With the evolution of competitive video gaming and online play, LANs (Local Area Network), are rare to come across. Sure, you may get together with a few buddies every month and play a few games. But what about the huge LANs of 100+ people, where everyone just geeks out all day?
Nowadays, most organized LANs that I see are for single/multi-day tournaments, or are put on by a university’s gaming club. In this article I want to briefly list some things that will help you feel confident attending your first LAN.
1. The Essentials
This tip can vary with the event or game being played. So I will speak about this generally. If you are attending a PC LAN, make sure you remember all your cables (power, HDMI, USB extenders, etc.), tower, monitor, peripherals (mouse, headset, keyboard), mousepad [I have forgotten mine many times], and Ethernet.
For a console LAN, make sure to remember your controller, charging cable/unit, and headset. I would also include some small snacks, drinks and water into this essential category. You never know if you will be fed, and even if you are, you’ll have some reserves so you can continue gaming into the wee hours of the morning.
2. The Extras
I have this milk crate that I bring to every event. Inside it has extra cables for everything. Extra power cords, HDMI, DVI, HDMI, Webcam, mousepads, mice and yes an extra keyboard. This not only helps yourself, in the chance that you forgot something, but it also helps the guy that forgot something at his first LAN as well. BONUS: You’ve also made a new real life friend, which is one of the cool things about LANs.
3. Mark your Stuff
Before you get to the event, got out and buy some stickers, or dots, or something that you can put on your stuff to mark it. That way if there is any confusion as to which controller is whose or whose headset it is, you can easily settle the dispute with the marking on your gear.
4. Have Fun and Make Friends
Whether it’s a big out-of-state tournament LAN or a local college gaming club LAN, make sure you have fun. Don’t be the try-hard tool that everyone will hate at the end of the event. Know that there are plenty of other people at the event for the first time. Don’t be afraid to ask to hop in on the next game or ask about the game someone else is playing. So get out there and make some friends and have fun.
[BONUS] 5. Thank the Organizers
There is a lot of hard work and long hours that go into putting on a large-scale LAN, so if you happen to meet or run into one of the organizers, be sure you tell them thanks.