The best of QuakeCon case mods: hamster wheels, lost souls, and Ready Player One

Each year at QuakeCon in Dallas, Texas, the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) event brings thousands of gamers together for a monumentally huge LAN party that lasts all weekend. It also attracts tons of incredibly cool and creative custom PCs.

2018 is no exception! BYOC is bigger than ever, and so are the custom PCs. Here are the coolest and most creative case mods at Quakecon this year.

Certainly the star attraction at BYOC is this Ready Player One PC, an attention-getter due to its height and brightness in the massive, darkened LAN party zone. I actually thought was a movie poster over a lightbox at first, but that's actually a touchscreen TV set on its side serving as a monitor. 

Its creator, Adam 'DOHCDragon' Owen, has won Modders Inc casemod competitions before, and he said that to make sure passersby knew it was a real screen he'd sometimes leave solitaire running so people could play it.

I didn't spot this one myself (BYOC is just a bit huge) but a hamster cage PC, complete with a (not real) hamster running on a wheel is a brilliant (especially since I've personally owned PCs in the past that were so slow they might as well have been powered by an actual hamster).

This beautiful case is my personal favorite, built by a case modder named Brandon. The top panels are made out of American walnut and layers of acyrlic, 'chemically welded' together to avoid using gaskets and o-rings. 

The red quake logo is actually formed by the coolant running between the layers, which is so, well, cool. The Quakecon faceplate at the bottom is removable to allow access to the cabling, and all the walnut is milled from the same piece of timber. Brandon told me it took him about 40 hours of work to build this beauty.

Built by Morry Teitelman who describes it as a "Frankenstein", with custom cut vinyl, a motherboard tray made of laser-cut acrylic, several Boba Fett emblems (Morry is a big Fett fanatic) and the best part, cooled with Primochill Vue sterling silver fluid which gives it a sweet liquid metal look. 

I also didn't spot this one myself. Lord knows why I couldn't find it since it's a PC full of lost souls. I don't think I'd feel comfortable having this PC in my own house: too creepy. It might contain the spirits of everyone I've ever killed in a battle royale game (a total of three).

The creator of this PC wasn't there when I stopped by, so I don't know the story, but I love the blue and red fluid, the bright and clean design, and the red, white, and blue cabling that looks like it forms a winding racetrack for the little red, white, and blue car inside. I wonder if it speeds around in there when no one is looking.

When it comes to custom PCs I guess I'm a sucker for a big tank of coolant, and it helps if the thing looks like a futuristic skyscraper, too. I didn't get the story behind this towering case, but the blue coolant and lighting alongside the silver frame makes it look like an office building in the year 2300.

Ooh. Maybe I've spent a little too long stumbling around in the near pitch-blackness of the BYOC zone, or maybe I just need to help myself to the giant bag of free candy. But these pulsing lights, they're calling to me. They're hypnotic.

It's going to be hard returning to my own PC after getting a look at some of these creations on show at BYOC. I love my PC, but it's not a tower of light, it doesn't have a car or a hamster in it, and it's not even liquid cooled. Maybe I need an upgrade.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.