Play Hard, Make History

Welcome to my first installment of Throwback Thursday. This will be a weekly series of posts, looking back in time to contrast various events in esports/gaming/hardware with today. Me monetizing me being old.

This first throwback goes wide, features Space Synth and 64 games over 45 (!) years. When you mentally date gaming in your head, how far do you think back in time? Not far enough.

Play Harder, Make History

A brief history of shooters

  • 64 games in 9 minutes
  • 45 years of pixelated pwn
  • Retro-road-trip: 1975 to 2020
  • (pcmasterrace) sterilized for peasantry

From a time when micro-transactions was literally just quarters, to now being the size of a whale

Byte-sized facts about stuff in the video

Doom was released in 1993 and the groundbreaking FPS game introduced a new competitive mode called DeathMatch, enabling players to play against eachother. At first limited to local networks (LANs) and direct connections over modem, but an online matchmaking service called DWANGO (Dial-up Wide-Area Network Game Operation) brought Doom online as of 1994.

Doom's LAN-mode spawned the first "gaming cafe's" with pay-to-play time-based machines featuring Doom and regular LAN tournaments for the best of the best.

Kim Rom and Lee Chen, featured in this video, are co-founders of Xplayn

Texas, home to id Software, became a mecca of competitive gaming as venues such as Austin Virtual Gaming offered tournaments that players and designers (most notably John Romero) competed in.

Angel Munoz would years later incorporate The CPL (the first structured esports league) in Texas. QuakeCon is famously based in Texas, while ESEA also organized their ProLeague finals there.

Texarsch was the capital of esports for more than a decade. Before LA and Berlin got all hipster and took over esports.


In order to promote Windows 95, especifically Direct-X, Microsoft ported DOOM to Windows. They showcased the technological achievement with Bill Gates holding a speech inside the game. 64 seconds of cringe is enough for everyone.

Bill Gates back when he was chaotic evil and not trying to vacinate everyone

The event also hosted the first major LAN tournament in esports history, the Hexen II tournament and the $10,000 prizepool was won by Dennis 'Thresh' Fong.


He was too hipster for arrow keys

Thresh was the first high-profile gamer to adopt WASD as input commands for his keyboard. He is considered the first pro gamer in esports, not just for his tournament wins, but also for signing the esports industry's first ever sponsorship (with Microsoft).


The below Quake-video is from Id's official launch party in 1996.

First first-person-shooter in 3D

Check the dude playing at 0:39, the real-life ducking shows how new and impactful 3D graphics was in 1996. Also, that guy playing with a joystick, that's literally how 2-dimensional shooters were before Quake. The impact of Quake, and especially the engine running the game, cannot be underestimated.

Quake players could connect to servers that supported up to 16 players at a time. This led to a "hard fork" in pc nerd culture, as the Killer App(s) for the Personal Computer was finally disocvered: multiplayer games.

Id's decision to license the engine to other game developers, might be one of the core reasons why esports exist today. #hyperbole


The Daikatana comment in the video is a reference to this beauty, one of the better marketing blunders in gaming history.

*bitch, plz


Bungie, who later created the Halo and Destiny franchises, shipped the first AAA-title with mouselook in 1994. Before that we all played games as cavemen, without being able to look up. Or down. Or sideways.

Bungie was also the first developer to ship a game with maps specifically designed for multiplayer, as opposed to maps designed for singleplayer/story-mode.

in 1999 this was sci-fi porn

The game was Marathon, which was released on Macintosh.. Just as Halo was supposed to be. Most gamers today have no idea that it was Steve Jobs that first presented Halo on a stage.

Before the dark times. Before the empire.


The video picks ever so slightly on Call of Duty because... They organize their Special Event on console. With a controller.

Forcing even one player to compete on a controller-based platform is a hate crime against all players, even if casualties are mostly limited to the uninformed peasants who play FPS-games on a console.

Imagine driving Tour de France on a tri-cycle - that's the best way I can visualize Call of Duty "esports". It's the Special Organization of esports.

Press F to show some respect or something. Throwback Thursday /ends.. Thanks for reading.


Video credits

I superglued some stuff together that people with actual talent created. Thank you to the creators who captured or recreated the in-game footage:

Ahoy, GmanLives, THC, GamePlayShare, decebal01US, Bigtymer781, Shirrako, PC Indie Master Race, PC Gaming Videos, Gaming Pastime, CaptainArkamond, JimProGamer, TheTacticalRedneck, Swifty Unknown, AFGuidesHD, Meagain -, SalaGiochi1980, MandaloreGaming, Cumcrete, Civvie 11, Replay Burners, LongplayArchive, P.B. Horror Gaming, hirudov2d as featured in this playlist.


Music composed and produced by Jeroen Tel of Maniacs of Noise, thank you my Dutch brother from another mother.

I did a (technically laughable) attempt at mixing between the classic Commodore 64 track and with the Tel Me More remake in the start of the video, in case you were wondering wtf was going on.