QuakeCon 2016 – Doom VR Hype!

QuakeCon, the annual pilgrimage of thousands of gamers around the world to Dallas, Texas, took place August 4th this year. With it, Bethesda showed off its newest games, future games, and the newest technology in the gaming world. Along with what Bethesda brought to the table, the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area was filled with over 2000 gamers who brought their PC or console of choice with them, to set up in the largest LAN party in North America.

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QuakeCon spans 3 days, and includes various panels ranging from reviewing technology, listening to developers, and even watching a movie get the Mystery Science Theater treatment from Master Pancake. This year was no different, with various guest moderators including Adam Sessler of Xplay fame, to Geoff Keighley, from Spike TV’s Game Awards. Attendees were able to listen in and ask developers questions about their games, and even talk to them afterward. This year even included a QuakeCon exclusive sneak peek at Prey and Dishonored 2, which wasn’t shown anywhere else.

The go-to events for me, besides the entertaining panels, are the PC Perspective Hardware show, hosted by http://pcper.com, and Master Pancake Theater. This year PC Perspective gave away $30,000 worth of PC parts and accessories! It is basically one big commercial for Nvidia and other top companies, but they hand out so much stuff (unfortunately I have never won, but hundreds do!). Master Pancake Theater riffed on 50 Shades of Grey this year, and it was entertaining as always. If you are ever in the Austin area, you should check them out, or come to QuakeCon.

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When I wasn’t attending a panel, I was in the BYOC, or asleep. The BYOC is its own animal. It takes some getting used to, and people are loud, but a good set of headphones lets you zone out and focus on gaming. The BYOC is open 24 hours a day the length of QuakeCon, so you can play as much or as little as you want. I have been going to QuakeCon for 8 years, and everyone respects your equipment. Even though they are sometimes loud and obnoxious, the BYOC looks out for each other. If you luck out, the spot next to you will be empty because someone decided not to go last minute, and if that happens, you can use their spot as a place for your snacks! You will see all sorts of craziness in the BYOC, from shirtless clan members chanting, to people creating towers of BAWLS and pizza boxes.

The highlight of this years event for me was DOOM VR. Out of all of my years of gaming, putting on that headset and being immersed in the world of DOOM was one of my favorites. I had never used VR before, and was afraid of getting motion sickness, or having issues with my glasses. Fortunately, neither of those things were an issue. The HTC VIVE they had set up to demo the game worked flawlessly. It was a short, timed demo, but included multiple stages, and a unique way to move around by warping which worked great. When you first fight the demons, then turn around and another demon is in your face, you get chills. The second stage pits you against larger demons, and you start on a rock pillar. The first time I looked down I became disoriented, because it really felt like you were on the edge of a pillar, and one false step would mean your…DOOM. Although you could not die during the demo, it showcased the concept of the game, and it makes me want to play more VR games on the HTC VIVE. Looking up at a giant demon towering above you is something I can’t put into words.

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QuakeCon is a great community event put on every year by Bethesda, and has many hundreds of volunteers who dedicate their time each year to make everything run smoothly. It is also free to attend! Yes, that is right, you can show up and view the show floor and attend any panel you want for free! The only thing that costs money is a seat in the BYOC (which you have to fight for months in advance), and any merchandise you would like to buy. I highly recommend going, as it is different than any other con I have been to.

As they say at QuakeCon, Peace, Love, and Rockets!

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