.

      Then I sat back with a huge grin thinking “Oh fuck yes!” It was like I’d entered a whole new world, and there was definitely no going back.

      I had a friend who lived round the corner from me at the time. He’d bring his PC round for deathmatches regularly. We were pretty even skill-wise with just the keyboards, so we always had really close, intense matches. So, it’s about a week since the above, and he’s turned up for a Quake session. He knew I’d been practicing with the mouse for a couple of weeks by then, and asked me how it was going with it. Not bad I reply.

      We get into a match on DM4.

      I hit 20-0 before he’s flipped his keyboard over and gone “Ok, show me how to set this fucking mouse up!” :D

  13. melnificent says:

    For anyone looking to play quake now, make sure to grab the darkplaces engine, and if you can find a working link Rygels ultra hi-res texture pack.

    • wcq says:

      I’m rather partial to the Quakespasm engine myself, since it’s very faithful to the original look and feel of the game.

    • Mr_Blastman says:

      Rygels textures are awesome.

  14. horrorgasm says:

    *sigh* Don’t remind me. Trying to forget about how there’s finally going to be a new Quake after all these years and it’s just going to be another multiplayer shooter.

    • aoanla says:

      Apparently Romero agrees with you (I commented similarly on twitter, and he actually liked my tweet, so…)!

  15. Michael Fogg says:

    Playing it for the first time right now. I find the aesthetics and level design, with all the traps, blind spots etc., to be formidable. I mean, absolutely devilish. But I abosulutely hate the ogres, when I move in to provoke the chainsaw swing I often get a close range grenade right in the face instead. I’m also a little fed up with the knights, who just require a lot of running backwards. But overall it holds up really well, with the fancy quakespasm frontend. I’m surprised Q2, which is much tamer overall, never managed to equal the intensity of facing a shambler, or two fiends for that matter. Are the two official addons, included in the gog version, any good?

    • nil says:

      when I move in to provoke the chainsaw swing I often get a close range grenade right in the face instead.

      Unless playing on Nightmare, a full Super Shotgun blast will sit them down for a bit, letting you close the distance.

    • aoanla says:

      The two “mission packs” are worth playing, but I think I was mixed on them in general. They both try to add something new: Scourge of Armagon adds more stuff – gremlins who will breed if they’re left to eat recently dead enemy corpses, for example, some tactically different weapons (proximity mine launchers, the Mjolnir throwable-lightning-hammer etc) and power-ups (including a horn that summons a random friendly monster to fight for you); while Dissolution of Eternity does more in the way of “variations” – alternate ammo for the nailguns, rocket and grenade launchers, alternate versions of monsters (cluster-grenade ogres, invisible knights).

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    particlese says:

    My first encounter with Quake was at at place with computers (an Internet cafe sort of thing, but without the Internet) at a New Jersey shore boardwalk, and some guy was playing what I thought was Doom, except that you could go under the water in the first level! (Actually a blue carpet or something in Doom’s E1M1.) Defrag my memories a bit, and it turns out one of the shopkeepers was explaining to my dad and I that it was from the folks who made Doom (or was simply “the next Doom”), while we watched the patron play it.

    Some time (years?) later, my dad’s business laptop came with the Quake shareware pre-installed (as well as MDK) to show off the new MMX2 hotness or whatever. (Compare with today’s pre-installed software demonstrating the latest in interns and rootkits). It was a wondrous thing that I couldn’t play for beans but could joyfully watch my dad get through all the way to the end. A similar sense of wonder to watching my sister play through Doom.

    Yet more time after that (years?), my dad came home with a double pack of Duke 3D and the full version of Quake. I can remember much of the first two levels of Duke 3D, but Quake… All of the first episode is etched into my mind, and the whole thing was so exciting and so full of secrets. It really impressed me as much as the original Doom, and I’m not sure any other game has impressed me the same way since. Unreal, maybe…but the feeling of the secrets was one of exploration rather than secret-hunting, and the lands and creatures were pretty or plausibly alien rather than being largely unjustified weirdness. In terms of graphics, sound, movement, and (to some extent) tone, Devil Daggers meets it fair and square, but that’s still clearly no substitute for the original Quake.

    I never played I Quake multiplayer; Duke 3D over a printer cable had first honors, Quake II became my first go-to online game, but I somehow completely skipped Quake the first in this department.

    My favorite mods were a rocket chase cam, something that added a ton of weapon variants, NPRQuake , and PanQuake. I made a couple levels based on either dreams or Frogger using QuArK, but Quake II was the real beneficiary of my venerable modding skills, which consisted mostly of nerfing the rail gun but giving its impact a huge kick, making the machine gun shoot rockets, and turning the rocket launcher into ROTT’s drunk missile in one iteration and a quad rocket launcher with spiraling rockets in another.

    Thanks for the memories, Quake!

  17. Spacewalk says:

    Why can’t we have another Quake like this. Why are we getting another bloody arena shooter. Why can’t they take the characters from Quake Champions and do a Future vs. Fantasy type of thing which is an infinitely better idea that only took me five seconds to think up. Even Dark Souls With Guns would be better than another arena shooter.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Herzog says:

    As Quake 3 Arena and Quakeworld fan I am so hyped that QC will be mp only.

    Anyways Ezquake 3.0 has been released today for the anniversary. Time to look for some FFA server and camp the red armor on DM6!!

  19. racccoon says:

    QUAKE!…QUAKE! Twenty! two friggin Zero years!…gone! oh my I so played the crap out of this game! is was the best! The things we used to do in it..well, lets just say was the bomb! ..Time flys..

  20. celticdr says:

    Quake, while not particularly strong as a singleplayer game (I don’t think I even finished it), was a brilliant LAN game if you could get enough mates together.

    I have a fond memory of going to my dad’s workplace (which at the time was a dingy appliance repair shop) where they had Quake on 6 PC’s throughout the shop, and even though I was still in high school at the time I would occasionally skive class to play Quake on the LAN with dad and the other electricians that worked there. I was ok at it too – was pretty handy with the rocket launcher. Ahhh memories!

  21. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    I managed to read about halfway through the article, up to the grenade launcher and the zombies, before getting the irresistible urge to play. I have Quake on the Wii, I think?

  22. bill says:

    The more time passes, the more highly i rate Quake.
    It was a really great combination of gameplay, atmosphere, style, variation, action, puzzles, etc..

    The textures, creatures, levels and weapons did a really great job of creating a unique atmosphere. The levels were disjointed enough to always be throwing surprises at you, but still somehow cohesive.

    The gameplay was pleasingly fast and vertical, but not quite as crazy and twitchy as things like Q3 with all the jump pads.
    It was more about finding new ways to traverse the levels and being able to jump fearlessly off balconies and stairs because you knew you could stick a landing.

    Q3 multiplayer was hard for me to get into, especially without a singleplayer to train on. Quake was super easy to get into.

    Almost every enemy scared the crap out of me the first time. Almost every weapon was fun the first time.

    My main memory is probably just replaying the first level dozens of times, because every time I got a new mod I booted it up to try it.
    First level as a guided missile? Check. First level as a car? Check.
    I’m sure there was a football mod too.. but I can’t google it.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Marclev says:

    Wasn’t at least one of the later chapters in a sci-fi setting instead of medieval? I distinctly remember grunts with lasers appearing.

    • aoanla says:

      The other way around: each chapter starts with the near-ish future scifi military base levels (which are supposed to be Humanity’s staging posts, fallen to the enemy), then transitions to either the medieval or “evil temple” levels after a few maps.

  24. tonicer says:

    20 years old and i still can’t play it with an acceptable framerate, my fps are never above 100 … but it looks pretty with ray tracing and all … so to actually enjoy playing it i have to disable RT.

    These screenshots i took from the default demo playback can’t really display it’s beauty but you get an idea how good it looks in motion.

    link to

  25. Greendude123 says:

    Love Quake, for without Quake there would be no Quake II, which is one of my favorite games of all. So Happy Birthday, Quake! Wishing ya hell! :)

  26. vorador says:

    Played the shareware chapter to death. A few years ago i booted it up again and i still remember the layout of the first chapter by heart.

    I never played online, because i didn’t had internet at home, but i enjoyed the single player campaign a ton. I wish they made a sequel/reboot, with the strange mix of sci-fi and arcane/medieval design of the levels and monsters.

  27. Zekiel says:

    I always thought Quake was the best Quake game. The weird combination of techno and medieval gave it real character, far more so than Quake II (which I still enjoyed).

    The monsters were so good – the ogres with their bouncing grenades so that you could trick them into killing themselves; the shamblers with their ridiculously long arms… and the fiends. I still remember being really scared the first time one catapulted itself at my face.

    It was probably the second or third PC game I ever played… I haven’t played Quake in almost 20 years. I feel old.

  28. syllopsium says:

    Arena shooters suck. Decent single player FPS, please.

    At the time, Quake and Quake 2 with a 3Dfx card were awesome, but they in no way match up to the Jedi Knight games or Half Life, which are significantly more fun to play and more graphically impressive, even now.

  29. TeePee says:


    Thank you Alice – you have sparked a few long-forgotten neurons into life with that one. Reaper bots were pretty much my first dip into the world of deathmatch, and I lost hundreds, if not thousands of hours to them.

    It’s probably heavily rose-tinted, but I remember them being pretty good as well, particularly for a mod.
    The other one was the Zeus bot, which would talk trash while murdering you, and worked in co-op as well!

  30. Massacher says:

    Wow. This is most excellent news! I first discovered Quake at TAFE. Some of the guys there had it up on the network. I don’t know how the network admin didn’t bust them but whatever. I was interested in playing it myself. I think I downloaded the shareware version initially and it wasn’t until years later that I bought the full retail and I was engrossed in it for hours. I downloaded this last night. Dug up my old Quake CD and after a lengthy install using DOSBox (it takes quite a bit of time for the pak files to be extracted) I fired it up in the DarkPlaces engine. It makes the game look a little better than straight out of the box, not by much but better. And it runs on Win10 which is good. The nostalgia and the memories. Oh man. I am loving it. I never got to play multiplayer but I remember spending countless hours playing through the singleplayer. And I wondered what it would be like to play it with other people but our internet was dial-up at the time so it wasn’t really possible to play and enjoy it. Then I found out about the Reaper bot. This was my first foray into multiplayer. Years later when we got broadband I was happy to the extreme because I could finally play multiplayer. I never played Quake 1 in MP but I did play Quake II and Quake III Arena. I still play them to this day on occasion and they are still every enjoyable games. I am going to have a playthrough of the original episodes and the two expansions which I never got to play after I have made my way through dopa. Long live Quake!!!
    Bring on Quake Champions!!