The first time I played the game of Quake 3: Arena was in class 12. It was a new game, a first person shooter with a twist of vengeance never before seen. Fancy graphics, simple gameplay - just frag. In my first year, it still represented stress relief of the twisted kind... you kill, and your veins surge with the excitement of an adrenaline rush. But by God, was it addictive! The image of the stereotypical Quake fanatic comes to mind. Geeky clothing, teeth bared, eyes glued into the monitor, he glowers in anger and gloats at the corpse of his dead opponent. Competition emerges. The defeated swells and tried to vanquish the victor.
By the end of second year, it was a daily activity. I was a part of the Quake religion. The capital Q in Quake gave way to the small q in quake. That's when you realize how far reality is from stereotypes. That's when you find out how many other "normal" people were part of the same "cult".
It's really a great feeling. Unknown and talented opponents identified only by their quake aliases became good friends. A new subculture emerged out of the already rich heritage IITM had. "Newbies" practiced hours on end to challenge the successful and the famous. All entertainment. No hard feelings.
We had our own legends - Faisal and Vibra to mention a few. No other year had as many quake afficionados as ours. True, our juniors have had their own crop of enthusiasts, but none of them have gone through the kind of conditioning we have. From mere beginners to people who downloaded every mod available to test all challenges, all limits. From duels against lone nightmare bots to two-versus-six CTFs. Each challenge bigger than the next. From standalone machines to home-made networks to the insti lan. Bigger and better.
Now that the current fourth year leaveth, with it endeth the Golden Age of quake.
Old friends leave and only the legacy of their legendary skill remains.