Panic Quake Servers

Author's Note: Quake is id software's much-anticipated follow-up to Doom, the most successful computer game of all time. Addictive, immersive, and hyperviolent, Quake has already established itself as the ultimate productivity black hole. Now, across the network, puzzled system administrators are discovering more and more machines that have been transformed into secret servers dedicated to managing the shadow traffic of non-stop multiplayer deathmatches.

Quake is just one step toward the future, but I think it has a good shot at spawning a pretty complicated online, networked universe.

- Michael Abrash, id programmer

Panic Quake Servers are the avant-garde of a parasite nervous system grafting itself onto the corporate backbone. Bandwidth scavengers hosting the endless recombinant congregations of vapourwar.

Forget virtual reality and cyberspace. The ultimate synthesis of architecture and cinema is already being coded up around you. Forget about soaring over gleaming spires of data in a weightless universe of pure information. Quakespace is claustrophobic, scatological, pre-pubescent, and very, very dangerous.

And forget about leaving the meat behind: Panic Quake is nothing but bodies. Bodies splattered, pulverized and exploded. The body fragged and multiplied, becoming pure speed in a point-to-point network of ammunition flows and tactical lust. All-sucking, all-spewing, the Quakebody is projectile and target, monster and hero, author and interface, key, switch, and trap. It is the body with nothing but organs, irrupting and transmitting, and always forever the barricaded global variable in an infinite cascade of light-speed calculations: surface, perspective, and line of sight - the baroque codes for subjectivity in the digital space of deathmatch culture.

Frank Lantz is a computer game designer from New York City. He also teaches game design at NYU and writes software reviews for ID (International Design) magazine.