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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | It's Just A Game, Man!
   

It's just a game, man!
Are we fans or fanatics?
  — by
Cozmo

I love games; car racing , real time strategy, first person shooters, I love them all. However, one thing has been nagging at me for quite a while. When did the 'Quake' series quit being a game and turn into a religion? Carmack is revered with almost godlike quality to the fans of the series, his programming skills are regarded as miracles. Discussions on possible features of the upcoming Q3a sound less like comments on a game and more like heated, religious debates. The worst theological arguments you've probably ever heard don't stand up to the fires that erupted over the controversial timed strafe jumping in Q3a. Proving god exists has got to be easier than proving network latency is or isn't the deciding factor in a game.

Thanks to the Holy Wars site for this swag pic.

Websites read more like virtual shrines for this pseudo-religion than fan sites of a game, and groups of individuals have weekly (or more) gatherings together to pay homage to this game in the form of ritualized competition, complete with rules, regulations and traditions matching that of any religious service. The followers of Quake will argue until the end of time that Quake in their favorite form is many times better than the competing FPS games out there, even though fundamentally they're all the same. They illustrate an almost religious fervor to their following of the game, rivaling that of any minister, rabbi or preacher talking about their chosen religion.

Far-fetched you may be thinking? Let's use the medium of this new "religion" to illustrate my point. I'm going to use the crawling search engines:

Jesus god
Webcrawler: 50,716 Results
Infoseek: 2,187 results most relevant to Jesus god
Altavista: 3,884,880 Web pages
Total: 3,937,783

buddha
Webcrawler: 66 Results
Infoseek: 1,495 results most relevant to budda
Altavista: 6395 Web pages
Total: 7,956

id quake
Webcrawler: 28,454 Results
Infoseek: 1,191,773 results most relevant to quake id
Altavista: 1,459,290 Web pages
Total: 2,679,517

So in essence, Quake is 68% as popular two of the major beliefs of this planet. I'm sure you're thinking about now that this just proves that Quakers are just more dedicated. More dedicated than people who are worried as to where their soul will end up? Or how about more dedicated than Muslims, they're considered pretty fanatical, yet they only get 299,060 hits when you type "Allah" in the same search engines. Perhaps it's because Quake players have more technical savvy; your average quake player is after all a little younger and more accustomed to the Internet and this new technology. However we (as a species) have started wars, slaughtered thousands over religion, age notwithstanding, proving it doesn't matter where we stand as far as technical prowess, but more in how it's socially acceptable to act at the time. At this time it's more acceptable to put up a website than to join a crusade, so that's what many Quake players do.

Let's compare Quake to Christianity for instance, with it's having broken down into different "splinter" factions (Catholicism, Jewish, Protestant, Baptist, Methodist, etc.). Is Quake any different? Many die-hard followers of Quake 1 believe Quake 2 to be too slow, while Quake 2 worshippers believe Quake 1 lacks skill and strategy, so in essence each perceives the other faction to be completely wrong, despite the fact they all derive from a common beginning. Typically religion, in one form or another, involves donating your time and money to ensure your entrance into "heaven". A good portion of Quake players spend obscene amounts of money on their computers and network connections, some spend days on end ensuring their entrance into various LAN parties (In essence heaven on earth for them).

Perhaps I'm way off track here, deluding myself with far-gone conclusions. Many times through the millennia religion has been blamed for the ills of society. Theft, disobedience, and even murder are blamed on differences of opinion regarding religion. It sure is a good thing nobody blames murder or other ills of society on games like Quake.

Murder anybody over weapon changing delays lately? Write us at Feedback!


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