This is QuakeCon: Here's What Will Happen at This Weekend's "Woodstock of Gaming"

See also: The Epic Gamers of QuakeCon 2010.

Let's go over a quick checklist for this weekend: Fully optimized alienware desktop? Check. A full case of Bawls? Check. Soap? For the love of god please say check. This weekend, QuakeCon 2012, celebrating its sweet sixteen in Dallas, will bring gamers from across the globe into Dallas for a weekend of boss fights, booth babes and Bawls. Here's what to look for if you happen to be at the Hilton Anatole this weekend:

Tournaments to Prove the Virility of Your Thumbs The tournaments of Quakecon are serious business. Seriously. Over the weekend, $30,000 will be awarded to the owners of thumbs that can stand the intensity. The name of the game for QuakeCon 2012 is Quake Live. Tournaments will be held for capture the flag and duels where two gamers enter and only one leaves. While the professional tournaments are by invitation only, the amateur tournaments and random-draw tournaments are open to all -- but first come, first serve.

Tricks of the Trade Everyone has to grow up at some point. You know, get a job and move out? For those gamers who would rather stay in a world of Italian plumbers and blue hedgehogs, Quakecon has an easy solution: became a game designer. Speakers will cover topics ranging from the basics of how to create a game to topics like making multi-player games last. Those speakers will include Ted Price, president and CEO of Insomniac Games, John Carmack, the programmer behind games like Doom and Quake, and others.

Hands On With the Future of Gaming The Valhalla of future gaming undoubtedly is California's annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (also known as E3). But all is not lost for the gamer who couldn't afford the trek to Los Angeles, as QuakeCon will be showcasing some of the games unveiled at E3 in June. Exhibitors include Minecraft, Bethesda Softworks and iD software. Be sure to stop by the Bethesda booth for hands-on testing of the steampunk stealth-based game Dishonored, and the iD booth for testing of Doom 3: BFG Edition. There is also word going around that John Carmack will also be showing off his new VR setup that was a hit at this year's E3.

This Party is BYOC: Bring Your Own Computer Each year, QuakeCon hosts its own BYOC LAN party, where gamers bring their own computer rigs together for a four-day weekend of non-stop headshots, frags and other assorted killing-spree glory. Last year's set-up required over seven miles worth of wiring, 1,300 tables and 4,500 caffeine-driven man hours to set up. This year is only expected to be bigger.

QuakeCon's LAN party is considered the largest in the United States, and the largest free party in the world. Seating is limited, so arrive early to secure your spot. For those whose laughable rigs involve a 386 or can't stack up to more modern computers, gaming PCs are available for rent on site.

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Michael Hutchins
Contact: Michael Hutchins