On a day when most are (rightfully) remembering Sonic the Hedgehog, most are pushing another anniversary aside: Quake is 15. In a post-Doom world, shooters were dominated by sprites, Quake being the trendsetter that pushed us forward. The id developed shooter changed everything really, defining an entire era of PC gaming and frenzied fragging. Terminology we use today was born from those 56k days of late night blast-a-thons with nail guns and shotguns.
Quake, like Doom, ushered in a new era of player control, not in the game itself but the design. Modding became a neccessity for most PC shooters in the wake of Quake, thus spawning entire communities on the fringe, outside of the boxed product. You could do your own thing, and even find a job should your work get the attention of someone important or gain the support of the players.
You can look back and label a number of games as industry changing, many pointing to Doom and what it did for shooters, but Quake is oddly overlooked. Maybe it’s because of how PC-centric it was, the console ports unable to replicate the need for such precise, keen-eyed aiming. It’s a hardcore shooter with an arcade skin, an odd mix that works, and certainly worth celebrating 15 years out.
Note: Yes, the screen is from Quake 2.