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What is QuakeCon? The History of One of the Most Influential Video Game Conventions


QuakeCon, often dubbed "The Woodstock of Gaming," has been a significant annual event in the gaming world since its inception in 1996. This massive LAN party and gaming convention has grown from humble beginnings to a large-scale gathering that attracts thousands of gamers and industry professionals from around the globe. In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating history of QuakeCon, from its birth as a small gathering of Quake enthusiasts to its current status as a premier gaming event. As we delve into the past, we'll also shed light on the various tournaments, memorable moments, and the impact QuakeCon has had on the gaming community. So, join us as we embark on this journey through time and discover the legacy of QuakeCon.

The Early Years (1996-2000)

QuakeCon 1997

The first QuakeCon was held in 1996 at the Best Western hotel in Garland, Texas. Organized by a group of gaming enthusiasts from the online Quake community, the inaugural event attracted around 30 attendees who bonded over their shared love for the groundbreaking first-person shooter, Quake. Although the first QuakeCon was a relatively small and informal gathering, it laid the foundation for the massive event it has become today.

The initial success of QuakeCon sparked interest in the gaming community, leading to more people attending the event in the following years. This growth also prompted organizers to search for larger venues to accommodate the increasing number of attendees. By 1999, the event had moved to the Mesquite Convention Center and attracted over 650 attendees. This was also the year that the now-famous BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) tradition began, allowing attendees to set up their gaming rigs and participate in various tournaments and competitions. This BYOC culture fostered a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition among participants, further fueling the event's popularity.

The turn of the millennium marked another milestone for QuakeCon, as the event moved to the infomart in Dallas, Texas, and featured its first professional gaming tournament - the Razer-CPL Tournament. With a prize pool of $100,000, this tournament attracted some of the best Quake players in the world and further cemented QuakeCon's status as a significant gaming event. This period also saw the rise of modding communities, and QuakeCon became a hub for showcasing new and innovative mods for popular games like Quake and Doom.

The Rise of eSports and QuakeCon's Expansion (2001-2010)

QuakeCon 2005

The early 2000s saw the rise of eSports and competitive gaming, and QuakeCon was at the forefront of this movement. In 2001, the event featured the first-ever Doom 3 multiplayer demonstration, a significant moment in gaming history. This demonstration not only showcased the highly anticipated game but also highlighted the close relationship between game developers and the QuakeCon community. As the years went on, QuakeCon continued to expand, adding more tournaments, exhibitions, and panels, making it a must-attend event for gamers and industry professionals alike.

In 2004, QuakeCon moved to the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, where it would remain for the next six years. With this move came even more growth, as the event began to feature more prominent tournaments such as the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) World Tour Finals and the first-ever Quake 4 tournament in 2005. These high-profile tournaments brought international attention to QuakeCon and solidified its reputation as a premier eSports event.

QuakeCon also became known for its philanthropic efforts during this period, with events like the annual Blood Drive and various charity auctions becoming integral parts of the convention. These efforts have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities such as the American Red Cross, Child's Play, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This focus on charitable endeavors not only helped those in need but also fostered a sense of community and goodwill among attendees.

A New Decade and Continued Growth (2011-Present)

QuakeCon 2019

In 2011, QuakeCon moved to its current location, the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, and continued to grow and evolve as a premier gaming event. This decade saw the introduction of new tournaments and showcases, such as the Quake Live tournament series and the annual Bethesda Softworks showcase, which highlights the company's upcoming game releases and updates. These new events attracted even more attendees and solidified QuakeCon's position as a must-attend gaming convention.

QuakeCon has also become a significant platform for game developers and industry professionals to interact with fans and share insights into their work. Over the years, the event has featured panel discussions, workshops, and presentations from some of the biggest names in the gaming industry, including id Software, Bethesda Softworks, and many more. These opportunities for direct interaction between developers and fans have made QuakeCon a unique and invaluable event in the gaming world.

One of the most memorable moments in QuakeCon's recent history was the 25th-anniversary celebration in 2021. This milestone event featured a mix of virtual and in-person activities, including the return of the Quake World Championship, exclusive game reveals, and developer panels. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, QuakeCon's organizers remained committed to delivering an exciting and engaging event for fans worldwide.

As QuakeCon heads into the future, the event continues to adapt and grow, remaining a cornerstone of the gaming community. With eSports and competitive gaming showing no signs of slowing down, the future looks bright for this beloved gathering of gamers and industry professionals.


From its humble beginnings as a small gathering of Quake enthusiasts to its current status as one of the world's premier gaming events, QuakeCon has come a long way. As we've explored the rich history of this iconic LAN party and gaming convention, it's clear that QuakeCon has played a significant role in shaping the gaming landscape over the past two decades.

With its focus on community, competition, and charitable efforts, QuakeCon has become more than just a gaming event – it's a celebration of the passion and camaraderie that binds gamers together. As the convention continues to grow and evolve, we can't wait to see what the future holds for this beloved gaming institution.


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