When I attend conferences about gaming, I am not used to playing games very often. Believe it or not, E3, Sony Gamers Day, and events like that are times when I get to see developers, producers, and PR folks play the games for me, talk about them, or lead my by the hand through their booth. However, in Day Two of the 2004 QuakeCon event, I got all the gaming time I wanted.
There were several workshops going on that I was thinking about attending. However, after getting in to my hotel room about 1:45 AM the night after Day One, I was beat. Then the worst thing possible could have happened. Bright and early the smoke alarm went off on the entire floor of the hotel I was staying at. If you have never been awakened by a loud beeping noise, you are missing out on a headache and ringing in your ears that takes days to get rid of. If an alarm clock manufacturer tried to use the sounds that were emitted from my hotel room to wake people up, they would be sued for destroyed a person's hearing.
Regardless of any lawsuits I feel led to file against the hotel, I looked out my door and saw flashing lights and met John Bean in the Hall. Emily had already taken off for the day--so she missed the extra excitement. John and I were both very groggy but managed to get down the stairs. Much to our surprise, the guy behind the counter didn't have much to say. When I asked him about the alarm, he said something about they were testing some stuff out. I was pretty angry when I learned that there was no fire and crawled back up the stairs so my ears could ring some more. I jumped in the shower so I could get around and leave. Just as I got done getting ready, the alarms stopped. Just my luck.
When we arrived at QuakeCon afterwards, we sat up and started gaming like there was no tomorrow. We participated in Doom 3 single player, multiplayer, Quake III Arena, Worms World Party, Revolt, Unreal Tournament 2004, surfed the Internet, chatted with people around us, visited with the vendors, and watched Fat1lty destroy every opponent that got in his way. For those of you who don't know, Fat1lty is one of the world's best First Person Shooter gamers and has recently inked a deal with ABit to deliver some of the best gaming hardware in the world. The first batch of equipment should be available later this year.
Another aspect of QuakeCon that is probably overlooked by the corporate sponsors is the vast amount of file sharing that takes place. I heard countless stories of people that came in with empty hard drives only to run out of space by the second day. Of course, we at CVGames do not condone piracy and feel like even if you download a game (or other item) for any reason--you should buy the retail product. The developers work hard on games and unless we support them financially by buying their products, there won't be any cool new innovative titles in the future. But then again, what do you expect when you get people to bring their own computers in a huge convention room?
I left about 1:30 AM that evening after some vicious rounds of Worms World Party. Meeting fellow friends from the Something Awful forums was also a real treat. Sitting here at QuakeCon 2004, I feel like a very integral part of a gaming community and if you ever have a chance to make it to this event, you really need to come. If you do, make sure you bring your computer. The QuakeCon event team does an excellent job of keeping your gear safe and nothing beats fragging fellow gamers in a huge LAN event.