Quake Delirium: Remixing Psychedelic Video Games

Jonathan Weinel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quake Delirium1 is a specially designed software patch which enhances the video game Quake2 in order to create a uniquely modi ed version, with graphics, audio and game parameters altered towards a more individual aesthetic for each user. The project is part of my wider research regard- ing compositional techniques to elicit altered states of con- sciousness (ASCs). For the purposes of this article, ‘altered states of consciousness’ refers contextually to enhancing audio and graphical parameters of a video game in such a way as to re ect perceptual features of dreamlike, intoxi- cated or hallucinogenic experiences. The goal is to add a new level of interaction to existing video games and virtual worlds, by facilitating digital hallucinations and simulated temporal shifts of consciousness.The conceived ideal realisation of this project was to construct a ‘Universal Game Remix Device’ that would be suitable for use with many different video games, as a way to ‘remix’3 the virtual experiences towards altered consciousness aesthetics. Technical limitations regarding the feasibility of creating a Universal Game Remix Device led to the development of Quake Delirium, a Max/MSP4 patch5 which works only with the game Quake while running the Fitzquake6 modi cation. Quake Delirium can be considered as a video game ‘hack’7 which demon- strates the proof of concept.In the course of this article I shall demonstrate how altered states of consciousness can be portrayed in video games, either in unique cases or across multiple games by creat- ing the hypothesised Universal Game Remix Device. More broadly, through this discussion I hope to stimulate thought on ways in which interactive artworks and video games could be remixed, and how the potential for projects of this kind could be furthered substantially by the development of a new software protocol which allows artists using Max/MSP/Jitter8 and Pure Data9 to exchange video game information data and signals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalSonic Ideas/Ideas Sonicas
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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