Reply To: My Quake Experiences

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The first time I remember seeing Quake must have been around 1996-1997, when my older brother stumbled on what was probably the shareware release on a coverdisk CD. I can’t say I recall much as I was only a kid, but I do remember being a bit creeped out by the zombie enemies, the very iconic rocket launcher and also my mom telling my brother not to play these sorts of videogames in front of me :D. This was the family PC after all, so it resided in the living room where everyone had access to it, and more importantly the parents could keep an eye out on what was happening.

I skipped Quake 2 and played a lot of Quake 3 a few years later, so I obviously knew the franchise, but I didn’t get to play Quake until some time later, around 2004 or so. I have this memory of looking at screenshots of the original Quake online and in magazines that I used to read, usually denoting it as a major 3D milestone. I eventually managed to get a copy of the entire thing (or was it just the shareware?) off of Limewire, a classic P2P client that you were never really sure if you were getting the real deal or the Sasser worm. Anyway, I still remember that 18MB download vividly, it took a while with my 56K dial-up connection! To my amazement, extracting the zipped archive resulted in the entire thing (minus the music of course) residing in my desktop, but I had difficulty getting it to work. By this point I had moved on to Windows XP and the OS just wasn’t having it with the DOS executable of the game, thankfully I quickly found WinQuake online and managed to play the game, to my delight!

And then, after all that hassle and eventual success, I just… didn’t really play it much. I seem to recall beating the first episode and fighting Cthon, but it just didn’t click at the time. I kept it around, using it as a benchmark and stress test for various machines, especially when I got my first Voodoo card and wanted to run GLQuake on it. So, it was always kinda around after that point and eventually, around 2009 I decided to give it another go and I was hooked! By this point, I had gotten a legit, boxed copy of the game which I still have, and I’m fairly certain the soundtrack played a role in this and reading Masters of Doom also gave me more context. I even went ahead and played the expansion packs, which I enjoyed.

From this point on, I’ve replayed and beaten Quake multiple times over the years and I can safely say it is one of my favorite FPS games, probably edging Doom on my personal scale. The pick up and play nature of the game is immensely satisfying to me. My latest run was during August when the re-release hit the scene. I went through the entire thing twice, once on Hard and another on Nightmare, including the new (and amazing) episode, the 5th episode released on its 20th anniversary and the expansion packs. It was a fun challenge to say the least!