Playing Quake On Your Wrist Is the Best Reason to Buy The Apple Watch Ultra's Big Screen

Looking to justify a new smartwatch you don't really need? Turn it into a wearable gaming rig.

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Still struggling over whether you should upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 8 or the new Apple Watch Ultra? Game developer Tomas Vyzmazal has answered that question for you by successfully porting Quake to Apple’s smartwatch: it’s a game that will definitely be far more enjoyable on the Ultra’s much larger screen.

It’s usually id Software’s other iconic first-person shooter, Doom, that crafty developers try to get running on all manner of weird hardware. Remember when someone actually got Doom running on a gutted pregnancy test? But Quake provides a greater technical challenge because it was both a fully 3D environment and one that allowed players to finally look up and down and even perform dramatic jumps.

Quake 1 port to Apple Watch

Vyzmazal managed to get Quake running on an Apple Watch Series 5 which, while a few generations old now, still packs a processor that’s more than capable of running the game through a software renderer at around 60 fps at a respectable resolution of 640x480, and successfully tested at up to 1024x768, although with a reduced frame rate.


A high-pass audio filter was introduced to eliminate some audible clicking when the Apple Watch’s puny speakers struggle to play some of the game’s lower-frequency sounds, but what’s most impressive is the on-screen touch controls that can be paired with motion controls through the Apple Watch’s gyro sensors. There’s supposedly even digital crown controls, although Vyzmazal didn’t specify what exactly that controls.

If you want to try this for yourself on your own Apple Watch (even the earliest versions of the wearable have far more processing power than the gaming PCs Quake would have been originally developed for), you’ll need to have access to a development environment. That’s because Vyzmazal has only provided their own custom source code for download through their GitHub account. You’ll need to build the app yourself, and download the other necessary game assets using the shareware version of the game, which is still readily available online.