LAN parties have been around for quite some time now, but this doesn’t mean that everybody knows what they are and how to prepare for one. This post can help you prepare both mentally and your equipment for your first or latest LAN party.

First of all what is a LAN-party?

A LAN party is a gathering of people mostly to get together in real life and game, the games vary from group to group but the idea remains the same. Instead of gaming via the anonimity of the internet, gaming face to face. Though the medium stays the same: video games, the environment changes many dimensions. Seeing the people close by you’re playing with give everything a different angle, you can actually see the joy or defeat in their face. LAN parties exist in many sizes from big editions with many thousand competitors to small groups of friends joining and setting everything up at someone’s house or at a local venue.

Dreamhack 2004

A large LAN party (Dreamhack ’04)

What do I need?

Normally following items are needed to go to a LAN party:

  • Computer (desktop or laptop, and don’t forget your power cables)
  • Network cable(s)
  • Router/switches
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
  • Screen
  • Mouse pad
  • Food and drinks (if allowed by the organisation)
  • Money (for local expenses)
  • Monitor (don’t forget your cables!)
  • Box or trolley to help carry everything
  • Sleeping bag/equipment
  • Toiletries
  • Power extension cord (preferably with multiple sockets)

The items listed here will give you a general idea of what you need, however some items can be provided by the organisation (networks, power, food, drinks) depending on the venue and such. If you’re going to a LAN party with some friends, find out who’s bringing what and bring spares!

What if I’m hosting a LAN party

If you’re hosting you’ll need to find a venue that suits your needs. Depending on the number of participans you can either do it at home (if allowed) or search for a venue. Keep in mind that a LAN party has very specific needs so finding a good spot is the hardest part. What does your venue need:

  • A main room, large enough to seat everybody + their equipment and has tables and chairs for everybody, sufficient power outlets.
  • A kitchen, with sufficient fridges
  • Internet connection, if you’re doing this at home you should be able to use your connection at home. Not all venues have internet but this many can┬ábe provided with internt rented from your local ISP (check with them or with organisations who are specialized in hosting events). Make sure your connection is sufficient for everybody at once…
  • Networking equipment: try to have as much as possible or find participants who have the equipment needed.
  • Trophies (if there are competions/tournaments)

Caution

Whatever you do: have fun! Because that should be the main reason why you go to a LAN party.