The Nostalgia of Quake-Likes

I was twelve years old when Quake came out on PC. I still remember the day vividly. My stepdad and I had already played Doom until it had become boring for both of us. I was hooked on Mechwarrior 2 and he just couldn’t get into it. He thought the big stompy robots genre was silly.

Then, one day in 1996, he came home with this big crazy grin on his face and said “I have a new game. We’re going to try the first episode. If it’s as good as Doom, we’ll buy the full game.”

Three gritty, intense days later, he bought the full game.

We had a competition running from day 1. Who could beat the full version of the game first? He was a better player than me, but me being a kid (and homeschooled at that time,) I had more time on my hands to repeatedly die at the hands of the horrors in the game. In the end, he still beat me, but I loved every minute of our race to defeat the final horror of the final level.

When I first discovered Slipgate Chokepoint, all of those memories came roaring back. I bought the original game again (it was like three bucks) and played it to death. Then I came back to Slipgate Chokepoint and, ultimately– 

I ordered Qvke Borg because (at the time) it was cheaper.

In the end, I had to read all the way through all three Quake-like books in the picture above just to prove to myself that I wasn’t just a complete victim of nostalgia, especially since I had to pay $50 (on a Black Friday sale at Exalted Funeral) just to get Slipgate Chokepoint and Ectotectonics into my hands.

So how are they? That’s the point of this writing, right? I enjoyed them, and I will admit that a substantial part of that enjoyment was, probably, nostalgia. If you’ve never played Quake (or you didn’t like it) then you’re probably not going to get much out of these. Qvke Borg is probably the most useful (objectively speaking) because it meshes well with Mork Borg and can plug more dark sci-fi elements to it. Mesh it with Cy_Borg or Vast Grimm and you’ve got the eldritch horror angle added to those as well. It’s pretty nice just as a tack-on. 

I’ve never played (or read) the Stay Frosty system, so I can’t judge that, (or how well Slipgate Chokepoint meshes with it) but Slipgate Chokepoint definitely feels more like grafting the Quake  videogame directly over top of an RPG system, complete with colored armor and all that cheese. It doesn’t do it for me as much as Qvke Borg does, but there is something of merit here. I don’t regret buying Slipgate Chokepoint and its expansion, but I am left wanting after having read it, especially at the ordinary $30 + S&H price that each one of the Slipgate Chokepoint books is listed at. In America, shipped from overseas, you’re looking at an ordinary total price of $58 per book with the shipping included. That’s just silly for a 6x9 trade paperback. At least the paper is good quality and you’re supporting indie creatives if you pick them up. If you’re looking for a discount, you’re unlikely to find them for less on the used market (I trawled Ebay for a year and nothing below market came on) so your best bet is to just pick them up on Exalted Funeral during a big sale and combine shipping with some other tasty items. You’ll get the PDFs that way too.

Price aside, if you play the Stay Frosty RPG and you loved Quake, you’ll probably like Slipgate Chokepoint and Ectotectonics. If you can stand PDFs (I have a hard time with doing the e-reader thing) then you can get them for a much better price (currently $8.17) and involve your gaming group easier than passing around a dead tree book. It’s just, literally, Quake FPS the RPG, complete with deathmatch and rocket jumping, so you know what you’re getting into.


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