Just under 30 years ago, the first-person shooter DOOM blasted its way into the early days of PC gaming with both barrels and left some noticeably bloody marks on the industry.
Id Software, the Dallas gaming studio that built the iconic game franchise including DOOM, Quake and Wolfenstein 3D as well as a gaming engine that helped drive a new era of video games, launched the first QuakeCon gathering in 1996 at a Garland LaQuinta Inn. ZeniMax Media, the conglomerate that owns Id Software and other game studios, needs a bigger place to house its thousands of fans for the latest QuakeCon, a place like the Gaylord Texan Convention Center in Grapevine.
This year's QuakeCon that runs Thursday through Sunday will celebrate the 30th anniversary of DOOM with a crop of previews of its newest games, including the latest demonic incarnation of the game DOOM Eternal.
Fans got their first glimpse of the fifth DOOM game at last year's gathering that showed off some of the game's new features such as new melee options and weapons to tear opponents to bloody strips and a multiplayer that allows gamers to jump into other players' campaigns and tear them to shreds. This year's QuakeCon will feature a live demo with new footage of the game as well as playable demos, according to convention officials.
Pete Hines, the senior vice president of global marketing and communications for Bethesda Softworks that produces games for popular franchises like the Fallout series, says the new and other DOOM games will be the main driver behind this year's QuakeCon.
"Every QuakeCon is different because the games we have to talk about and things we have going on vary from year to year," Hines says. "With everything going on around DOOM and DOOM Eternal, it’s pretty easy to see why everyone is so excited about this year’s QuakeCon."
Just about every acre of the gathering has something to do with DOOM. Fans can play demos of DOOM Eternal, compete in DOOM tournaments and even watch the Austin comedy troupe Master Pancake perform a live riff of the DOOM film starring Karl Urban and Dwayne Johnson as Sarge (sort of). There are so many DOOM-related events that it's spawned its own convention within a convention called DOOMCon.
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"There’s no better place to show and talk about DOOM, and letting some of the most hardcore, passionate fans get their hands on DOOM Eternal for the first time is going to be amazing," Hines says.
If you don't have one or don't feel like lugging your whole computer to the con, there will also be plenty of events and competitions that don't require the operation of a keyboard or a controller. The schedule has plenty of live panels with the people who worked on some of the company's most beloved games, tabletop gaming and a BAWLS energy drink chug-a-lug. Seriously. That last one is actually on the schedule.
Hines says that fans are the driving force behind the success and fun each year's QuakeCon creates and this year will be no exception.
"There’s lots of game shows, and they’re all fun and have their own vibe," Hines says. "The feeling of community at QuakeCon is pretty unique and special, and I’ve never experienced it at any other show or event."