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    PlanetQuake | Articles | PlanetQuake Turns 8

Celebrating 8 Great Years of PlanetQuake!
Taking frags one day at a time, the years and bodies pile high!
— by Pappy-R

 - click for full size image
A snapshot of a proud moment!

It's been 8 years. That's kind of hard to get your head around in "Internet years" and anyone who's been around that long can tell you, it seems like it's been much longer. I've not been on PQ since the beginning, but I was a reader and file scooper (WalnutCreek anyone?) way back in the day, and the days spent Quake-ing seem to stretch far beyond 8 human years. For a site to remain online and active that long is no small feat and there's plenty of people around that can tell you horror stories of sites and networks dropping like flies over the past few years. But we're still here, and I think it's simple dedication that's done it. Not just on our part, but yours, the Quake community. I can only truely speak for myself, but I'm sure the other staff is the same in feeling it's the community's drive that in turn, drives us. I'd play Quake no matter what. Site or no site, I love the games. But to do a site and keep it "live" sixteen hours a day takes more than my love of the game, it takes yours. So basically what I'm saying here is, Happy Birthday Quake Community, you're simply the best! Don't take any "guff" from those Counter Strike or UT players. They're fine games, but they're not Quake and it's Quake that makes the masters that can in turn go out and dominate in any other FPS.

Now as far as PlanetQuake's birthday celebration, I've gone and talked to some of the old skoolers and they had some words to share about PQ, right after they all said "Wow, 8 years?!" that is. Yeah baby, it's been 8 and we're ready for 8 more! Now here's some words from Fragmaster, Sluggo, and Tungsten right before we talk to the man who started it all, Mark Surfas!

Old Skooler Comments
Fragmaster: This wacky site sure has gone through a ton of changes and accomplished a lot of things these past eight years.

I sure had a lot of fun running PQ back in the Classic Quake and early Quake II days. If you were around back then, I think you'd agree that the community in those days was very different. I myself was a very different person, since I was just a retarded 16-year-old know-it-all obnoxious fanboy. Today... uhh... I'm 24.

Anywho, congratulations to Pappy-R. He deserves a ton of the credit for making PlanetQuake the site it is today. And he's the longest serving Site Director in the site's history, far outlasting guys like myself, Fargo, Gesalt, Bastard, Shaithis, Lowtax, etc.. And he's easily the nicest guy of the bunch. In conclusion, Happy Birthday, PlanetQuake!

Sluggo: I remember when I put together my first gaming site in 1997, and everyone told me PlanetQuake was THE place to get hosted. I wasn't looking for a lot of attention at the time, but it didn't take long before I felt like I was part of the PQ family. Before long I was writing regular articles for them, and before I knew it I'd been hired by GameSpy, where I've been for the past 5 years.

It's amazing that any site can keep things going for that long, especially one focused on a specific series of games, which tend to die out over time. But with Quake IV on the way, it seems likely that PQ won't just hang around, but will continue to stay a focal point of the community long past its 10th anniversary. Happy Birthday, PQ!

Tungsten: PlanetQuake was what kept me alive and motivated during the cold, dark years of graduate school. It nourished my soul while professors sought to destroy it. PlanetQuake also laid the foundation for GameSpy, which has kept my family fed and clothed over the past five years. I owe it all to PlanetQuake!

Q&A with Mark Surfas
Pappy: It's been a while since we've talked Mark, and since this is for PlanetQuake's 8th Birthday, maybe you could give everyone a brief run down on the creation and growth of PQ, GameSpy and bring us up to date on where it all sits in the great scheme of things.

Mark Surfas: PlanetQuake is the site that started the entire GameSpy family of websites, software and technology. I was in Europe this week and it still drops my jaw to go into a game store and see the GameSpy logo on the back of so many games!

The short story is that 8 years ago I WAS A QUAKE ADDICT. I'm not ashamed to admit it! Id software created a game that was an incredible breakthrough in so many ways (graphics, multiplayer, user expansabilitiy) that I quit work on the book I was writing (and pretty disappeared from the web development company I was running) to play Quake and build a website about Quake.... PlanetQuake! PlanetQuake posted daily news about Quake and hosted the first few popular downloads for Quake - specifically Threewave Capture the Flag. I still get excited thinking about flying across the levels with the grappling hook while returning the flag to the base under heavy rocket fire!!!! GOOD GOD

As more great games came out (and some not so great!) we built more websites. Of course we branched out into software and technology/services for the entire industry.

Quake set the bar for what a game should be in the new era of the internet - PQ took notice and helped it along. Ultimately the community of players, mod-makers, artists, commentators, competitors and servers (you know who you are!) made the quake scene an unbelievable place to be 8 years ago. I ran the site with a lot of passion, and I think that showed.

Pappy: Has the growth of the company stopped surprising you yet or is there a grand plan that's being adhered to?

Mark Surfas: PlanetQuake is now an important piece of the largest online gaming media group - IGN Entertainment(formerly IGN/GameSpy). It's clear to me that there is huge growth ahead, worldwide, in both the quality of the games experience and the number of games players. The grand plan is simply to keep providing services to the players and the industry - what could be more fun than that?

Pappy: GameSpy has been a real support system, and even a crusader at times for a ton of the multiplayer action in games. How do you see this side of GameSpy changing, or advancing in the future?

Mark Surfas: What is SO FASCINATING about the near term future of gaming is the vast number of devices connecting to the internet... and their diversity! What we now call cell phones are mutating so rapidly that I think you have to keep an eye on what will be possible (and is already possible) as a gaming experience. GameSpy will want to be in all of these new places - much as we moved from the PC to the Dreamcast, GameCube, PS2 and Xbox.

Pappy: OK, now that the nasty biz stuff is out of the way, what have you been playing lately?

Mark Surfas: For the first time in my gaming life I actually like an Unreal game! I'm playing a lot of UT, some Battlefield Vietnam, and a bunch of small games on my treo 600.

8 years ago when I started PQ I was single and had no commitments. Now I'm married and have two boys - one almost 4 and one almost 2. They are both nuts over computers and the 4 year old and I are playing a variety of games together. It's a very interesting experience. Much to my wifes dismay, the 4 year old loves UT.

Pappy: I've not heard about a Beatdown (GameSpy hosted LAN events) in quite a while and I still get mail about them from people that were lucky enough to attend one. They were that kool. What are some of the "stand out" moments for you in the history of the Beatdowns?

Mark Surfas: Looking back, the best part of the Beatdowns were the team events where everyone dressed up in some way. Pirates vs. Vikings stands out - and everyone still awake as dawn breaks at 6 am, after a full night of constant, raging team deathmatch!

We had some talented people that would create mods just for the beatdowns - one time we had a full Olympics. You would have to log onto a server for each event and have your time recorded in the event - an incredible tribute to our programming talent and the flexibility of Quake.

Although we were just as happy with the simpler events like the "bitch betta have my money" challenge. This gem of an event teamed up 2 players. One wore a bag over his head and tried to play the first level in quake with just a shotgun. His team mate sat next to him and shouted instructions in his ear with a bull-horn. I think one guy made it through the whole level.

Good times!

Pappy: Any plans on getting another one going in the future and if not, what kind of group gaming action happens around the main GameSpy offices?

Mark Surfas: I will definitely have more, but I suspect they will not be GameSpy affiliated events! I think the last time we talked about it the entire HR department resigned.

The main event these days at GameSpy is the Wednesday night poker game. We hired a lot of people whose gaming skills are sorely lacking - so I suppose this is the pathetic result. Cards for money. :)

Pappy: Thanks for taking the time Mark, and have I ever thanked you for starting PlanetQuake? Thanks!

And that's our show for today gang. I hope you've all enjoyed it and I hope you've loved the past 8 years as much as everyone involved has loved bringing it to you. Here's a useless PQ fact: In 8 years PQ has had many, many staff including 8 Site Directors with the first seven having served within the first fours years. As Mark pointed out to me after the interview, I've been here longer than all of the others put together. Now if you'd like more usless facts and an ammo case full of PQ history, check out the two and four year anniversary pieces linked below. Thanks again gang!

  • The Two-Year Revolution

  • At Age Four, PQ Can Walk, Talk, and Kick Ass!

    Tell us what you think about this article, or anything else with some fresh feedback!

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