QuakeCon Celebrates 20th Anniversary in 2016 with Quake Tournaments

QuakeCon is not only the largest BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Computer) LAN party in all of North America, it’s also one of the longest-running in the country. QuakeCon started back in 1996 among a group of friends on IRC and has blossomed into one of the most elite gaming conventions in the country. QuakeCon 2016 takes place in Dallas, TX from August 4 - 7.

I’ve attended on two different occasions and there’s nothing else quite like it. Thousands of people wait in lines for hours shepherding their computer rigs, monitors, and sleeping gear into a huge arena designed to allow for the smoothest and most latency-free connections around. No lag excuses for your opponent’s frags at QuakeCon.

What makes QuakeCon so unique isn’t just how large the LAN party is, but it’s also how focused and dedicated the event organizers are for their target audience. You won’t have to sift through rows of booths showing off random mobile games or bizarre accessories for consoles that you probably don’t care about - instead, QuakeCon is designed to celebrate the core PC gaming community.

Everything from top-of-the-line headsets, mice, keyboards, and other assorted PC gaming peripherals litter the expo hall, tempting the eyes and wallets of attendees from around the world. And one of my favorite parts about the event is, despite the fact that most people bring their PC to game via LAN multiplayer that weekend, there is also a healthy portion of the group playing single-player games in the crowd just to enjoy the company. It’s a true gaming event built from the ground up for gamers.

During my visits to the convention, not only was I able to try out some of the best upcoming games as a member of press, such as The Elder Scrolls OnlineDishonoredDOOMThe Evil Within, and several others before they launched, but regular convention attendees got to play the games as well. And since it’s a much smaller and more intimate show floor as opposed to the massive mammoth that is PAX, QuakeCon feels like a much more manageable event my comparison.

The once and future Quake

Every year, in addition to the show floor, presentations, giant LAN party, and litany of other attractions and activities, there’s also an annual Quake tournament with cash prizes and eternal glory at stake. A recent announcement from Bethesda and id described things further:

“To celebrate QuakeCon’s 20th anniversary and 20 years of Quake, we’re pleased to announce this year’s official tournaments to be held August 4-7, 2016 in Dallas, TX in the Wedgwood Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.

Players from around the globe will once again come together to compete for their share of $25,000 cash in the QUAKEWORLD 2on2 Team Deathmatch Open and the Quake Live masters will be invited back to battle for the 2016 title in the QUAKE LIVE Duel Masters Championship.”

By splitting the events in half between QUAKEWORLD and QUAKE LIVE, it broadens the scope of who can compete depending on their game preference. The QUAKEWORLD 2on2 Team Deathmatch Open will support up to 32 teams teams of two players each in a double elimination bracket and best-of-three games format. The overall champions of this event will take home $12,000 as their cash prize, with all of the top teams splitting a total of $25,000 between them all.

Attendees interested in the QUAKEWORLD 2on2 Team Deathmatch Open can register on-site on Thursday, August 4.

The QUAKE LIVE Duel Masters Championship tournament on the other hand is where the true frag masters come to settle their differences. Featuring well-known professionals and top competitors, the Duel Masters Championship will pit 32 of the top hand-selected players to face off in tense 1 vs. 1 duels played in a best-of-five format. Once the tournament whittled itself down to the final two remaining, the entirety of QuakeCon will gather around, in the thousands, to watch them face-off. The final set will be a single elimination, best-of-five epic faceoff to determine the winner of the grand prize: a $12,000 check and lifelong bragging rights.

If you think you’ve got what it takes, you can register for the IntelQUAKE LIVE Duel Masters Championship online right here.

This might seem like a lot of cash for some seemingly dated and long-dead games, so let me explain. Quake is alive and well. While the original Quake launched all the way back in 1996 to help continue the evolution of the first-person shooter genre, it received follow-ups, including the renowned Quake III Arena in 1999. Games like Quake III Arena and others in the series helped establish the competitive gaming scene in the late 90s and early 2000s as fanbases grew around the series for its twitch-reflex focused gameplay and smooth action.

Quake Live was originally designed as an update and free-to-play relaunch of Quake III Arena, focused specifically on perfecting the gameplay of its predecessor and establishing itself further as a go-to competitive fragfest - and it mostly succeeded, other than the ill-received re-relaunch on Steam last year, which is no longer free.

Yet, here we are, in 2016, on the eve of the new DOOM, and Quake Live still has a rabid fanbase and active subreddit community. The legacy of Quake and its sequels goes to show that it’s not all about visual fidelity, realistic physics, ambient occlusion, and a higher sense of realism. Sometimes, all that matters is nailing the gameplay, creating a fun and engaging world, and supporting the fanbase with events to keep them engaged.

Why fix it if it isn’t broken?

You can stay up to date with more about QuakeCon 2016 right here.