After walking a few blocks to get food with Plant and getting a meal that would’ve cost twice as much at the same establishment inside the convention center, I sat just outside the entrance at a collection of starbucks-esque tables and chairs eating my food. Plant went in to tell Fergi we got his food and as I waited for the former to get through security and the latter to arrive, two young men sat down at the adjacent table. They discussed the potential increase in downloads that might follow the showcase and the positive feedback they had received. After conspicuously ease-dropping in an attempt that would’ve made Ezio face-palm (non-gamers, google “the good Assassin’s Creed games” to understand the reference) I surprised myself and asked them if I understood correctly that they were game developers. They confirmed that they were part of the student showcase, I looked around and saw no sign of my squad, and then asked if I could join them at their table. Fast-forward 20 minutes and I’ve been told about an awesome first person shooter called Da Invincible, made in about a month and a half by 17 people, and the pride and excitement emitting from who I’ve come to know as Stefano and Dave is simply inspiring. We talk more about their game, discuss DCD, share in the awe of attending our first big gaming convention, and bask in the communal glory of gaming as a unifying passion. I promise to check out their game with the DCD squad (more on that later), they go back inside, and I go back to my table and continue waiting for Fergi, anxious to get back to the BYOC to play some Rocket League and check out the student showcase with the other Dat Click Doe bucks.
Now, not only is that a neat story about me meeting two young game-developers from the Netherlands and eating some fast food, it’s an introductory story that exemplifies some of the best aspects of DreamHack Atlanta, 2018.
“The world’s largest digital festival,” as they describe it on their website, was the first big convention I’ve attended and it did not disappoint. There was some insanely detailed cosplay, some roaring esports moments, a great time to be had at the BYOC, an awesome game showcase, and a variety of sweet loot to acquire. About a fourth of the floor was for BYOC, a fourth was vendors and the showcases, another was for other attractions like free play zones, a tabletop section, and more physical games (like “Guardians” which seemed to be Tron meets conventional dodge-ball and I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to play), and the final fourth— pretty much the entire periphery of three sides— was for spectating different esport events and concerts.
I arrived in Atlanta too late register Friday and had to leave earlier than most of the squad on Sunday so I couldn’t follow the tournaments from beginning to end, but I got to experience a good bit of the festivities. I could see one of the huge screens right from my BYOC seat; a convenience I utilized to glance over and catch some great CS:GO action every time I’d hear the crowd crescendo. The audience’s cheering was so intense that I could hear this cue even while playing Rocket League and talking to the other DCD bucks through my headset on max volume. I wish I would’ve had more time to properly view some of the tourneys but even being a part of it secondarily, as I’ve described, was a wonderful experience.
There were plenty of great vendors and groups out on the floor— Plagoo even got a free year of Xbox Game pass through some vending event— but the best for me was Toynk where I got my first loot box. Plant and Plag have purchased from them at previous conventions and convinced me I had to get in on the action. Before buying the boxes, Plant and I talked to a really passionate guy about the myriad of themed boxes (Ready Player One, Gears of War, etc.) and generally had a fantastic conversation about all things gaming. We discussed what other conventions we might catch each other at, and settled on our loot. Plant got a decent variety while I went with the original all-video-games-themed mystery box. I can’t wait to post our unboxing videos for your entertainment and get more at the next convention DCD attends.
Honestly, I didn’t really partake in much of the free play or tabletop areas because of the BYOC. To be clear, none of the areas or interests are mutually exclusive; I have a running Masks game, Pray has a running DnD game, and Plagoo has discussed his love of Monopoly on the podcast. I just knew my time was counting down and we had carried our computers too far to not play them. Being an Xbox man myself, I had to borrow Plant’s old, towering Alienware desktop and it worked wonderfully (despite recently sitting in 6-8 inches of water when their house recently flooded— yes, seriously). While simple in theory, the BYOC was one of the best parts of the event. There’s just something incredible about posting up with your squad, surrounded by hundreds or thousands of other people congregated in a celebration of what you love. We played Rocket League, Dreadnought, Destiny 2, COD, League of Legends, and it was just a hell of a time.
Saturday night we took a break from Rocket League to search out the game showcase and it was incredible. So incredible, in fact, that it’s getting its own article directly following this one. Shout out to a group of students from IGAD in The Netherlands that made Da Invincible and shout out to the team at Bad Dream Games who made One Hand Clapping. Two awesome games that you know Dat Click Doe is about to stream!
But that wraps it up for the initial recap of DreamHack Atlanta. It was a great time, with a great group of people, similar in some ways, dissimilar in many more, but sharing moments of hype, awe, excitement, and joy— unified in those feelings, and in knowing that it’s all about Dat Click Doe!
Everyone, if you were at DreamHack or have ever been to a gaming convention or LAN party, let us know in the comments. Feel free to ask us any questions about DreamHack Atl. or share stories of your own!
Updated 12.4.2018- no edits, solely additional paragraphs.