LAN (Lazy Arsed Nerds) Gaming
Not quite a look at retro gaming, or even a movie for this ‘mid week mini’. Instead I thought I’d introduce a new category… *pauses for ooo’s and ahhh’s*
Due to the fact I’m attending a LAN this weekend thought i’d put up a few tips (not rules, just tips, not to be taken literally or internally) for hosting one, including good games to play. For a number of years I have attended LANs as they are hosted by a good friend of mine who is able to house (or garage) up to 10 networked PC’s at these events. These LAN’s are often PC based (although this doesn’t have to be the case) and occasionally gaming can move indoors to consoles.
So, a few tips:
1. Get your invites out early. This is mainly to establish numbers coming. If you only have a small venue then keep it to a first come first served basis, if you want to include everyone then think about hiring a hall (although this can be costly) and if you are hosting at your own place don’t be afraid to ask for a small contribution, even if it’s towards the electric bill, or food and drink.
2. If you want to host a LAN but do not have the space look to hiring a hall, see what the local area has to offer, make sure they have the facilities to accomodate your guests, computers and of course connectivity needs. If you want to attend a LAN event you can do this by seeking out and joining gaming forums, getting to know people is the best way to find out about gaming events. Or just a good old-fashioned Google search. (My tips are based on an event hosted at a private house and the invited are usually well-known to us) or though we get the odd, um, random person…
3. Decide on which games are to be the focus of the LAN. This is to make sure everyone has time to purchase a copy if it’s certain it will be played. A good example was a LAN in which those coming made sure to order a copy of Command and Conquer 3 so all could join in.
4. Make sure everyone plays something they enjoy. Two types of game are usually played at a LAN. RTS (Real Time Strategy) these include great LAN games such as Battle for Middle Earth 2, Supreme Commander, Dawn of War, Command and Conquer 3, Company of Heroes, Red Alert 3, Empire at War. The second being FPS (First Person Shooters) such as Counter Strike: Source, Republic Commando, Far Cry, Half Life 2: Deathmatch, Call of Duty 4, Unreal, Quake. And for some retro network FPS (knew I’d get the word retro in this week) Serious Sam II and Halo.
5. Don’t feel excluded. Sometimes friends or even family may want to join in. It’s really up to the host but make sure there are other things on offer for them to do. It’s not only about gaming but about being with friends and socialising. Laptops are great for those unexpected visitors to use to search the web, chat or join in on some gaming. Consoles are also an alternative if you need a break from PC gaming, or need to go in the warm because the garage…. I mean gaming room is so freakin’ cold.
6. Time Limit. Think about how long your LAN is going to last, whether it’s a weekend or just a day that much gaming, junk food and sleep deprivation can take its toll. I don’t want to sound too much like the warning on Wii games but taking a break can refresh the brain as well as the body so get some fresh air, even if it is a walk to the shops to get more snacks. The time limit is the hosts decision and things will run smoother if people respect that, after all people attending may actually have jobs at the end of the day and need to get back to them.
7. Food and Drink. The first few LANs people contributed some money here and there and the car owner (haha) is sent out to do a big shop. If all can contribute something and the food agreed on then this is a good way to provide the necessary sugar rush for the duration. Any extras can be bought by individuals and the local shop tends to benefit greatly from this. Obviously for the older LAN crowd beer is a good thing but not essential (what am I saying) but hilarity can ensue watching a drunk person trying to play Dawn of War (he knows who he is). Another great, and cheaper way to provide a meal is a BBQ, especially if you have a sunny day, it’s nice to get outside away from the stuffy darkened room of the LAN gamer.
8. The part time LANer. If you have an attendee who is taking up a space but is not going to be there the whole time find out if their PC can be used by others so they can join in the gaming to. If they say no respect their wishes, if it’s a yes then obviously respect the person’s property. Theres nothing mature or funny about pornography desktop wallpapers, especially ones you can’t remove.
9. Accommodation. LAN’s can and do go on for a long time. It’s not uncommon for gamers to pull all nighters to satisfy the need for gaming. If you have the space camping out in the back garden is a great way to preserve valuable gaming time and sanity (and no, not FPS type camping, actual outdoors activity camping). Especially useful for those who wish to attend but live too far away to travel back and forth every day. Pitch a tent, stumble into it, sleep a bit, wake up and game.
10. Finally, competitiveness is great, but lets not suck the fun out of the game, or the event either. Remember it is only a game and its nice to be sportsman like when you’ve just kicked someones arse. Remember to enjoy it, play a variety of games, and socialise.