I’m a big fan of Michael Mooney’s writing. Head on over to SB Nation’s Longform and check out his piece on a gaming convention in Dallas called QuakeCon:
The next morning the room was full of similarly bleary-eyed, disheveled, computer-toting young people. There were two lines: the one Chris and his friends were in — which was first-come-first-serve — and the Reserved line, for people who’d paid the extra $50 ahead of time. By lunchtime, both lines twisted back through the winding, Kubrickian hotel hallways and nobody seemed to be moving.
The Anatole is a four-star convention hotel, two separate towers decorated in an oriental theme — not the kind of place you’d expect to see thousands of greasy-faced videogame enthusiasts. While the gamers gathered on the west side of the hotel, there was a Mary Kay convention going on at the other end. On the walls in the wing where QuakeCon was held are large paintings of faceless Chinese masses and various deceased Chinese leaders. There’s an 8-foot Buddha in repose right next to the bar. A glass case near the concierge desk houses wooden figures from the Han Dynasty, which ended in 220 A.D., and glazed pottery from the Tang Dynasty, which ran from 618 to 907. And greeting QuakeCon guests just inside the front door were two immaculate life-size wooden elephants, hand-carved in Thailand from a pair of 12-foot Monkey Pod trees. The elephants were donated by a local real estate developer for the 1984 Republican National Convention, when the Anatole hosted both President Reagan and Vice-President Bush (in opposite towers).
In line, some people were laying down, with a lucky, exhausted few managing to sleep through the all-night rumblings of strangers. Some played drinking games. Two separate groups, hundreds of feet apart in line, were both playing intense games of flip cup — a pastime that requires not only chugging skills, but also post-consumption dexterity. Plenty of people were eating the $15 large pepperoni pizzas Pizza Hut was selling in the parking lot — and when the line got long enough, someone turned a discarded box into a sign reading WAIT-CON. There were lots of blankets, pillows, sleeping bags. A few people brought consoles and televisions and set them up along the walls to help pass the time. Some people did card tricks on top of the over-sized boxes and dollies carrying their computers, while others marched around showing off their matching clan T-shirts. One guy offered strangers passing him “free high-fives.” Another guy argued that, if they were forced to fight by some sort of evil overlord, the Hulk could easily do away with Thor.
Check out this short movie by Pablo Korona.