How ‘Quake’ Changed Video Games Forever
Quake, the first-person shooter from id Software, turns 20 years old on June 22nd, 2016. It’s widely regarded as one of the most influential video games of all time, having pioneered a number of conventions that we now take for granted. A successor to the studio’s hit series Doom, it built upon both the technology and gameplay of its predecessor, and in doing so set the template for how games would both be made and played for the following two decades.
Tim Willits, who’s still with id and now serves as the studio’s creative director, was a designer on the original game, and while admitting his obvious bias is certain of its significance to the broader culture. “I really believe that Quake was more influential for video games than Doom,” he says.
Need proof? Here are eight ways that Quake influenced the way we think about games, and Willits’ take on each.
It put you in a fully realized 3D world
The entire environment in Quake was modeled in 3D, something that hadn’t been done in action games before, in part because the processing power required to do so just wasn’t ready yet. The same technique had been used in a more rudimentary fashion in things like flight simulators, but previous first person action games like Doom and Duke Nukem used tech that didn’t allow for a full 360-degree view of the experience. You couldn’t look up at the ceiling or down at the ground in these older games, and that limited the action so that monsters couldn’t really attack you from above or below. The ramifications of this technology shift are still being felt today. Quake paved the way for Call of Duty, Battlefield, Overwatch, Skyrim, and even virtual reality by plunging the player into a fully realized 3D world, and simply allowing them to look around freely.
Esports began with Quake
Quake is largely responsible for the esports scene we enjoy today. The game pioneered competitive gaming events with the Red Annihilation Quake multiplayer event which was held in May 1997. This is widely considered to be the first national-level gaming event in North America. Qualifying rounds for the contest were held online, and nearly 2,000 competitors played in one-on-one matches until 16 finalists were selected to play at the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, during the E3 gaming expo. Ultimately Dennis “Thresh” Fong beat Tom “Entropy” Kimzey on the map Castle of the Damned, and was rewarded with id cofounder John Carmack’s 1987 Ferrari 328 GTS convertible as the grand prize. It was later discovered that Fong was unable to fully enjoy his winnings, as he wasn’t insured to drive a Ferrari. Carmack agreed to underwrite Fong’s insurance for a year so he could enjoy his prize.
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