Geezer Rides the Short Bus

“Geezer Rides the Short Bus”

Quake III Arena Tour Bus… 9-30-99
A traveling fragfest, the Quake III Arena bus rolled into town beckoning me to come and check it out!

– By geezer

 What’s This?

For those completely unaware, part of id’s marketing strategy for Quake III Arena involves something big & black, capable of mass destruction. This object happens to be a big Quake III Arena bus which is touring the western United States showing off Q3A. I caught the bus in Roseville, CA on 9/26/99 and went for one hell of a ride!

The Setup

The bus stops at various places, normally at a CompUSA, and sits prominently in the parking lot. Sitting next to the bus is a couple of tents with goodies for those that have experienced all that is Q3A. The bus is just that, a bus. But not like your friendly Greyhound. This one is jet black, inside and out. As you enter the bus there is a a waiting area – basically a leather bench seat. Beyond that is where the fun is – 8 AMD Athlon PCs with Q3A on them.

The Wait

As this tour is very popular, there is normally a decent line in front of the bus. Luckily when I arrived it wasn’t too bad. Soon after I arrived a bunch of young punks showed up behind me. I chatted a bit with them and found out that a some of them (Beast, RDWarlock, Ronin, and Pibbs) had played Q3A, 1 had only played Doom and another barely knew what a computer was. His hobbies include, and I quote, “smoking pot and watching videos.” We nicknamed him Stoner and commented on how he’ll be good rocket fodder. The cool part about this tour is that it attracts everything from hardcore Quake players to those just passing by. I did meet the lovely Anna Kang while waiting, but she declined to give me any exclusive screenshots – ever after I showed her my way cool PlanetQuake t-shirt and told her I’m buds with Dakota. No love! Perhaps I shouldn’t of mentioned Dakota. Anyway, after about 30-45 minutes of waiting, it was our turn to enter the Q3A shrine.

The Intro

After entering the bus you sit down on this bench while David, our kind host, explains a bit about what we are about to experience. For those who haven’t played he briefly explained how the basic controls worked. To the right of our location was the group ahead of us, all fragging away. The wonderful sounds of Q3A filled the bus. While the rest of us are getting ready for some serious action, Stoner decides to call his girlfriend. She wondered why he wasn’t at home getting high and watching videos.

Game Time!

After a bit more of a wait, it was finally time for us to play! Everyone walks into the back part of the bus and picks one of the AMD Athlons to play on. No seats here, everyone stands. This proved to be a bit of a challenge as I’m 6’5″ tall, but I managed. We started out playing a warmup game, to get the hang of everything. After several minutes David comes in and tells us to join the tournament server, where it all gets serious. First one to 20 frags wins – winner gets a Q3A t-shirt. Lots of cussing, swearing, shouting, and cheering were heard along with the Q3A sounds. There was a general LAN party feel to it all.

The Details

The bus has a special tour version of Q3A. This includes 2 new maps, the grenade launcher, invisibility, and a new player model called Orbb. The maps are very cool. The first map has the grenade launcher and invisibility, with a cool angled launch pad which takes you up and over the action to the powerup. This map also had some water which was very interesting. It had a green tint to it, but was not completely transparent. You’d see guys go in, but after a bit they’d disappear. You could see under the water, but it was a bit blurry and not as clear as outside the water. Cool bubbles when firing the shotgun underwater.

The second map was much more intense. Since I only played it once I can’t recall the exact layout, but in the center of the action was the quad. There were some steps leading into some fog as well. It didn’t take us too long to hit the 20 frag limit on this one.

The Cooldown

After the game is over, you visit the tent located next to the bus. After filling out a small survey you get some nice bootie including a Q3A Road Tour poster, a Q3A cup, mouse pad and other goodies. Of course the lucky winner of the fragfest gets a Q3A shirt as well. All and all it was a great time and a total blast. After the game Stoner called his girlfriend back to tell her, “that game was $#%^&*( awesome!!”. Perhaps he’ll pick up a new hobby…

Oh yeah, the winner of our match was the old man himself! It was a close game, but I got lucky at the end and came upon a dropped quad and rocket launcher to take the win with a couple of double kills . Thanks to Beast, RDWarlock, Pibbs, Ronin, Bong, Stoner, and noname for the game! And also thanks to id for a great road show. Can’t wait for the real thing now…

More Information

To get more info, and find out if the bus is coming to your town, check out the official Quake III Arena Road Tour website.

Bus on road image, and image of Orbb © id Software

All other photos courtesy of RDWarlock & Beast

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