Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
I played Quake sometime around its release, though I don’t remember being enamored by it or spending much time with it. Instead Quake 2 was the first Id Software game I ever really loved, and even then it was mainly thanks to mods.
I played through the opening levels of the singleplayer again and again, but never completed the game. Instead I poured my time into multiplayer, occasionally against humans (over a very slow modem connection) and mainly against bots. That was made possible by the Eraser bots, created by Ryan Feltrin. They weren’t the smartest opponents in the world, but I liked them precisely for the ways they were stupid. Human opponents were too unpredictable, whereas the bots could be relied upon to regularly cluster together in groups large enough to make the BFG worthwhile.
Throw in a grappling hook mod, the multiplayer map called “The Edge”, and Id’s superlative weapon design, and you’ve got a recipe for many happy hours. Although I prefer Quake 3, I still think Quake 2 had the better shotgun, the better BFG, and some of the best maps Id ever made.
Feltrin, by the way, hopped from his mod work to working on games like Kingpin and Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and now works at Treyarch on the Black Ops series. One of many Quake 2 modders who are now embedded in the industry.