LAN Gaming

I might LAN more if I had a game capable laptop. The reason I stopped doing LANs was the utter pain involved in lugging around my PC, monitor and peripherals.

The only LAN gaming I do these days is on my 360. We have semi-regular halo nights with about 8-10 people and 4-5 xboxes/tvs. I don’t know that would neccessarily count, though.

I think the business model of trying to run a LAN gaming center is proven a failure.
I suspect you could possibly even today still run a CS Lan party in a large city for a day once a month and clear $2000, but trying to run a viable business on head to head gaming simply will not earn the revenue it needs. Way too many other outlets for h2h play these days.

LAN parties will always have a place as they are social and offer something ‘more’. But it is not something done very often.

My friends and I LAN regularly. We’re in our twenties or thirties, some are married, all have access to broadband, etc… but nothing really compares to playing socially with your friends. It’s different than playing online with a mic.

Are we the minority? Yea, I’m sure we are, but there’s still people in the US who do it.

Now if you’re talking LAN parties as in the business operated ones… yea, not sure on that. Never was into those.

A buddy and I get together every couple of weeks to game, though ironically mostly for MMORPGs (DDO & LOTRO of late), but we did play through Red Alert 3 and part of RE5 earlier this year. Other than him, though, all my real-life gaming buddies have moved away, lost interest, are too busy, etc.

I’ve run two ‘commercial’ (read: entrance fees required to cover expenses) LANs before, back during the QuakeWorld era. I only allowed for about 30-40 participants maximum, but there was still quite a lot to consider.
Fun things I recall from these events:

-Working out, often with a very bad map of the building’s wiring, if the power supply is enough for 30-40 PCs with 17" CRT monitors. The mess that some large halls are in power wise is really insane, I’m surprised there aren’t more fires.
-Trying to locate twenty, two-person desks that can actually support the weight of a CRT monitor and various bits. I mention the weight in particular because JM once brought his 19" or 21" CRT monitor to a Multiplay LAN, and the desk literally bowed about half a foot.
-Organising transport for myself and all the extension leads, 6-way adapters, administrative stuff, medical/legal stuff and coordinating it with the venue owners. I was in my late teens during all this!
-Cleaning up. I ended up using the same venue for both LANs, and the owners were very strict about leaving the place in the same condition that we found it, and that’s quite tricky when things are thrown around in the rush to get the place up and running before attendees arrive.
-Deciding on a price per head that will balance out the head count with the chance of breaking even and, if you’re lucky, covering petrol costs.

In the end I actually had a fantastic time organising and running the LANs, and it gave me a great perspective on the sheer effort that must be required for the huge LANs like Dreamhack. I never broke even for my LANs, but I’d run another in a heartbeat if I could. Maybe not everyone is as keen on LAN gaming as I am, hence the decline in the popularity of it.

The other day I went out to grab some dinner with my friends. We were leaving and I spotted a Nathan’s. So, of course I suggest we go to the arcade and play some video games ( I remembered there being a Marvel Vs Capcom 2 machine there). At the end of it all, it was a ton of fun. Playing strangers in person on arcade machines. The social aspect was great, I had forgotten about how much of that you lose playing online, even when you do have a mic. It’s a shame people don’t like to play in the same room as one another, but I miss the Arcade/LAN days, they were a lot of fun.
To tell you the truth, I think the reason it’s not as successful is just because people would rather not travel, haul their system, pay to play, or be out of their house while they’re playing their games. You have to shell out cash for food and drink at a LAN, at home you just open the fridge. Hauling your system can become a pain in the ass once you’ve done it a few times. You can play for shorter sessions when you’re at home, also while only wearing your boxers. At a LAN, you’re usually there for the long haul, and should probably keep your pants on. To put it short I think it’s just the comfort and convenience level. I’d rather sacrifice that for the social aspect though…

I found we had problems with games we could agree on, we played 6 player Heart of Iron and Europa Universalis, those were awesome games, but requires those 6 people for 3 days to even get anywhere.