From the floor of: Quakecon 2011 – A Paul O’hara Joint
[Ed. note: Micheal P. Ohara is a GameCrashers fan and Retroids.com community member who has agreed to share with us some of the who, where, what, and why of Quakecon 2011. What follows below is a small cross-section of one man's misadventures in the LAN-d that is Quakecon. Enjoy.]
One week ago I was in the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area at Quakecon 2011, also known as North America’s largest LAN party. Over 3,000 people were in attendance this year, resulting in a collection of different games being played for both PC and Console. The short list included titles like Heroes of Newerth, Brink, and League of Legends to console staples the likes of “the Halos” and Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition. There were even people playing World of Warcraft, which was generally frowned upon in the past, but thanks to AT&T providing a backbone internet connection, lots of internet games were being played this year compared to years past. There was plenty of Starcraft 2 being played along with, not to be left out, some games of Command & Conquer 3. I also saw plenty of case mods from the PC crowd, but we will get into that later.
Thursday afternoon kicked off with the annual Quakecon keynote address given by none other than legendary programmer and game designer John Carmack (with and introduction by id Software CEO Todd Hollinshead). John talked for nearly 90 minutes about the programming behind RAGE developing for consoles versus developing for PCs.
I sat through most of the keynote and the Q&A that followed, but it dragged on a little too long for my tastes. So I went back to the BYOC and killed a lot of time playing games (and getting my picture taken with G4’s Morgan Webb) until it was time for my volunteer shift at 4am. [Ed. note: Quakecon is a free event that relies heavily on volunteers to help everything run smoothly]. I completed my shift and went to my hotel room to sleep at 8am Friday morning, subsequently missing the Skyrim demo presentation. But, by all accounts, it went quite well. In fact, it went so well a woman went into labor during the presentation. That’s apparently how awesome this game is.
The next panel I went to was the Prey 2 panel. The demo was an expanded version of the futuristic cityscape that was shown at E3, with the same objective of capturing a bounty. I, personally, cannot wait for this game to be released next year, as it is shaping up to be a great game. The next stop on the con was one of my personal highlights, an event known by one name: Master Pancake Theater. Allow me to explain: They are an Austin, TX based comedy troupe known for MST3K’ing some horrible (and some not-so-horrible) movies. This year the guys ripped the shit out of the first Twilight movie while ‘much fun’ (definition: sober and alcoholic — mine was sober fun) was had by all. For example, screaming diahara at the top of my lungs every time a close-up of someone’s eyes filled the screen made it all worthwhile for me. But the ultimate highlight was the skit in the middle of the panel featuring one very drunk woman playing Bella and one of the troupe members playing Edward. It was quite hilarious and, as such, I have included a link to it below (warning – NSFW):
After that ended I was off to a forum meeting for the unofficial forums, which ended at 12:30 Saturday morning. I went back to my hotel room and slept until 2:45 Saturday morning, then went back to the hotel and started my second day of volunteering. That finished at 8am, and I went and slept in my room for a little longer, then I made my way over for the final panel of the event, the PC Perspective hardware workshop. The panel was massive, with a lot of stuff given away. They also had a system build-off and gave away two sweet custom PCs. And the case mods were most impressive [Ed. note in Vader voice: “Most impressive”]. The winners of each system completely deserved their first place status, and the Custom mod winner’s rig was nothing short of amazing! You can watch the Workshop via Youtube below:
Afterwards, I went back and played quite a few games. A little Counter-Strike Source, some Brink, some Borderlands, and I even started a new game of Dragon Age 2. I played for a very long time before it was time for my final night of volunteering. I was running the tech desk (yes, I was technical support for a LAN of 3000 people for three nights from 4-8am) by myself, since my compatriot decided to leave earlier that day. So I had a good friend I’d met during the con give me a hand until he eventually caught me asleep at the booth and decided to take a picture of me sleeping. [Ed note: I probably would have done the same] I decided to end early and catch a nap outside in one of the pavilions before it was time to go. I came back in after my nap, went out to my van, grabbed my rolling cart, and loaded up my entire setup. All in all, I had a blast this year at Quakecon 2011. I will be going back next year!
Special Thanks to:
- DarkSideRob for allowing me to write this article for GameCrashers.net
- ID Software/Bethesda Software/Zenimax Media for putting on the convention/BYOC
- The Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX for being a great host hotel (even if everything was a little spaced out)
- The Quakecon Unofficial Forums (http://qconforums.org/)
- The following people from the aforementioned forums and #Quakecon IRC (located on Gamesurge): Naanad, Xipher, PreciousDeath, FrEaK, Pylorns, Bedlam, Ahab, there’s too many of you guys!