Sunday, November 28, 2004

LAN Party Time

Sounds a bit geeky I know but I enjoy it. A couple of times a year I get together with a group of friends, we pick a venue, usually someones house and all descend on the house for the day with our computers. We hook them up with a nice fast local network, eat copious amounts of junk food and basically spend far too many hours playing games. Anything that can be networked is fair game (pardon the pun).

Usually after 12 hours or so gaming we all leave having had a good time but not wanting to play another game..ever ....again. I guess it's like a drinking session and the accompanying hangover and prayers on the great white telephone.

Well yesterday was
LAN party day. Got to Garans at about 10am, hit Tescos for junk food, spent an hour chatting, setting up the network, waiting for others. We started playing at about mid-day. We haven't had one since the spring and there were just 4 of us yesterday. This makes the choice of games a little difficult as a lot of the recent stuff is designed for more players. Anything with a bit of strategy just becomes boring without enough people. However the driving games and the deathmatch games always go down well. Probably the best game for the small LAN party is Unreal Tournament 2004 as this has "bots" that can be used to make up the numbers in the teams. The problem with UT2004 is that the adrenaline gets going and I'm usually mentally shattered after about an hour.

I enjoy playing computer games but am not one of these people who spends every waking hour in front of a PC or games console. I like the First Person Shooter games like Doom or Half-Life or Unreal Tournament. My favourite type of game has to be driving games though. Others like the strategy type games that are more involved. Again with so few people pleasing everyone is very difficult. I think we reached a good balance yesterday with most peoples preferences being played.

I'm obviously getting old though. My first LAN party about 6 years ago was at a complete strangers house in Suffolk somewhere. I went with a friend and we got there at about mid-day. Setup in the living room. There were about 20 people throughout the house and I remember leaving at about 7 am the next morning on a hell of a high. I've held a few at my house, the most people being 13. This was when I was playing a lot of online games and had quite a few online friends who travelled to play.

Each LAN party we have finishes earlier than the last one and last night was no exception. By 12.30am my eyes were hurting, I was tired and grumpy because my concentration was going and I was being really crap at every game (moreso than usual).

Garan and I agreed, the next LAN party needs to be bigger again. We need to advertise it and rent a hall. We'll need to charge just enough to pay for the hall and make it worth the effort but I know from experience the more people the better the gaming.
These people have a couple of big LAN parties each year, each one lasting a whole weekend. Entry is usually £60-£80 for the weekend and they have anywhere from 500 - 1000 people at each event. Yep, do the sums!

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