Prepping for a lanparty. (part 1)

And now for something completely different.

Those that know me personally, also know that I’m totally hooked to LAN parties.
With an upcoming one at work (yeah, that’s right, we hold LAN parties at work), I decided to necro an old topic of mine from 2013. I even had to look it up through this site, as I never saved the text locally.
This only proves that once you put something online, there’s no un-posting. Ever.

Here goes.

LAN parties …

oldschool yo
Before the hip kids all did it

You might have heard of them before, and maybe want to attend one (or preferably more) in your lifetime.

In case you don’t know what a LAN party is, I’ll give you a brief rundown :
First of all, the abbreviation “LAN” stands for “Local Area Network“.
LAN parties basically consist of a gathering of people, bringing their own home-computer setups with them, in order to connect them all into one big network.
Mostly with the common goal to play computer games together and hang out in an alternative social environment.

With the coming of high-speed internet, the “social” part has become a larger part of the LAN-life. The reason behind this, is that “in days of olde”, people could not achieve the data transfer speeds needed for fast network gaming of fast data tranfer altogether, over a simple phone line through a dial-up internet connection.

Plus, it’s way more fun to be able to punch someone in real life, who just shot you down in a video game, instead of scolding him over the internet.

Come prepared

In any way, the following list will provide you with sort of a ultimate LAN party checklist as a preparation for your visit to a LAN.

Very important :

  • A computer + its power cable (I can’t state this enough, and yes I’ve seen people arrive without their PC…)
    Some LAN parties provide you with a rental PC, but very few do this. Check your LAN website when in doubt.
  • A screen + its power cable + its connector cable
    Unless you’re carrying a laptop with you, a screen is as important as your actual PC
  • Input devices, such as keyboard and mouse
    Or a braille input device as I once had the privilege to witness
  • Network cable of sufficient length (preferably UTP CAT5 straight cable or anything of higher quality)
    In few cases, the organisation itself provides you with network cable. Sufficient length mostly means 10 meters or more.
  • Power Strip with more than enough connectors for all your PC hardware (for you Dutch speaking who don’t know what a power strip is : “ne priezenblok”)
    Most LANs provide one group of tables with only one power strip onto which you can branch your own one.

Relatively important :

  • Sleeping gear
    Unless you want to sleep on a hard concrete floor, or in a chair with your head on your keyboard, some sleeping gear is handy.
    You can also be a “tough nut” and stay awake all night, cause that’s what tough guys do. However, I strongly suggest getting a little sleep in order to improve your concentration level when you play games on a need-to-win basis.
    My suggestion is to use a camping bed, a sleeping bag and a pillow to a default LAN party
  • Food
    Most LANs provide food at an affordable price. It is however recommended to bring along some snacks for yourself so you don’t have to rely on otherwise mostly fast-food.
    Healthy mind, healthy body, that sorta thing.
  • Software
    Bring all your necessary software with you. This includes, but is not limited to :
    … your Windows (or other Operating System) CD or install medium (a USB stick for instance)
    … drivers for your hardware, in case you need to reinstall your PC
    … games (although nowadays with platforms such as Steam, you can download your games after you formatted your PC, just by logging into the game client
    … anything you can think of, basicallyTrust me when I say that if ever you are in need of a piece of software when you’re hours away from home, you’ll think back to the day you have read this article
  • Personal hygiene stuff
    Basically you bring this along, so you don’t bother your fellow gamer with bodily odors.
  • Sound
    Although most bigger LAN parties have a headset-only policy, in some cases it’s always nice to have someone bring along his speaker/woofer combo for all of us to enjoy his weird choice of music.Seriously, if it doesn’t say ‘speakers allowed’ on the LAN website or in their invitations, DON’T BRING SPEAKERS

Optional :

I can think of a lot of stuff that would be optional for you to bring to a LAN. It depends on what transportation you’ll be taking and how much room is in/on your car, bike, bus, …

  • Your own chair from behind your desk is nice to have, for instance. So are extra blankets or pillows.
  • Extra clothing is not considered as must-have, but it tends to improve your social life if you attend a +3day LAN
  • Money is another thing. If you brought enough food with you to survive the entire LAN, and you’re absolutely sure you will not need to buy anything locally, then be my guest and show up as a bum. However, as Murphy’s Law lurks around every corner, I wouldn’t be surprised you’ll need some extra cash.

With that in mind, you’re somewhat prepared for your first LAN event.
Another handy tip : if you’re new to LANs, don’t go taunting the locals and brag about how awesome you are at some game. Even if you were good at a game, and even if (very slim chance) you’re as good as the LAN visitors who played for ages, you’ll be socially excluded within the minute. The ones I met in real life will know who I’m talking about.

“OK, Zupertails, you got me all worked up now. Where do I go from here with all this info?”

Basically, if you’re from Belgium, like I am, you stay on the lookout on various LAN websites.
Some of them are : (basically a calendar where you can see all other LANs in Belgium)

Frag-o-Matic (the biggest commercial one in Belgium we have atm)

9 Lives (one of the bigger gaming communities in Belgium)

The Gathering (the Mothership of all LANs, located in Norway, visited form all over the world)

The Gathering - 2005
pic from Wikipedia

I hope you enjoy this helpful little guide on the world of LAN parties.
Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to mail me, or post a comment (comments are moderated, so it takes a while before they appear).
Facebook is also a popular place where you’ll see me hanging around.


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