When Harvard students need to unwind, they now have an alternative to Tommy's, Loker and the Grille.
Increasingly, students looking to blow off steam are choosing to gun down strangers in virtual reality.
The phenomenon, a video game known as Quake, hit the campus in September, and some students haven't surfaced since.
Players say the game's appeal lies in its interactive design, which allows many remote players to wander dark labyrinths and blast each other over the Internet.
"It's pretty cool because of the opportunities to kill other people. It's designed for 'death matches,'" says Andrew L. Huang '00, a Mower resident and avid player.
Although the game's fans praise its natural graphics, others criticize its graphic nature.
"It's so violent and bloody," says Ann S. Kim '00. "It's sort of hard to play, and it's too time-consuming. And I don't really find it gratifying in any way."
When members of the Harvard Computer Society (HCS) heard rumors last year about the new video game from the makers of Doom, they knew it would be big.
"We felt from the very beginning...that this would be the next gaming phenomenon," says Harvard Computer Society (HCS) Business Manager Justin T. Lin '98.
To accommodate demand for the game's interactive features, HCS designed a server which allows up to 16 players to play Quake at the same time.
The server runs on a Pentium computer in Lin's Leverett room.
Players access the HCS World Wide Web site at "http://vulcan.student.harvard.edu/~quake/", where they see how many others are logged on and can join a game in progress. Other servers across the country also support interactive Quake games.
Although HCS has never set up a game server before, Lin says this project has its roots in HCS's 1994 creation of an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server.
"HCS likes to stay on the cutting edge of technology," he says.
Lin says it is hard to tell how much time HCS members have put into the But Bruce M. Haggerty '00, who describes himself as "a recovering addict," offers a warning. "It's a great way to kill some time--maybe too much time. All of a sudden you look up, and say, 'Whoa, it's four in the morning.'
But Bruce M. Haggerty '00, who describes himself as "a recovering addict," offers a warning.
"It's a great way to kill some time--maybe too much time. All of a sudden you look up, and say, 'Whoa, it's four in the morning.'
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