The Quake Xmas Jam 2020, Is there anything more festive than blowing a bunch of separate video game villains thematically in their faces while Winter Wonderland gently drifts across the background like snowfall in December? If your answer to this clearly loaded question is “Yes,” then let me direct your attention to Quake Xmas Jam 2020, a collection of 19 new maps from 19 creators just in time for the holidays.
The maps were developed for a “mapping crowd” for a month using large dimensional modification that began on November 12th and continued through December 13th. Features were the dealer’s choice, but gameplay limits should be limited to 1024 x 1024 x 1024, which means the maps themselves are relatively small. It can be accessed via a holiday-themed startup map which, in standard Quake-style (but with more tricks around), lets you determine the difficulty level (including Nightmare) before taking the elevator to the map setting area.
Quake Xmas Jam 2020 requires Quakespasm, The Quake Xmas Jam 2020, a “modern multi-platform Quake 1 OpenGL engine (Windows, Linux, and macOS)” that supports 64-bit CPUs, ultra-wide displays, and a host of other updates and fixes – essential because, in case you’ve forgotten, Quake is 24 years old, my goodness. You will also need a legitimate copy of Quake, from Steam, GOG, or Bethesda, and of course the Quake Xmas Jam archive itself.
I’ve only played a few levels so far, and they all feel compact and fast, but well polished. One of them was like going up a dark ladder, except for the stairs moving and armed men waiting at most corners, and if you fell from the wrong place, you would be lost forever in the eternal emptiness; Another asked me to find a magic ax and use it to complete some kind of ritual sacrifice (full disclosure: This is Quake and I didn’t pay close attention to the details of the narration), which I did – then I immediately got kicked my ass by four Hells-bombing handlers.
There is a lot I haven’t seen but I’m willing to bet they are good things all around, and the setup is actually pretty simple. And it’s free, the greatest gift ever.