The Beginning time & CAGL
I’m going to tell you a tale of a time long past. A time when the internet was still learning to walk. Before the social media infused world that we live in now, it was a time of beige computer towers and large bulky CRT monitors. Long before plug and play, before automatic driver downloads and digital game platforms. This was a time of still living somewhat analog but in a digital world.
The time was 2004. The place, Dallas Texas. The event? Quakeon.
But in order to tell you the story of my 15 minutes, we need to go back even further in time.
In the late 90s, my high school buddy and I had been reading on Gamespy (anyone remember GS?) about LAN parties happening all over the country. This was before the internet made it possible to game up with anyone around the globe at moments notice. If you wanted to game with your friends, a LAN party was the way to make that happen. So we posted on the GS forum for LANs a feeler for anyone in the central Arkansas area who might be interested in getting together to try and do a LAN party to see about meeting up to discuss.
A few days after our post, we got a response from Doug (not new Doug). That weekend, we meet up at the local pub and talked about what it would take to pull off a LAN party. The basic requirements? We needed a location, ample power and the setup of a local area network. Doug worked in IT, as did I, so we figured our skill sets gave us enough prerequisite knowledge to be able to tackle the power and network issues. It really came down to a location.
Back then, computers were absolutely not mobile. Lugging them around was a foreign idea to the non-gaming public. Our options were limited on locations, so we decided to give it a go at my house at the time.
That first trial run was a success as we didn’t manage to blow any breakers or didn’t suffer any major issues with computer systems.
Fast forward 5 years, and we managed to grow our small group into a fairly successful LAN event. I was working at the Arkansas Aerospace & Aviation Museum/IMAX at that time. For the last 2 years of the Central Arkansas Gaming League, or CAGL for short, we hosted our weekend long LAN parties at the Aerospace Center. It was the perfect location. Ample space and power, and we were set-up in a space at the center that was out of the way from the general public.
We had some great events, made some lifelong friends along the way and played some great games. We even made a video.
From the creation of CAGL and Doug, I met Clay. When I first met Clay, he was a 15 year-old, wide eyed kid who loved computers and gaming. Clay went to the same church where Doug and his family went and Doug included him in our early plans for LAN parties. He was at every LAN event, and was always front and center when it came to anything needing to be done to help make those events happen.
Back then, there weren’t a large number of news sources for gaming, but one of them was ShugaShack. A site that was started by Steve Gibson, who reached out to John Carmack of all people, asking if he could share some screenshots of the early Quake 1 build on his site. And the rest was history. ShugaShack grew as a trusted site for gaming news, eventually changing its name to Shacknews. I honestly don’t remember how I got to the site initially, but Clay and I both really had ingrained ourselves into the community that was borne out of the site.
Even now, I still check the ‘Chatty’ daily. I’m not as active as I was back then, but I still consider the site one of my first net homes.
After doing our local LANs for several years, myself, Doug and Clay made plans to attend Quakecon 2000 in Mesquite, TX. Part of that plan included meeting up with several folks from Shacknews for the first time. Quakecon was the annual event held by id software as thank you to fans of their games. The event was 100 percent free to attend (and still is to this day) and had a 4-day long BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) LAN. We couldn’t wait for August.
That first Quakcon was magical. I had found my tribe (one of many). We had a great week, gaming, hanging out and meeting the handful of other Shackers who had made the trek to Texas that week.
Quakecon became an annual event for me after that. And every year more and more Shackers would come, to the point where Quakecon became the official ‘Shackmeet’ annually. I met so many great people and our shared love of gaming and the website created a great community that we all were a part of.
I would attend Quakecon for the next 5 years. In 2006, I made my first trip to GenCon in Indianapolis. I haven’t been back to Quakecon since 2005. Perhaps one day I will make a return visit? Who knows what the future holds.
The 2004 Quakecon is where i meet Kevin Pereira. And the rest as they say is history…
Quakecon 2004 & G4
I know I talk about “back in the day” a lot . But back in the day, you had two competing cable channels vying for the same target audience. The first was Tech TV. Which I would describe as your Dad’s cable channel. They focused more of the straight tech side of computers and all things related. The other, G4, was like step-sibling of MTV. Focusing more on gaming and the culture that surrounds it. Their shows were completely goofy and you could tell the folks making them weren’t worried about looking like a serious cable channel. Not to say they didn’t take it serious I’m sure, but the outward facing appearance was one of aloofness and irreverence.
For the record, I watched both channels pretty religiously.
So Quakecon 2004 was shaping up to be just like events from years past. More and more Shackers were making their way to Texas in August and our setup in the BYOC had grown larger each passing year. It wasn’t until the first full day of the event on Thursday, that any of us knew that we were about to featured for a news piece for G4.
I remember we were all hanging out in the BYOC when Steve Gibson appeared along with Kevin Pereira from G4. He made the rounds, introducing himself and explaining that he was here for the event to shoot a few pieces for a news story he was going to run for G4. Admittedly, 20 something me was a tad star struck. Attack of the Show was appointment television for me at the time.
At that time, I was one of several admin/moderators for Shacknews, and my understanding is Kevin had talked to Steve about which Shackers to look to feature for his news piece. So myself, along with several other Shackers were interviewed in the BYOC for the first part of the piece. Here I am, my name misspelled and everything.
The second part that Kevin wanted to do was “role playing” re-enactment of us all playing the part of Zombies and Zombie hunters. I’m sure it was referencing a game that was popular at the time, but I honestly can’t remember what?
The second piece would feature Clay (did you see the Physics effects) and my brother (albeit briefly).
That Quakecon was such a blast. So many great people and great memories. Kevin came back the following year to Quakecon and we filmed another piece that was going to be part of a story that never made it to air.
So without anymore delay, here it is, my 15 minutes (or seconds) of fame (ignore the title, i uploaded it incorrectly and haven’t bothered to change it):
For my final Quakcon, I put together this little video as well:
And that’s it boys and girls. My story of how I ended up on G4TV. I hope you enjoyed reading my trip down memory lane as much as I enjoyed writing it. Until next time.
As always, leave a comment with your thoughts. Until next time, LLAP!
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