I presume most of you probably saw the title of this article and thought “Man, this Kevin guy has been slacking. QuakeCon was ages ago!”. Well… sorry! This trip to QuakeCon was my first, and being very new to the TiC Games Network family there was some settling in that needed to occur before I could get to pounding the keyboard to put out some content. Nevertheless, I wanted to post up my thoughts and feelings about my first experience with QuakeCon to give a fresh perspective on the event, and introduce myself a bit to some of this site’s loyal followers. I’m sure you all have already seen and read most of the big news items from the event, but it is my hope that this article can shine some light on the experience of QuakeCon itself behind the highly anticipated gameplay reveals and panels.
As most QuakeCon vets will tell you, not a whole lot happens on Day 0. Despite that, I felt it necessary to take a moment to acknowledge it as it did serve a rather momentous purpose for me. You see, having never been to QuakeCon and having never been considered media/press, this initial day served as a sort of baptism for me. As verbose a man as I like to think I am, I lack the adjectives to appropriately describe the sheer excitement I felt walking up from the parking garage towards the check-in area. Seeing the hustle and bustle of those coming in and out to get their passes, and the MASSIVE line of folks waiting to check-in for the BYOC with their rigs in tow clued me in to some of the things I could look forward to over the next few days.
As if that wasn’t enough to get me hyped, I soon reached the media check-in desk and received what is now a memento I plan to cherish for the rest of my life.
This simple piece of plastic on a lanyard was the ultimate symbol, the tangible realization, that my newfound relationship with the TiC Games Network family was now real. This of course put me in the mood to celebrate, and later that evening I got to do exactly that at the private party Bethesda so graciously hosted for the media, vendors, and employees. I can think of no better welcome to my newfound role than a party filled with delicious free food and an open bar… I was in heaven, and I knew that the next few days were going to be amazing.
So now to the real meat of the Con itself. Having hyped myself from the Day 0 festivities, I awoke early Friday morning with an energy that annihilated any semblance of the hangover I should have had from the copious amount of drinking at the party the night before.
The other two members of our Texas TiC crew came to my place to meet up, and soon after we piled into my car and set off for our short drive to the Gaylord Texan where the Con was taking place. Not long after arriving I found myself in the main convention area scouting out all the booths and vendors that had come to take part. It was then that I realized QuakeCon was a bit… smaller… than I had expected. At first this was a bit of a letdown as I had been priming myself to wear out the soles of my shoes scuttling about all day seeing all there was to see, but I soon realized the merits this Con had to offer. As I progressed throughout the day, I noticed the incredible ease with which all attendees got to speak personally with all the vendors. For the most part, there were no massive lines (except for at the Bethesda retail booth), no impassable crowds, no frantic rush of hopping from one booth to the next. Not to say there were not a lot of people in attendance, as anyone who stood in line for a general admission pass would tell you there were a ton, but the whole experience was so much more intimate and personal than I had anticipated. Watching vendors talk one on one with people as they stopped by, witnessing the leisure with which everyone got to poke around a booth and really see everything they had to show, clued me in that maybe the Con being a bit smaller than I originally thought was actually an incredibly good thing. It was also really interesting to see the juxtaposition of the big boy booths from brands like Razer, MSI, and Corsair mixed in with those of local companies, indie developers, and the lesser known brands all with relatively equal exposure to those in attendance. In a sense, it felt to me like QuakeCon was the perfect introduction to the wild world of gaming conventions (especially from my new media perspective) as I never felt rushed or overwhelmed. There was plenty to do, a lot to see, but I was able to take it all in at my own pace and I feel like that is something that might go overlooked.
Displays like the one featured above were a natural magnet for me, being a PC enthusiast myself, but there was much more than just eye candy. In fact, one of the coolest aspects of the Con to me was the esports stage and events that they had set up on the main convention floor. Over the course of the weekend the stage was home to tournaments for Elder Scrolls: Legends and Quake Champions, and the constant stream of “oohs” and “ahhhs” that accompanied every clutch play and insane frag served as a wonderful soundtrack for those walking around the convention floor. On top of that some of the booths, like MSI with their 2v2 CS:GO tournament, offered the opportunity for confident gamers in attendance to showcase their skills and attempt to win some awesome prizes. I even entertained the idea of giving it a go myself, before coming to terms with the fact that my Counter-Strike days were during the 1.6 era. After acknowledging how much I would suck, I lacked the conviction to drag some other poor soul who unknowingly agreed to be my teammate into the pit of shame that accompanies being stomped and exiting the mini-stage after your first match.
Getting to see and experience all of this in addition to the incredible keynote with it’s jaw-dropping DOOM Eternal reveal, the insightful and reassuring Fallout 76 panel, my hands-on time with Rage 2 and The Elder Scrolls: Blades, and the mind-blowing rigs I got to witness at the BYOC area (I was so enthralled I didn’t take a single picture… I am ashamed) made my QuakeCon 2018 experience one that I will remember for as long as I live… or at least until Alzheimer’s ravages my poor brain.
The point I am getting at here, is that my weekend at QuakeCon 2018 was an absolute dream come true. I cannot think of a better way to christen myself into the world of video game journalism, and I want to sincerely thank the TiC Games Network for allowing me this opportunity and accepting me into their ranks. I also want to thank Bethesda, for putting together a phenomenal experience that I feel blessed to have been a part of (and for the free food and open bar… I am not ashamed).
Basically what I am saying is, in case you haven’t put it all together yet, if you have never been to QuakeCon you should definitely consider adding it to your bucket list. For those of you who are true QuakeCon OGs, hopefully my words have helped you remember what made you fall in love with the convention in the first place and inspire you to come out with a renewed energy when the Con returns in 2019!