Tuesday, November 25, 2014

From Where is the *69 Moniker Derived?

So those of you that have hung around me long enough, within the last 15 years or so, have known that certain things I'm associated with are named with some variant of *69: video game tournaments, poker games, even my Wifi network have s69 or Star Six Nine in it somehow. I get asked a lot where that came from. Well, that's a medium-long story.

When I first moved to Austin in 1999, Quake 3 was a big thing for PC gaming. I had dabbled in Quake 2, but when Quake 3 came out, I got into it pretty hardcore. There was a local LAN tournament in Austin called "IRQ Conflict" (the Q was stylized to look like the Quake "Q" logo.) The best players from the Austin Area (and some even from other parts of Texas) would gather there several times a year.

At the first tournament I went to, I think I placed 5th or 6th in Quake 2. So I didn't do that great, but I played well enough to get noticed by the locals. One of the locals, Josh, decided that he should form a Quake 3 clan comprised solely of Austin players. Nobody could agree on a name, so Josh just used his old Quake 1 clan name, which had been dissolved by now. Since nobody cared, we just went with it: *69.

For a while, none of us in the clan even knew why it was called *69. Eventually I asked Josh why he'd chosen the name *69. The story wasn't that inspiring. He told me that he had hastily formed a clan for a tournament, and he needed a clan name for registration. In true Brick Tamland fashion, Josh simply looked around the room for inspiration. He saw a refrigerator magnet that was advertising a phone service, *69, and just used that.

Many of you younglings might not know this, but back then, when people had home land-line phones, you could add features to your service... like call waiting, caller-id and last-call-return. These were not included in your regular phone service. The last-call-return service was accessed by dialing *69 on your phone. It would simply call back whatever number last called you. So if you had someone that'd call you and hang up on you, you could dial *69 and call them back without knowing their number and go, "Hey, asshole! Why'd you hang up on me!... Oh!... Sorry, Mom! I didn't know it was you. Oh, the cat unplugged your phone as I answered? No, I'm fine. Sorry I haven't called." The funny thing is that some people thought that by naming ourselves *69 that we were saying, "If you frag us, we'll frag you back!" Ha! If only we'd have been that clever...

So, in short, Josh had this GTE (not even AT&T, hmph) magnet reminding him of the *69 service, and he simply chose that for the clan name kinda randomly. And the dojo part? Well, ever since being part of that clan, people would come over to practice Quake. I'd host many, many LAN parties over the years. And since my clan was called *69, and we practiced at my place all the time, people starting calling my house the *69 Dojo. Makes sense, right?

Anyway, the name stuck with me and anytime I couldn't come up with a better name for something, which is almost always, I just name it s69 or STAR69 or *69. The end.

TL;DR = *69 comes from my Quake clan's name which was in turn inspired by a lame refrigerator magnet.


mike said...

I was just randomly looking up old quake 1 guild stuff. I used to hang out with the *69 guys on irc. It has been sooo long, of course, but I remember stasis, and cled. It has been a long time. Very cool to know where the name actually came from, lol!

I used to play under "grandmasterfunk" or "gmf".

Russell said...

Rob, this post brought back some awesome memories. Hope you and the family are doing well my friend. ~Russell

Katsu said...

Wow. 16 year old Quake 3 phenom, Russ? Thrax was it? Look me up on Facebook man. ;)