Intentionally dim lighting casts a simultaneously calm and surreal light on the hundreds of people hauling their PC towers, huge monitors, and other gaming equipment by hand into a massive event hall. This was my view from the entrance to DreamHack Atlanta when I attended this last weekend, which has a huge presence of BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) for LAN parties and more among the many other things to see and do.
If you want to see a snapshot of what I experienced at DreamHack this weekend, I put together a little video compilation from my first day that you should check out!
The main attraction for many attending DreamHack, myself included, was getting to see those at the top of their respective games compete on the main stages. I started with some StarCraft II, the complexity and speed of which both intimidated and entranced me. Regardless, it was incredible to watch the APM (Actions Per Minute) for these players consistently tick up to 400 and beyond, and see the sheer number of units being managed as these players bounced all over the game map.
Off the main stage, I caught some Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Also not a new game by any means, but a fun one to watch, and the only game out of the ones I spectated that I’m actually halfway good at playing. And it’s a crowd pleaser to be sure. If you’ve ever played, you know the dramatic hits and camera movement make it an exciting game to watch, and the energy of this Smash Bros crowd almost exceeded those watching at the main stages.
And lastly, I watched some Valorant, which had the large-team and hyper-competitive tournament vibes that I was hoping to see most at DreamHack. Despite not knowing the game all that well, I could see these pros were headshot masters, made the most of choke points and advantageous positioning, and adapted as a team to the opposition’s strategies; it was beautiful to behold these pro gamers fully in their element.
But there was plenty else to do besides watch the pros play! You could find a lot of the art, shirts, stickers, and more from anime, pop culture, and gaming titles that you’d find at your average conventions for geeks, nerds, and those adjacent. A bit more unique to DreamHack were a bunch of booths for smaller developers looking to share their new and developing games, which I found to be one of the most fun parts of my whole weekend. In particular, I got to try out LunarLux and City of Beats from Freedom Games, which I’ll be talking about in their own articles along with SkyScraper coming from Ratatat Studio.
While DreamHack was mostly for video games, there were more than a few people who came to play Magic: The Gathering among other TCGs. Not my jam, but it’s mind blowing to peek at the ultra rare cards they often have on sale at these events, valued at thousands of dollars each.
Deserving an honorable mention at the end here are the free Monster energy drinks, the numerous booths for great causes like Trans Visibility in the gaming community and parents supporting full-time gamers, and a big plexiglass box where Ludwig intended to spend 50 hours over the weekend.
Overall, I had a great time and would definitely come back next time DreamHack is in town, especially if I can find a group and a game to play over LAN when we all take advantage of the BYOC. Anyone wanna play some old school Halo or RTS Warcraft II?
Did you attend DreamHack Atlanta? What were your thoughts about it? Let us know in the comments or chat with us on Twitter at TheConCollectve.
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