Highlights From QuakeCon 2016

Quake Con 2016

QuakeCon 2016 has come and gone, and for the 21st year, the shooter-oriented community event once again left Dallas attendees awestruck with its cavalcade of awesomeness. Fueled by new content from Bethesda and backed by plenty of devoted fans doing their thing, the show left no stone unturned when it came to providing fun across just over three days.

Of course, the big highlight was the BYOC room, a 3,000-plus seating space for PC gamers to get together and do their thing for the course of the three day event, fueled by pizza and Bawls energy soda, and letting out chants of “You know it!” and “Dicks out for Harambe!” (Yes, the late zoo gorilla actually got a lot of attention at the show – he even had his own shrine.)

The Exhibit Hall had plenty to offer as well, with a number of exhibitors, including Bethesda’s VR space, New Blood Interactive with its retro-based shooter Dusk, Alienware with a big PC gaming set-up straight out of a truck, and lots of giveaways on the Alienware Stage, from PC get-ups to games to t-shirts – which fans were more than happy to receive.

Here’s a quick rundown of highlights from the event!

Master Pancake. The comedic MST3K-style team once again returned to ravage a new film – and it was none other than 50 Shades of Grey. Of course, the film deserved to be torn apart, and the quartet did a marvelous job setting up jokes and having fun with skits, including a terrific one where they brought a gamer, Harley, out of the audience and made him pretend that he was filling Dakota Johnson’s role. Then a bleeding anus and a buttplug showed up and got drunk on glazed donut rum and…well, yeah, you had to be there. But it was amazing.

Dusk. While Quake Champions was no doubt the game of show for QuakeCon attendees, Dave Oshry and his team at New Blood Interactive didn’t disappoint with their offering, Dusk. This fast-paced shooter features both a full-on story mode (which we got to play the first level of – very good), as well as an endless mode where you scamper around for weapons and try to stay alive as the odds stack against you. A good time was had at the New Blood booth, and you might want to keep an eye out for this game when it makes its debut at PAX West later this month.

Devolver Digital. Even though QuakeCon clearly belonged to Bethesda with its hard-to-miss presence, Devolver Digital made an impact at the show as well, bringing along its blood-soaked shooter Shadow Warrior 2, which is set to release next month; and Strafe, an old-school blast-a-thon with plenty of challenges in its own right. The team was very cool to everyone that stopped by, and even gave away a ton of Shadow Warrior 2 exclusive QuakeCon character skins – and yes, we’ll be giving many of those away in the weeks ahead. Kudos to Kate and the team for doing such a great job getting us pumped for Shadow Warrior 2!

Doing good for charity. While QuakeCon was no doubt focused on good times with gaming, there were also a few charities on hand to help do some good amongst the gaming community. Extra Life was in attendance and raised money using a limited edition Quake Champions portrait signed by the team; Dallas Pets Alive! helped raise awareness for adoption while giving away Bethesda-exclusive goodies; and 1up On Cancer raised quite a bit of money raffling off game codes and hosting Double Habanero challenges, co-hosted by JerkyXP. No matter which way you wanted to go, there were many ways to help others out. Me? I took that Double Habanero challenge and handed it its ass. That’s how I roll.

New presentations won us over. Bethesda had plenty of presentations on hand over the course of the three-day weekend, including new footage from Dishonored 2 (like a great scene where Corvo throws a potential victim over a ledge, stops time to jump down, and then catches the guy before he hits the ground); debut gameplay footage from Prey (which looks outstanding for its early state of development); and Quake Champions (which runs at an incredible pace, and made for a great way to close out the event Saturday night). Although there was no sign of a Wolfenstein announcement (next year?), there were plenty of exclusives to keep fans happy. The Elder Scrolls Online digital code and shirt giveaways were icing on the cake, too.

Superstar panels. There were plenty of panels over the course of the event that delved into the world of many Bethesda titles, including a great one on Doom and a general one that focused on creating worlds. Moderated by Andrea Rene and Geoff Keighley, the panel featured a number of behind-the-scenes producers, as well as voice talent like Scott Porter and Rick Malambri, talking about what it takes in putting together these worlds and engulfing gamers. This panel in particular was a lot of fun, and had plenty of humorous stories to keep players happy.

Closing out with competition. Of course, Saturday night was the final night for QuakeCon, so the team sent out the show with a bang, thanks to some savvy eSports players taking on not only Quake Champions, but also the original Quake, complete with rocket launchers and lightning guns. It was a fast-paced affair, and kept the crowd going. One match in particular actually managed to go nine overtimes before coming to a close, keeping everyone watching on edge. It was really something. And, of course, Quake Champions rocks.

In all, the show was incredible and came to an end all too soon. I’ll certainly be back for more as often as I can – provided the Dallas heat mellows down a little bit. Man, it was hot.

Robert Workman is a veteran who’s worked for many sites over the years, including GameCrate, AOL GameDaily and Segadojo. When he’s not playing video games, he’s enjoying a fine craft beer and talking about how much Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to rock. Oh, yeah, and his game shirt collection rocks.

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