20 Years of Halfquake Amen

Halfquake Amen turns 20 today.

It feels really weird.

Yesterday, I thought that it felt like I didn't do anything since then. Of course, that's not true. I released Sunrise, a bunch of music, stories and other games. But it's so strange. Nothing turned into a rollercoaster like Halfquake Amen did.

Lots of people sent me emails and messages back then. It popped up on several websites and even got used in a printed german magazine (PC Action). I got calls by the editor, and even some sales guy. I presented it on a PC to a local news station for a game competition (which I didn't win in the end). I got new friends who suddenly spent some time living in my apartment.

With the re-release on Steam, there was a new wave of people who now know about it. Videos were made about it with high number of views. People joined my discord server, left over 330 reviews, and even bought the $1 DLC. Most would still say that Amen is the best out of the three mods.

For the past 20 years, I've probably been running away from Amen. I wouldn't let myself get defined by this one thing I made. Everything I made since then was me trying to prove that, see? I can make something else too! Luckily, a lot of you joined me on my adventures into new musical and artistic directions, explorations of new lands and new ground.

But in the end, it all comes down to Amen. I've spent a long time analyzing it, trying to understand it. And that feels weird for someone who has actually made it. I always thought I understood its nature, but the more time goes by the less I do. Maybe it's the music. Maybe it's the art style. Maybe it's the world that it drowns the player in. Maybe it's because it was based on Half-Life and people liked seeing something different. Maybe it's because of the click-baity name and people expect to see, you know, Half-Life mixed with Quake.

I have found a lot of answers over the years. I have received feedback and signals from players that seem to support some of these answers.

But the only thing that I've come to fully grasp is that it would be dangerous to try and replicate it. I have to let Amen be what it is.

A teenager's dream.