If you’ve been under a rock your whole life, or if you’re younger than 12, you probably have no idea what Quake is. You may or may not have heard of this game, but you really ought pay it its dues. Quake was the first* true 3D first-person shooter out on the market. It was was a marvel in it’s time, really. Everything prior to that, such as Doom was really 2.5D. Everything had a length and width, while height was just a variable. You could never walk on a true bridge above another part of the level, for example.
Quake changed all this, as well as the face of FPS gaming. It was a gory romp through some real rank baddies. There was a nail gun, lightning gun, and pineapple (grenade) that left quite a mess behind. Gibbing someone shot body parts all over the place, bouncing off walls and geometry. It was pure, unadulterated win.
Click on up to Quake 3: Arena (Q3A). (Not that there is anything wrong with Quake 2, it was epic in it’s own right, but going into all the Quake games would take forever and a half). Q3A was different. Instead of a single player, mow-down-the-baddies campaign and storyline, Q3A was all about death-match. Single player death-match against bots, and multiplayer death-match against your college roommates. It was a different kind of FPS. To boot, the Networking model used for Q3A was fantastic. It kept lag to a minimum, and the overall play-experience was seamless. Check out a good writeup here.
In addition to a pretty awesome networking architecture, Quake’s minimalist approach made the game feel crisp and clean. It wasn’t cluttered up with crap you didn’t use. Everything from the Railgun (sniper paradise) to the Noob-cannon (shotgun) was useful. They were also situationally superior. Some of the most well laid-out death match maps made this game a must have for anyone who called themselves a FPS player.
Ok, let’s click up to Quake Live. Take Q3A and shove it in a browser. Yes, a browser. After a quick install (less than 10 minutes here), you can be up and online playing Q3A. It’s a fantastic and revolutionary idea, if you ask me. Who would have thought? id did.
They finally took the beta tag off, which has been on forever and a half. Not quite as long as Gmail…but still pretty long. They also introduce premium services. There’s no cost to get into Quake Live, but if you want to have some extended support, new maps and mods and join up to one clan, you can do so for a pretty stingy $1.99/mo (billed annually). When was the last time you payed $25 for a FPS game? I didn’t think so.
Check out the Premium and Pro features here.
* – Duke Nukem 3D may have “3D” in the title, but it was still built on the “Build Engine” which was 2.5D.