As they say in Texas, howdy folks!
Sal has bid Seoul a fond farewell, headed for parts unknown for a time that is yet unforetold. She will likely return to us far wiser, exceptionally more classy, and ready to share the wondrous tales of her exploits.
So you've been left in the care of a lowly First Person Shooter addict… but have no fear! We have communities too, and they don't all involve 12 year-old boys screaming obscenities and racial epithets at each other!
But let me start from the beginning, or as near to it as is humanly bearable…
When my brother, sister and I huddled around the family 386 waiting for the shareware version of DOOM to finish downloading from CompuServe with an almost religious fervor, we had no idea what we were in for.
We were to become… INTERNET GAMERS.
Playing DOOM, we familiarized ourselves with the FPS genre and got our first taste of multiplayer when we played dialup with nearby friends.
Later came Descent, where we were thrown into a truly 3D universe, though—booyah—we had been promoted from infantry to pilots. Here, we brushed up against what would later be the norm: games over LANs and the Internet.
Eventually, rumors of a truly 3D game being developed by Id, the creators of DOOM surfaced, and one fateful day, while swapping books between classes at my locker, a fellow Descenter leaned in while passing by and said in a most cloak-and-dagger fashion,
"It came in last night."
My breath hitched, my irises--I'm sure--contracted, the world froze.
It came in last night. IT. IIIIIITTTTT!!!
As soon as the final bell rang we RAN to my friend’s house and he shared the awesomeness that was Quake. It was everything I had hoped for and more.
You could jump over other players.
Floors could be above floors.
There were dark corners everywhere!
NINE INCH NAILS WROTE THE SOUNDTRACK!!!!
Even though I swore up down left and right (B A B A start!) to my mother that the new computer I asked for the next day would help me do my homework so efficiently and oh my god I would do every chore imaginable I knew it had but one purpose: With its Pentium chip, 8mb of RAM, 3.4 GB HDD and—holy shit—28.8k modem, I WOULD TAKE ON ALL CHALLENGERS AND DESTROY THEM WITH MANY A WELL-AIMED ROCKET. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!
Sorry, I need a moment. Go watch this video clip of one of my boyhood heroes, Thresh in a 1997 match that won him John Carmack's Ferrari.
After receiving my computer and installing Quake, my mom decided (with much help from my siblings and me) to ditch CompuServe and instead sign us up with an ISP… and my gaming network grew.
To play Quake over the internet, you needed to know the IP address of a host. Initially, you found these addresses through people you knew, players you met in game, or from one of the lists you could find on websites like Blue’s News and Planet Quake. Keeping track of these addresses was tricky though, and my desk looked like a mad scientist worked there, covered in scraps of paper with strange phrases and odd number combinations separated by periods, some crossed out with furious strokes. Thought it was time consuming, eventually you found a few servers you would frequent, and you’d start talking to other regulars, sharing emails, forming or joining Clans, and making friends.
It was an immensely exciting time where people could, for the first time, gather together from all over the world to play and create content for a game that they enjoyed. And for a time it amounted to only that: playing a game with friends.
Well, one day a Clan--the Ranger clan to be exact--decided to do something no one had done before. They decided to make a film in Quake.
Here it is: "Diary of a Camper."
And from there, more and more people got into it. Ranger members coded scripts to control camera angles, edit footage, whatever a budding filmmaker might need. Later, other users created their own “sets” in Quake, overdubbed audio, created character models and map textures, all for the purpose of creating movies using their favorite game. It was a synergy of home film and gaming studios, and it was unprecedented.
At some point, this genre was dubbed Machinima, and today it is wildly popular amongst gamers. For an example of what the amateur machinima scene is creating these days, check out this video.
Thanks to the Ranger clan’s initiative, a new creative force joined the Quake community. Teams of people sprang up to figure out how to push the Quake engine to its utmost, and their work sometimes led to jobs with some of their favorite companies, like Epic Megagames, Valve, or even Id itself.
Hey mom, real jobs CAN come from playing video games;D
And these communities still exist. While researching this, I came across QuakeOne.com where you can find current mod projects, active servers, and chat with other players and modders. Blue’s News is now a general gaming news site, and there many planets have been discovered in the vicinity of the PlanetQuake web space, and if any of you are familiar with GameSpy, it was originally called QSpy.
That “Q” is for Quake.
Well, this seems as good a place to stop for now as any. If you’d like for me to ramble on further about my experiences with console gaming in Halo, let Summer know. For now, enjoy your week and take care out there in Azeroth. I hear you guys have undergone some rather world-changing calamities in the not too distant past. And Pandas now? What next… flying pig mounts I suspect! Happy gaming, and can I get a /moo from all my Tauren brothers and sisters out there?