In the timeline of multiplayer games there was a point where you could play on the internet with strangers, but there wasn’t yet voice chat. Games let you type a line of text and broadcast it to the top of everyone’s screen, and it would mix in with server messages about what else happened, like who killed who by what means, or who joined and left.

Quake 1 exemplified this when its online multiplayer community blew up. Id released the Quakeworld client, which compensated for the lag we all had on dial-up – Under 300 ping was great; under 100 would get you accused of being a low ping bastard / LPB. The community built GameSpy, then called QuakeSpy, the global server browser Windows 95 app, which we all used as a launcher. The DOS-era convention of having a boss key to quit to the shell was still in effect, though.

It was all so new, that year everyone was both a noob and a troll. I for one was in middle school. So we’d bind a key to say “F10 for extra armor” and see who quit. But it was not usually the player ahead of you on the scoreboard.