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Twitch and Shout: shoot em up at the old Avatar
Twitch games are fast moving shoot em up worlds in which players
battle each other and an assortment of nasty characters, scoring
points and building up armor and every more powerful weapons.
We should all be glad a nuclear war was never fought and hope
that future wars can be fought inside these worlds instead. We
are going to take a look at two front runners in this category:
Quake and Duke
Nukem 3D. Get your twitching finger on that trigger!
Quake is the eagerly awaited successor to Doom, that high speed
shoot-em-up 3D wonder of 1994. Like Doom, Quake is played through
first-person view and in gloriously fast 3D. The big difference
with Quake is that the monsters and fighters you are stalking
and eliminating are other real people playing against you through
the Internet. Up to 16 combatants can be running around in a particular
Quake server (this event is known as a deathmatch). The usual
assortment of grunts and ogres are also present, making for complete
gore and mayhem.. Dead avatar players and kill bots look all the
One of the key cultural icons in Quake is to have the largest
totable weapon pointed in front of you. Weapons range from the
wimpy axe all the way through various shotguns to the super nailgun,
rocket launcher and ultimate thunderbolt. When you pull the trigger,
the gun takes some time to come up and fire, giving Quake extra
time to overcome that bothersome network latency. As you run around
Quake, you pick up new weapons, ammo, health kits and other objects.
If you are killed out of the game, you retain ownership of most
of these items.
Another part of the Quake culture are clans. These are like the
guilds in medieval fantasy worlds like The Realm. With names like
The Unholy Alliance. Terminal Gibbage, and the Widow Makers, you
can imagine that these "social" organizations are out
there to protect each other while blasting away at their declared
enemies. For the low down on Quake clan society visit Will Bryant's
super Quake Clanring at: http://www.mpog.com/clanring/.
Another very powerful feature of Quake is that you can build your
own Quake worlds (called levels, from their dungeon metaphor).
There are several Quake level editors on the market, many of them
shareware. THRED, is one of these and can be found at: http://www.visi.com/~jlowell/thred/.
Getting your hands on Quake
ID Software provides a shareware version of Quake from their website
You can also purchase a registered version of Quake from retail
stores almost anywhere. To run Quake you need a Pentium-based
PC with 8MB RAM, and 30MB disk space. Major soundcards are supported
for some pretty gory sound effects.
Duke Nukem 3D
A hot contender with Quake is Duke Nukem 3D ("Duke"),
another "twitch" game full of human and non-human combatants.
In Duke, murderous aliens have landed in a futuristic (ie: wasted)
Los Angeles and human beings are now on the endangered species
list. Duke has 28 levels, including a space station and moonbase.
Created by 3D Realms Entertainment and published by G.T. Interactive,
find Duke at the official Duke Nukem 3D home page at: http://duke.gtinteractive.com/.
Duke can be downloaded in a shareware version or purchased in
fully licensed form. It can run on a 486/33 with DOS or any Windows
PC supporting a DOS application.
Let's Deal! Boardgames Gone Virtual
Old fashioned board and card games are a natural for play over
the Internet and just about every game you can think of is being
played out there in cyberspace right now. We will take a quick
look at a couple, incluging Hoyle Internet
Blackjack, Risk and point
you to some sources for many more.
Hoyle Internet Blackjack.
The Sierra Internet Gaming System provides dozens of networked
multi-player games. One I liked in the board game genre was Hoyle
Internet Blackjack. As you can see in the preceding figure, you
sit your player "avatar" around the blackjack board,
the dealer deals, and you play. Not being an experienced player
myself, you can see my paltry winnings here. No real money is
exchanging hands but some small Caribbean islands are working
on real Internet gambling. An artificial intelligence player called
Howie will replace any player who leaves a game and tournaments
can be hosted. Could whole teams of Howies play each other?
Hoyle Blackjack is available for Windows by order from Sierra's
homepage at: http://www.sierra.com.
The cost is $14.95.
One of my old favorites, Risk, is now available for play over
the Internet. You can match wits with other Internet "generals"
with world conquest on their minds. Neworking is provided by Mpath's
MPlayer system. Risk must be purchased on CD. See information
about it and other games including Scrabble. Monopoly, Trivial
Pursuit and Battleship at Hasbro's home page http://www.hasbro.com/.
Internet Gaming Zone
Microsoft's Internet Gaming Zone ("the Zone") provides
dozens of games, from bridge to chess to golf. Most are free of
charge and many are designed for play over the Internet. A unique
feature of the Zone is ZoneMatch lobbies, which allow players
to find each other easily on the Internet and start a game. Enter
the zone at: http://beta.zone.com/asp/default.asp.