By Nicholas Bostick
This was my first experience with Quakecon (a convention based around Richardson based id Software’s “Quake” franchise), and as someone wisely pointed out, it probably won’t be my last. Quakecon, known for being “The largest LAN party in North America”, has been held annually in the DFW area since 1996. This year it was held at the Hilton Anatole.
By 2012 the event has boomed from 100 people playing video games in a Best Western meeting room to thousands of people setting up PCs and laptops in a barren room that can only be described as The Fast and The Furious meets a refugee camp of nerds. Walking down the aisles of the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area, I gazed at piles of empty energy drink cans and food wrappers interspaced with gamers passed out on their keyboards from the night before (mind you, it was 10 am).
The scene there started off slow but swelled to ravenous heights once free swag was introduced to the masses, raffles were held at several booths, and impromptu competitions were announced sporadically. As the day progressed I popped up to the press area and noticed an amazing spread, prosciutto wrapped monkfish, roast chicken with shallots and lemon grass, some sort of mushroom and potato quiche that wasn’t labeled; the food was delicious so I had to snap a few pics.
I began to feel a tad social after lunch and went to chat with a few con goers, which was remarkably easier than I expected. Within minutes random people became friends, and groups gathered and combined. I ended up volunteering for an hour or so with two other guys who invited me to their room to drink and watch MMA. We ended up at the final round of the Quake tournament in the main ballroom; it was something out of a gladiator movie, a thousand fans screaming for virtual blood while swilling booze, who said games are just for kids?
Quakecon is different from the usual eclectic geek fest; there is no “us and them” mentality or punishment for not knowing a shamble from a protoss. I only had a passing interest in gaming when I went, but I still had a great time and made some new friends, check it out next year and game on.