Local area network (LAN) parties offer an interesting alternative to online play that allow gamers to compete with or against one another in the same physical location. The famous LAN party duct tape meme makes us think of wild nights where anything goes, but what really goes on at a LAN party?
That meme of the gamer suspended above his computer using duct tape first appeared at the start of the century when the idea of hosting a LAN party was at its height.
The people behind it have since admitted that it was just a small group of friends deciding to do something silly and that the computer was added as an afterthought, rather than this being the way that they actually played.
As online gaming has advanced hugely since then, you might think there’s no longer any need for people to get together and play in this way. After all, massively multiplayer games now let us join others to play virtually at any time and wherever we are. Yet, the appeal of LAN parties is still strong for a lot of gamers.
Anyone who wants to play games but also wants to spend time with their friends could find that a LAN party is the perfect solution. It’s especially useful for groups of friends who don’t get many chances to see each other and find that this is a good way of doing so while playing their favorite games.
In addition, the rise of esports in recent years has led to a new wave of interest in LAN party events held in large venues and with a competitive edge.
This has given new gamers the chance to see how exciting this sort of event can be, and if you’ve only ever played online you may find playing over a local network to be better than you had imagined.
On the other hand, those people who’ve grown up playing games with their friends know what to expect from a LAN party, and many carry on doing so as a way of getting a break from work or studying.
Even as life gets busier and they have more commitments, the idea of hooking up with their buddies to play some f2p games can be as attractive as it ever was.
What is a LAN party, anyway? Well, a LAN party is carried out in a single location, where the gamers meet up to play. They hook up their computers or consoles to a LAN, which means they can play compatible LAN party games together, interacting in real life as well as on the screen.
So, what’s the difference between a LAN party and online play? It really comes down to having a group of people who are friends in real life coming together to play at a physical location. The games you play might be exactly the same ones you plan online, and you do it using the same PC or console.
But the simple fact that everyone’s in the same room creates a completely different atmosphere.
What do you need for a LAN party? The first choice to make is whether it’s going to be a computer or console-based event. This will determine which games you can play, so it’s worth considering the best LAN party game on each type of device you’re considering using.
Usually, each player takes along their own computer or console. However, any additional equipment needed after this depends upon the number of devices to be used. With a small group and just a few devices, you need a router, while switches are needed if you run out of network ports.
Network cards, Ethernet switches, and network cables are also important, and getting a starter network kit is often a good idea.
It’s a good idea to have some extension cords too, as this helps you to avoid the risks of connecting a lot of PCs to a single outlet. By distributing the load, you’ll make it safer, which is particularly important if you’re planning on a marathon gaming session at your LAN party.
Other issues to take into account include the seating and the desks you’re going to use. You want everyone to be comfortable, but not all of us have numerous chairs and desks at home, so you might need to ask some people to bring along their own with them.
Once you’ve done all that, take a realistic look at how suitable the venue is in terms of size and layout. People often have LAN parties in their garages, as it’s the most suitable place in their houses. Remember to consider issues such as the temperature too, as a fan may be needed to keep everyone cool as they play.
Food and drink need to be prepared in advance, especially if you’re planning on getting fully immersed in the games and not going anywhere for several hours. What’s a LAN party without people going crazy and enjoying endless pizzas, hot dogs, and soda?
However, there’s probably going to be a point when you crave real food, so having a plan for when this happens is a smart move.
Keeping a leaderboard is a great idea too, as the question of who won most games is often a source of heated debate after a long session. You can find special LAN party softwares online that helps you to organize the event and track the scores.
Finally, it makes sense to discuss the best games to be played beforehand, to avoid any last-minute confusion or complaints.
There are no set rules for what you can and can’t do at a LAN party. While gaming is the main appeal for many players, others are drawn to the chance to hang out with friends and do other stuff.
You might arrange some offline games or watch something on the TV between games. Either way, if you’re going to be there all night long or during a long day session, it’s a good idea to have some other activities lined up apart from the games.
After that, all you need to do is set the place and the date for the LAN party. Keen gamers love to set up these parties well in advance, as anticipation is a big part of the pleasure.
Keep in mind, though, that once you’re comfortable with the basics, there should be no problem in arranging a party at short notice if necessary.