The original Quake goes free for QuakeCon, and Quake 2 might, too

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Remember when QuakeCon was about Quake? It was the mid-'90s, and a bunch of guys schlepped their PCs to a hotel in Texas, set up a LAN, and spent the weekend blowing each other to bits. Id Software wasn't even involved—they just heard about it and showed up on the last day to see what the hell was going on.

It's come a long way since then, but you can get a small taste of what those long-ago days were like during this year's QuakeCon at Home event, just by logging into the Bethesda launcher while it's running. Everyone who does will have the original Quake added to their launcher library for free.

If the game doesn't appear in your library, log out and then back in, and it should turn up. (Doing that worked for me.) It eats up an amusingly tiny 54MB of drive space when installed (Warzone's 200GB stings a little more in contrast), a process that takes a few seconds on any kind of decent internet connection. It runs like a charm, but you'll have to do some horsing around with the controls if you want to roll with the standard WASD setup. Mouselook will also have to be manually enabled: Type +mlook in the console to make that happen.

This may not be the only old-fashioned Quake giveaway to take place during QuakeCon, either. Bethesda is also raising money for charities including Direct Relief, UNICEF, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and The Trevor Project, as well as the Dallas Pets and Four Paws animal charities, and if donations during the event top $10,000, the great Quake 2 will go free too.

QuakeCon at Home runs until 10 pm ET on August 9. Here's the full schedule.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.