“That little black rain cloud over my head just wouldn’t go away….”

“That little black rain cloud over my head just wouldn’t go away….”

The great Dextius Alphaeus runs back to his car, forgetting to unlock his door, he frantically reaches for his keys. As usual they were in the bottom of his pocket in his jacket, stuck between his yo-yo and a bag of peanuts that were given to him on his flight home from Egypt. It was different this time, not like the last, where he simply waited on the undernet, #quake was packed with over a thousand people. It felt like history was taking place, and realistically, it was.

The car started with a jolt, the streamline size of a Honda Civic makes things very interesting for a driver, I quickly stepped on the gas, with the sixty dollars sitting in my wallet, and a smile on my face.

“6 o’clock” I exclaimed, “Damn computers always crashing when I need to get out of here.” I sighed as I said. No one understood my lack of composure when I tried to explain to them that it was coming out today. They almost didn’t care, until they realized how much it meant to me.

I flew through the gate, (hope the SP’s don’t mind) and made the big turn to the mall, my mind began to reflect on how these so called games really have affected my life.

The last time, really, was a lot like the time before, when Doom came out; I downloaded my shareware copy off of Software Creations at 2400 bits per second. my parents didn’t understand why I would pay a forty five dollar phone bill to get a game, but I did. The next was like I said, in the chatroom, I met a good friend that day, her name was Siome, haven’t talked to her in a long time, but it all happened that day, I believe the 24th of June.

“It’s out!!!, go to ftp.cdrom.com” they screamed, over and over, it was like a pack of wild dogs were clamoring for the only piece of meat on the planet. I tried a good twenty times with my all powerful WS-FTP pro 95, with no avail, anonymous access denied.

I think most of the internet crashed that day, everyone was hitting a server that supposedly had this game that would “rule the cosmos”. It wasn’t until four hours later, when I finally made access, and started downloading the rather large file, (eleven meg seems to be in my mind). Fortunately for me, I had a resuming ftp program, and after I lost connection four times to the first server, I switched to another. Resume kicked, in and I watched every kilobyte trickle down, one at a time, with no complaint, because I knew, soon, that the game would begin.

Single player lasted a good five minutes, I jumped out back to the irc server, and saw to my amazement, “Quake server 142.xxx.xxx.xxx” I went insane, no way was this multiplayer over the net, on the first release.

Four hours later, I’m still playing. I missed two meals that day. I woke up the next morning and talked to Siome again, then I played quake for the rest of the day, my seven hundred millisecond ping didn’t bother me much because it was the forethought of playing a game like this over the net knowing that some loser was eating my pineapple, over and over, and OVER again. Visceral thrills, I am hooked.

The release of the qtest was worse, I sat in a shelter in the middle of Cairo, Egypt. I made it to my favorite web page, http://www.planetquake.com. It was a miracle, due to me being on a measly pentium 75 laptop with 8 megabytes of memory, the lan connection barely made the 300 bps standard, oh the joys of satellite communication. I saw a bunch of articles that were discussing something called the q2test. It didn’t take me long to figure out what they were talking about. The download, if that is what you want to call it, (my mind sees it as a crusade) was excruciatingly slow, almost 8 hours later the download was complete, and the drive started chattering full blast.

“Cannot save file to drive C due to unknown error” it said, and my heart fell through the floor. Here I am serving my country in this God forsaken wasteland and I can’t even get quake 2. I even went as far as loading up norton disk doctor and manually repairing the file, so I could pkzipfix the damn thing and just get the logo to come up and sate my unending appetite. I didn’t see q2test until I finnaly made it home, almost six weeks later.

I drove into the parking lot, still in uniform, <oops> and run into the mall, three copies are sitting on the first shelf of the only computer store worth mentioning in Sumter, South Carolina. I grab my copy, and smile.

After paying the exorbitant price of $54.99, but still knowing my insatiable thirst for gaming would be quenched for a bit eased my anger at our overpriced store.

I FLEW home. Not usually a fast driver, I learned today that you can go back in time if you go fast enough.

Only a week after the release of Quake 1, I boarded a plane that would take me to basic training, it was a scary time for me, not knowing anything about anything. I must say though, that release of that game made things much easier on me, compared to my parents and friends misunderstanding of my feelings before I left.

I fumbled with the keys as I opened the door to my room. The phone rang, it was my best friend, he said he’d be over in five minutes. I began installing the game. My computer, which became almost a shrine of technology built to run games like quake faster than anyone else was ready. Four hundred megabytes didn’t even make me blink. Kevin walked in right as I was ready to double click the executable from my

rewritten version of 95 (all hail OpenView).

We turned off the lights to watch the intro, and as soon as it was done, the game began, I got up to turn the lights back on, and when I sat down, the phone rang.

I went back to work with a frown on my face.

“Damn computers.”

By Dextius Alphaeus

 

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