A How-To – Ben “Bensa” Walchli
In this article, we will cover the basic idea of LAN parties (1), alongside with what you need to start to become a LAN partier (2), setting up (3), the community (4) and helpful tips (5). And what does LAN mean; it’s the acronym for Local Area Network, meaning a group of PC’s connected together.
1. The Basic Idea of A LAN Party
LAN parties are very much like sports competition – there is the feeling of teamwork and sportsmanship. At LAN parties, people get together on a network to compete against each other in various games, and just to have a good time.
Over time, this has evolved into well organized functions sporting hundreds of players, but the basic mentality of having fun has been kept alive. Many new people are becoming a part of the community and small functions are quite common in the United States and Europe.
2. What You Need To Become A LAN Partier
The LAN party community is mainly based on the PC platform, so no consoles; unless you only want to play with three others (the term LAN is quite clear here). For most parties you will need a mid range computer running on, most commonly, Windows OS. This is preferred is because of its simplicity and game support.
Three Things You Will Need For Your PC:
- A motherboard with LAN support or a LAN/Ethernet card;
- CD-ROM drive for software/updates (if you don’t already have this, you shouldn’t even be reading this);
- Pre-installed game/s that you will play.
Now that you know what you need, you can get some things that will help your LAN partying. Items that will reduce the stuff you have to carry are things like small sized cases and carrying straps – LCD/Flat panel screen and headphones that will also help you to concentrate.
Most importantly, you will need friends, and for some people this is hard, so you should lie that you are someone else. You will also need a place to play, and friends who are on vacation provide great spaces to play and quite often – free food. You can also search for LAN parties in you area on LAN party sites, or by asking PC shop and cyber café workers. The second is easier since it requires hardly any preparation on your part.
3. Setting Up
Now that you have found a LAN party to attend, you might wonder about a few things. What do I need to bring? Your PC case or laptop with everything already inside is the most important, but it’s no use if you don’t have a screen. Some functions provide screens, but you should have already found out if you need to bring your own.
Keyboard, mouse and headsets/speakers are necessary for the ultimate experience, unless you want to just sit there looking at your login menu. You will also need to bring all the cables for you case and peripherals (things outside you case). Some people like to bring their own surge protectors, since they don’t want to fry their mobo due to bad wiring.
Once you arrive, go ask the organizer for a spot to dump your stuff, but if you were stupid enough not to tell someone you were coming, they might not have space. Once you have your stuff connected, find out where the LAN box/router/switch is so you can connect to the network and plug in.
If the network/server has a password, go ask the organizer again, but sometimes you will need to pay (only if the person is a greedy b@$t@rd). Now turn on you computer, get in the game, log in to the LAN server and start gaming. If you have any trouble with any of the steps, there are usually assigned helpers or friendly people to help you out.
4. The Community
The LAN community is most strong in the United States and Europe, but is starting to emerge in Asia. There are many famous LAN parties with sponsors such as LANWAR, which has been held 18 times and The Million Man LAN, both held by the same organizers. Some LAN parties’ average over a hundred people, but most have fewer than fifty people.
A good site for info on upcoming parties (if you are in the US) is HERE. which has a list of areas and dates. Gaming forums are also a great place to find people advertising their own parties, but the best way LAN party is to have a group of friends set it up – this way you can plan it and have more fun.
5. Helpful Tips
- Try to find a lightweight aluminum case – it’s easier to carry.
- A CRT screen is heavy, so if you can afford it, buy a flat screen or LCD.
- Buy some straps that go around your case and screen.
- Headsets let you concentrate better and stop others’ audio from interfering.
- USB ports and audio jacks in the front make it easier to connect your peripherals.
- Keep you cables bundled up so you don’t have to untie them every time.
- Bring along a cooler full of drinks and food if the organizer is not providing.
- A pillow behind your head or under you ass is great for better comfort.
- Try to have lots of LAN games installed just in case, like Quake 3, Counter Strike, Battlefield 1942 and Unreal Tournament 2003.
- If you are planning to go on a LAN party road trip, bring along tools and extra parts/cables just in case.
- Knowledge of blood bank locations can be very helpful if you are planning to be on the road for weeks.
- It’s normally hazardous to your health to swear and shout at other people when you win or lose, so bring along a soft toy or picture of your friend you can get pissed off at.
- Try to work with other while playing, since it can improve you enjoyment of the game.
- If you are planning to stay awake the whole time, bring one of these hats with the bottles and fill them with espresso.
- Have a list of friends’ and relatives’ phone numbers just in case you think they might get worried because you are missing for the second week. Pizza delivery numbers are a good thing to have there as well.
- Never underestimate how pissed off that guy 3 seats down from you is, so have a firewall and a good anti-virus.
- Put a password locked screen saver on your screen every time you leave your seat.
- Don’t drool on your keyboard – keep drinks away and in closed cups.
- Try to have a packet of those moist tissues so you can clean your fingers after eating.
- And most importantly, try to enjoy the overall experience!
Now you are ready to attend your first LAN party – be sure to check this guide again so you don’t mess up when getting prepared.
Ben “Bensa” Walchli – Malaysia