Often cited as the convention that started eSports, Quake Con is a gaming convention that has expanded from just Quake competitions and into a con floor revolving around all things Bethesda Softworks. This annual convention is held in Dallas, Texas and it’s amassed a crowd that is only partially there to play game demos and see game reveals. The convention also supports one of the largest Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) areas I’ve ever seen at a convention, or at the very least the most secluded and special feeling BYOC area.
Conventions like Dreamhack and PAX also have BYOC areas but they’re visible from the floor and aren’t too detached from the expo hall. However, at Quake Con, if you wander over through to the adjacent ballroom from the con floor you truly enter another world. With some of the most ridiculous rigs I’ve ever seen, the world of the BYOC area is truly unique. It’s clear that the convention didn’t forget its roots in LAN parties and friendly competition.
With this 24-hour area, it felt like most of the people at the convention knew each other. There were shirts from almost every past year and I promise that almost every generation of gamer was represented celebrating games and a publisher they love. It is one of the largest community feeling that I have experienced. Con-goers were able to get their hands on almost every game showcased at the Bethesda E3 press conference. During the keynote, we also got Quake Champions announcements and a reveal of Doom: Eternal gameplay.
As great as it was to play some of the games on display like Rage 2, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, and even the new Prey expansion Mooncrash, the reason I want to come back is the feeling of belonging and community that spread from the food trucks to the dark halls BYOC, and even to the raffle lines. The energy at the convention center extended past the games and to the charity aisle. Working the Stack Up booth other Austin and Shreveport Stack members is one of my favorite convention experience yet.
Con-goers stopped by the booth non-stop and their interest extended beyond a shirt or a patch with our logo. All of us were grateful to have one-on-one conversations with veterans and civilians alike. Talking about our mission but more importantly, hearing their stories and welcoming them into our gaming community.
Beyond the PC and video gaming, there was a hall set aside just for table tops and even laser tag, the latter of which the Austin and Shreveport Stacks were lucky enough to take part in. There truly was a little something for every kind of gamer. Competition, LAN parties, game demos, swag giveaways, and more, I understand why this convention has been going strong since the 1990s,
With a giant Doom: Eternal statue greeting people as they enter the expo hall it there many places for the gamers to go to, and time and time again they stopped by us. We were there all three days, and over that period of time, we met people on day one who came back on day two to keep the conversation going. The charitable spirit of Quake Con matched the unity of the BYOC area, and we all got a unique experience we will carry with us.