Shack Chat: What is your favorite Quake weapon?

Sometimes you need to murder shamblers and scrags. We asked our staff about their preferred Quake equipment when the Quake-ing gets tough.


If you've been perusing our website lately, you've likely noticed all the coverage of our 25th-anniversary celebration. What you may not know is that Shacknews isn't the only old dog with a silver anniversary in 2021. id Software's Quake made its debut on June 22, 1996 (that would be 25 years ago this week!). Quake was a technical marvel for its time, ushering in the mainstream adoption of multiplayer deathmatch and 3D accelerators. It would spawn several massively successful sequels and serve as the basis for one of the dopest annual BYOC LAN parties of all time.

For this week's edition of Shack Chat, we asked our staff about their preferred weapons in the Quake franchise. Spoilers: No one picked the axe?!?

Question: What is your favorite Quake weapon?

The 'Original' Rocket Launcher - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Original

I like things that go boom. I like things that blow up my enemies in a single blast. When the staff played Quake for Shacknews' 25th anniversary earlier this year, I naturally gravitated towards this thing. The 'Original' Quake rocket launcher, the one that made the distinctive "whoosh" sound as rockets flew at enemies, the very same one that Valve paid tribute to by passing it along to Team Fortress 2's Soldier almost a decade ago.

What can I say? I love how effective it is. It's the perfect killing machine for anybody who just happens to be camping in one spot. Not that I do such a thing. I'm not camping. I'm not!

Rocket Launcher - Donovan Erskine, Contributing Editor

It may be the basic answer, but come on. The Rocket Launcher is just too good. Something is so incredibly satisfying about leading your rockets, placing them in the exact spot that your enemy is going to be. The Rocket Launcher can also lead to some instant highlight reels once you get in the zone, blasting enemies to Hell in every direction. There’s a lot of games with great Rocket Launchers, but Quake’s is something special.

I’m a Rocket (Launcher) Man - Blake Morse, Co-EIC

How could I not pick the rocket launcher from the game that invented rocket jumping as my fave Quake weapon? I feel like the only time I’ve really done anything near impressive or competent in Quake is when I’m touting one of these bad boys. And it’s just so damn satisfying to watch your opponents explode in a gory haze. One rocket, one kill if I can bastardize the old adage for a moment. Hopefully, we’ll get to see some pro rocket usage in tomorrow’s Great Quakeholio Tournament 4! 

Give me more nails - Chris Jarrard, Has better opinions than fellow staffers

I admit to being a nailgun and super nailgun stan. Most of my experience with Quake was with its single-player component because internet access was not available at my place. Quakeworld was something I didn’t get into until later, so the nailgun’s tendency to not be cool in MP didn’t bother me because I had already marked it as a top choice for myself based on my time in the campaign.

Grenade Launcher - Sam Chandler, Chaos incarnate

It might not be the best weapon or even the easiest one to use, but there’s something deeply appealing about the Grenade Launcher in Quake. The sound of the ‘nades thoop-ing out of the tube, the sound of the grenade exploding on impact or clack-ing around the floor are equally great. Plus, just firing out a volley of ‘nades onto unsuspecting opponents below is neat.

Thunderbolt - TJ Denzer is electric, boogie woogie woogie

I like a good sniper rifle, but Quake 1 doesn’t really have one in the usual sense. It does, however, have the Thunderbolt, better known later on as the Lightning Gun. The Lighting Gun is like a watering can of death. Just direction it over the “flowers” (in this case, soon-to-be corpses) and let the electricity flow.

I think my favorite part about the Thunderbolt other than the fact that I’m a fan of long-range engagement is that it has properties in Quake that no other weapon has. Some might think it dumb that the Thunderbolt will torch everything in water when fired in it, including the wielder, but I think that’s a smart additive. Of course, you don’t want to fire the gun that shoots electricity in water that you are also swimming in.

It’s not an easy weapon to get your hands on, but the Thunderbolt/Lightning Gun is as synonymous to Quake for me as rockets. I don’t know why you’d have a Quake game if you didn’t include some form of either.

Super Nail Gun - Steve Tyminski - Stevetendo show host

I’m going with the Super Nail gun as my weapon of choice in Quake. I really don’t play Quake too often but for these types of games, I want a gun that I can fire quickly. I would also want a weapon to keep enemies away from me and the Super Nail gun does just that. It can also be used to cut through armor and that’s another bonus for me.

Thunderbolt and lightning - is very very frightening for Bryan Lefler

I don’t think there’s a weapon in Quake that is scarier in the hands of a veteran player than the Thunderbolt, or Lightning Gun. The instant hitscan beam can melt through armor and health points before you even spin your mouse around to see your assailant. When used in combination with splash damage weapons like the Grenade or Rocket Launcher, the Thunderbolt becomes a quick follow-up to reduce any meager HP your target might have remaining.

Rocket juggles and mid-air shots are spectacular, but the surgical precision of the Thunderbolt truly strikes fear into my heart when faced against a stronger opponent. If you need to practice following your targets and keeping your aim sharp, the Lightning Gun is a great training tool as well. All of the weapons in Quake come together to form a perfect symphony of carnage, but the Thunderbolt stood out as the most original to me. If you can manage to find the Quad Damage first, good luck to anyone that crosses your beam. Just don’t try to use it underwater, or maybe grab the invulnerability pickup first.

Well, there you have it, folks. The staff has spoken and the consensus seems to be that none of the weapons that came after the first Quake were cool enough to place here. Objectively, this is untrue, but opinions are like dead cats — if you just pretend they aren't there, they can't hurt you. If you guys have some better answers, please be sure to blast us in the comments. Also, don't forget to check out the Great Quakeholio Tournament. It's coming tomorrow, live on the Official Shacknews Twitch Channel.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 25, 2021 6:55 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Shack Chat: What is your favorite Quake weapon?

    • reply
      June 25, 2021 6:58 PM


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      June 25, 2021 7:04 PM

      The Lightning Gun and a pool of water.

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      June 25, 2021 7:15 PM

      Rocket Launcher

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      June 25, 2021 8:12 PM

      i'm a grenade launcher man myself. i love kiting folks around corners, beaning them with grenades the whole time

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        June 25, 2021 8:34 PM

        I love that *poonk* and beaning some poor schlub who's chasing you down with a grenade over the back off a doorframe is *chefs kiss*

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        June 26, 2021 7:57 AM

        I do love that splash damage. Makes the game fairer for the enemies

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      June 25, 2021 10:52 PM

      Rocket man go WOOOSH BOOM.

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      June 26, 2021 12:14 AM

      rox duh

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      June 26, 2021 12:19 AM

      Quake 2 hyper-blaster if my opponents are using a 28.8k modem.

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      June 26, 2021 7:08 AM

      Threewave ctf morning star

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      June 26, 2021 10:14 AM


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      June 26, 2021 10:27 AM

      Quake: Grenade launcher. Phong! ding ding ding!

      Quake 2: Railgun. Still one of the most satisfying of its type. Absolute perfection.

      Quake 3: Rocket launcher I guess. All the weapons are so fine tuned that none really stand out.

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        June 26, 2021 10:37 AM

        I could never get into Q3. I think I was burnt out on deathmatch by then.

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      June 26, 2021 10:43 AM

      there's no better feeling in quake than a lightning gun pin.

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      June 26, 2021 12:06 PM

      Quake: Rocket launcher of course. Super nailgun is also fun.

      Quake 2: Railgun all day baby. Chaingun close second. Shotgun was pretty cool as well. Probably my favorite weapons in any Quake game.

      Quake 3: Little bit harder to decide but I think Railgun and the shotgun was great, too.

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        June 26, 2021 12:07 PM

        oh and overall Q2 railgun

        god I want to play Q2 again

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      June 26, 2021 1:25 PM

      super shotgun! :)

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      June 27, 2021 8:39 AM

      Rocket launcher for sure even though very few things are better in life than running quad with ssg at dm2 low rocket.

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