The short version of this note is that the Quake Literary Guild is shutting down — in a way. If someone still wishes to bear the torch and maintain the site, a torch I gave up almost a year ago, now, contact me, and I will send you the archives of the guild, to continue the legacy with — but only on a certain condition: it is hosted on a site that exists only as a hobby — not a business. Also, I’m leaving the archives from the guild on PlanetQuake till the end of time. The rest of this article is divided into two topics: a reminiscence of the growth of the Guild, and commentary at where online gaming is right now, and how it depresses and grants me hope at the same time.
The Quake Literary Guild has existed for a long time, in one form or another. I began playing Quake on TEN (yes, I know), and then soon progressed to normal NetQuake — I was all in a tizzy when QW was released, and I loved reading the news sites of the day, and other truly unique sites, like Sujoy’s Quake Pages and, later, Frags’ New Vore Times. I had lots of free time around then (only a sophomore in High School), I wanted in to this Quake community in a big way.. but I realized to do so, I had to do something that hadn’t truly been done before — I needed a niche.
It began more than two years ago as the Repository of Quake Stories, launched on April 16th, 1997, hosted on my local isp’s server. It was a place where people could write fiction base on Quake, and have it posted. (See the Blue’s News page.) It was something that had not been done before, and I was truly happy with the idea, even though I actually abhorred writing stories based on the game.
It took only a short while before I was asked to join the then brand new (and now defunct) QuakeMania, run by Polish and Monolith, which I gladly hooked up with. For a while, Quakemania prospered, and it boasted a truly fun atmosphere, one where people did webpages for fun, and, of course, the Internet perversion of fame that we all know and love/loathe.
Around the beginning of June of ’97, I noticed another site had opened dealing with fiction involving Quake, although its primary focus was actually twisting known stories and works into Quake perversions, such as Sun Tzu’s “The Art of Quake” by GSI’s own Fargo, and “In Which Pooh Plays a Game of Capture the Hunny Pot,” by the creator of the Guild, Figin. Already somewhat tiring of the tedium of maintaining a site whose content only interested me occasionally, I proposed to Figin that we unite our two efforts under his name, the Quake Literary Guild. I merged all of ROQS’s content onto his site on Time2Quake, and soon was to begin the highlight of the page’s two year life.
Sometime in August, we had to move off Time2Quake, and we decided upon the then still (comparitively) fledgling PlanetQuake for hosting. Around this time we launched our new, black background design and also introduced a new feature: the Great Debates. The Great Debates was by far my favorite part of the guild — we took a controversial topic, and wrote debates about the two viewpoints that might be taken, such as women and gaming. But the best part of these were that we had the viewers post in a pseudo-forum (actually, they emailed us and we posted most of the messages, filtering those of, ah, low caliber) about the given subject. It was a great experience, and we had big plans, such as getting “celebrity” guests to discuss the merits of QW vs NetQuake, etc… It’s potential was great and, frankly, if someone devoted renewed the idea, I still think it could rock.
Unfortunately, the laziness bug bit again, and the guild continued on with our sporadic updates, with either of us (or Kobayashi, who joined the team for a while) getting jazzed up and updating for a while, before fading out again. After several redesigns, we settled on a simple archive of stories, which, now, hasn’t been updated in over a year. The guild hasn’t changed much but, boy, hasn’t everything else?
In the beginning time of the guild, every single Quake game site out there was done for only one reason: the love of the game, and perhaps for meeting new people/getting hits — but still, the intentions were true enough (and for some, still are). Most webpages were hosted on local ISPs and college servers, except for the rare occasion that someone loved the game enough to setup a web server dedicated to hosting pages, for free. Back then, there was only one game in the community: Quake/QW, a few cool mods (remember the day when you first wandered onto a server playing E1M1, only to find some weird keys floating at the beginning and end, and everyone was red & blue?), and a bunch of hardcore fans.
Evolution always comes, even if it is not always welcomed. The large hosting sites multiplied, and people realized they might be able to make some bucks covering what they love, and everyone was all for that! That dude’s hosting page’s/doing news and he might even be breaking even, cool!
I don’t know when, exactly, the tone of the community changed. Actually, it probably never shifted dramatically.. it just nudged along slowly, till, now, some of us can’t even recognize what we once were a part of. The community is commericialized, splintered, and webpages are more often created just to create an inroad into a bolstering new industry. Frankly, I don’t like this tone, but it’s something you accept — b/c at the same time, how we grow! So many new players — and yes, I know, they all start out as lamers — but haven’t we all? We might have sacrificed our elite stature online, now, but in return we have so many excellent games to play, and people to play with. This is a great thing, and though I miss the old, the future is bright and exciting. And maybe, one day, everyone who works on a professional site will be paid, and those of us who only wish to exhort our hobby will be able to do so for no profit, at all.