Over the past several years, consoles and PC games have evolved from standalone storyline experiences and at-home multiplayer to an pick-up-and-play connection to millions of gamers. Without a doubt, the gaming community would not be as robust as it is without the internet. However, I can’t help but miss the old school LAN events of previous years. Take a few days, a bunch of friends, and a couple of cases of your favorite caffeine-engorged drink and have at your games until you’re sick.
Okay, that might not have been the best, but there’s a sort of magic about going to a LAN event that simply does not exist in our Internet-based gaming environment. Something that gamers could definitely benefit from.
Internet gaming culture means being alone together – How often do you meet a person online to end up getting to know them well? Can you say that the people that you game with on a regular basis are your friends? There is a reason why many people regard “Internet friends” as being lower in the hierarchy to “real”, out of game friends – people need that physical point of contact to help develop friendships and relationships. By meeting these people in real life, not only can you say that they are “real” and not just Internet friends, but you can make better connections with the people you already care for.
LAN parties help us meet people we otherwise would miss out on. The biggest of events attract people from all over the world – and when playing competitively at a LAN, those same people suddenly become your peers. You learn, share ideas with each other, find out where you stand in the hierarchy, and perhaps occasionally fanboy that one guy who always gets first place in the local Starcraft tournament. Without LAN events and face to face experiences, competitive gaming (and watching it) would certainly not be as appealing.
It’s important to be able to put a face to a nameless frag. Trash talking is definitely an important aspect of gaming for a lot of players and events, but there are points where that gray line gets pushed too far. Knowing who you’re fragging means that it’s a lot harder to hit below the belt with what you say – at the very least, you have anyone else who’s at the event to be accountable to.
For those who have not been at a live event, you’re missing out socially on a lot of really cool things. Besides, who likes lower latency? I know I do! The next time you hear about a LAN for a game you’re interested in, even if you’re no good at it, check it out – you may find yourself extremely happy you did.