DreamHack Celebrates Video Game Culture

Video gaming event turned Olympic Stadium into a 3 day LAN Party

For 3 days, the Olympic Stadium was plunged in a semi-darkness that was much closer to the ambiance of a rave than the sunny afternoon baseball games of yore. DreamHack Montreal is an event that puts the art of video gaming to the forefront, with a little bit of everything for every gamer. Walking in is a bit of a shock, but you soon discover a world where video games are fun but also serious business.

For 3 days, the Olympic Stadium was plunged in a semi-darkness that was much closer to the ambiance of a rave than the sunny afternoon baseball games of yore. DreamHack Montreal is an event that puts the art of video gaming to the forefront, with a little bit of everything for every gamer. Walking in is a bit of a shock, but you soon discover a world where video games are fun but also serious business.

The best world players competed in eSport events

The highlight of DreamHack was certainly the multiple eSport tournaments. Fans filled the stands to see international teams compete in a variety of games like ‘Rainbow 6: Siege’, ‘StarCraft’ or ‘BeatSaber’. Just like any sporting event, an announcer called the action, while a colour commentator analyzed the strategies each team and player used, speaking with the same gravitas usually reserved for fancy goals or desperate touchdowns. The crowd erupted in applause whenever an improbable headshot or flanking manoeuvre pushed one team or another ahead as the world’s best players battled for supremacy in playoff-style tournaments.

Another section showcased popular streamers who broadcasted live from the event. Attendees could also take a seat at one of the many computers available, each featuring a huge amount of games ready to be played. The more hardcore players though went for the special BYOC section. BYOC stands for ‘Bring Your Own Computer’, and for an extra fee, you’d be provided with a reserved table, power and an internet connection. Holders of a weekend pass were even allowed to stay overnight to extend their gaming sessions into the early morning, but with the massive stadium plunged in a perpetual imitation of late night, it probably just felt like a day that just stretched out for a long, long time.

Bring your own computer to the biggest LAN party in town

A few commercial stands sold computer parts, gaming accessories or collectibles, but the event surprisingly managed to avoid the commercial feeling of similar event, and that’s despite the fact that pretty much every surface was sponsored by someone. Not surprisingly, considering the marathon aspect of some of those gaming sessions, Monster energy drink had a big booth to hawk their products.

Fans could also meet some of their favourite gaming personalities, from players to streamers, including MissHarvey, the 5 time World CS:GO champion. There were also some brave cosplayers present but not on the same scale as Comiccon, for example.

eSport Celebrity MissHarvey

The organization of the event was stellar, right from the moment we entered the cavernous parking garage where attendants guided us. Navigating the event was also very easy, even on Saturday afternoon and all the volunteers were helpful and friendly. Food offering was the only negative point, as the only two open stands sold bland fast food. Maybe next time they can take inspiration from Osheaga and have a few food trucks on location!

My whole family loved our first, but not last, DreamHack. It’s more than a convention; it’s a celebration of modern gaming culture, and a sign of things to come. The first time I saw my son watch eSports, I expressed incredulity that people did this. His retort was simple: “What’s the difference between this and you watching hockey?” The honest answer of course is “none whatsoever”.

DreamHack took place at Olympic Stadium from September 6 to 8.

Competition is underway!
Indie game makers showcased their creations
Free to use stations
The stage awaits its next competitors
Streamer section
Gamer in action
Even RDS got in on the eSport action

also of interest

About Jean-Frederic Vachon

Jean-Frederic Vachon is a pop culture aficionado who mainly writes about music, here on Montreal Rampage and at his site Diary of a Music Addict. But given the right subject, he also likes to cover comics, video games and hockey. Contact: Website | Facebook | Twitter | More Posts