If you would like to have a recollection of what we, at the QuakeCon convention, actually saw, I recommend my new friend IGN’s Vince Ingenito’s coverage here. My piece is, as most of my articles, the more human side of our techy gaming experiences. Clearly, as seen through the numerous reactions online, much of the id loving world felt jipped by not being able to see the Doom Gameplay that the QuakeCon 2014 attendees got to see; however, I truly feel Zenimax was giving the hardcore id fans a special gift that was well deserved. If you’re in the under 20 crowd and think Doom was that old, lesser known movie that The Rock was in, please check out the likes of Kevin Cloud, John Romero, Tom Hall, John Carmack, American McGee, Dave Taylor, and Tim Willits, who were foundational to FPS games as we know them today. They are the ones who gave us a 3D experience alternative to the 2D shooters like Galaga, Centipede, and Asteroids.
What many people don’t quite grasp is the QuakeCon volunteers are not like those of PAX or any other convention for that matter. Beginning as a LAN by the community for the community with 30 people that has now grown to a LAN of 3,000 in the BYOC (10K total attendees as of 2013), the volunteers actually set up the enormous LAN with all the network wiring, switches, and NOC needs themselves. Wait. Think for a minute about the wiring needed for your PC… now multiply that times 3,000. Yup! The volunteers are the backbone of QuakeCon, as opposed to the numerous AAA studios with their box art, Hollywood movie sponsors, or any number of various factors that support other conventions. Of course QuakeCon has its share of big names, but everyone knows the volunteers are the life’s blood of the con.
Neither is QuakeCon only a thank you to their fans like the community days of other studios, which are fun as heck, but do not have the history or the LAN foundation of QuakeCon. The leads in charge of the volunteers, have been a part of the tight community for up 19 years. Each volunteer with a great story about how they came to love QuakeCon and id Software. Over the past few months, I have written articles on a few of the QuakeCon volunteers like Cobalt, Bouv, Fade, and Jim, though I will be grabbing more videos and interviews and posting them throughout the year. With everyone from full time moms and truck drivers to numerous tech field guys, you will love hearing the stories of the QuakeCon volunteers as they leave their normal lives to trek to Dallas for what they consider an “absolute must” week every year.
I came to know Doom I and II via Return to Castle Wolfenstein which was the first id game in which I became immersed because it was the first one I played on my own personal computer that I built myself. Guess I got a late start in life. Wolfenstein 3D and the original Dooms were only played on the PCs of friends, so the lost days, nights, and countless needed upgrades to the rig made the adventure less than intimate. With my new rig, I played the old Quakes and Wolfs after RTCW and thus began my love affair with id Software. As luck would have it, I met Adrian Carmack and Todd Hollenshead in 2004 at a car show when I spotted the Wolfenstein “W” on Todd’s hat. The gaming conversation began as I had to prove I really did play games. Todd literally quizzed me on the games! Younger girls can’t relate to what I will call the 1st gen girl gamers, like Morgan Webb, Jessica Chobot, Morgan Romine, and Laura Foy, but we did not have G4. We had small, not widely known shows like TechTV/ScreenSavers , and not many females were known to play games, so disbelief was easily understandable. In the end, I was beyond stoked when id asked me to be a QuakeCon girl which began my first professional association with id, later leading to be the voice of Crash in QuakeLive.
I said all that to say this, the Doom Reveal on Thursday night July 17, 2014 shown exclusively to QuakeCon attendees was a well earned treat or reward for those who make sacrifices to journey to Dallas every year. The Doom gameplay was everything that the core id fans could have dreamed. After the guttural yells, cheers, and screams ended. I sat there rather buzzed, relieved , and speechless because I felt that old familiar Doom “I am a BAD ASS!” feeling that I had not felt in years. Don’t get me wrong, I love the CoD and Halo type FPS games, but like I tweeted in my initial impression at the close of the Reveal, “Ok. So I LOVED
#DOOM! It was just so so DOOM. Visceral, intense, and so much fun to say the least”. I’d compare that visceral feel to being in the octagon as opposed to watching it on TV. Something about Doom, makes the player feel like they need to clean their hands after a playing level. Generally I cannot stomach a lot of gore, so it is rather mind boggling why I can with Doom. Perhaps it is because the bad guys are not guys, but mechanical, demon monsters? I only have a handful of games that somehow pass the innate filter in my head, but geez it just feels like I am saving the world! The logical side of me knows that the game is still on a screen, like any other FPS, but instead of trying to catch the teeny tiny pixel across the map to get my KDR up, I am face to face with an onslaught of enemies attacking me from all sides in a bowl.
I stayed on a buzz for over 10 hours now, not being able to get Doom out of my mind and not wanting to either. I am also not without my hopes for the game. Clearly the combat was fantastic! My hopes are that with the updating of this classic with beautiful art, incredible creatures (the last enemy we saw in the gameplay was downright amazing!) and the new id tech 6 (which Dir. of Programming, Robert Duffy affectionately calls “id tech666” according to Executive Producer, Marty Stratton) , id will also give us some of the other updates that gamers of this gen expect. For instance, Machine Games’ Wolfenstein: A New Order, had a fantastic and unexpected storyline with rich characters in addition to pure fun gameplay. We were told the setting of the gameplay for tonight’s level was on Mars, I wonder what else is going on with the UAC! I also cannot express the squeals and roars when Steven Serafin, the Technical Producer playing the demo, pulled out the classic weapons like the old, beloved dual shotty, but I am equally excited to see what else id will put in our weapon wheelhouse. I know Doom has been a long time coming, but now that they clearly have an awesome combat foundation for their next release, I hope time permits them to make the game everything that it can be. Regardless of what else id has in store for us with Doom, I can hardly wait to play it. Thank you so much id software for giving your fans renewed vigor and pride! Well it is now 7:30 am and I haven’t slept yet. Yup! It is definitely QuakeCon.