Every PC gamer knows just how much fun a good LAN party can be. It’s one of the best ways to meet people into the same games and pastimes as you are. It’s also a great way to see how your current skills stack up against other gamers in your general area. Playing online is one thing but, with all the hackers you can find online, it’s not as pure a test as a good LAN party. There are, however, a few things you should always make sure to bring with you. Using the criteria of “How likely are you to need this?”, these are the four best things to bring.
YOUR OWN GEAR
Some LAN parties are “bring your own computer” affairs. If that’s the case, then bringing your own stuff is obvious. However, there are quite a few parties where computers are provided nowadays. This is to prevent anyone from having hacks loaded into their game or having an unfair advantage because of their computer. In this case, you should still bring your own keyboard, mouse, headset, and any other peripherals you prefer. Getting used to another keyboard isn’t too bad but any gamer will tell you that it can be a nightmare having to get used to a new mouse on the fly. Because of this, always make sure to bring the stuff you’re familiar with.
ENERGY DRINKS AND SNACKS
LAN parties aren’t one to two hour long events. They can last as long as eight hours, sometimes, or even longer. You don’t want to find yourself dozing off or dealing with a growling stomach. To help deal with this, pack a few energy drinks and some good snacks. A few energy drinks should usually be enough to last you the whole LAN party but use your own judgement. For those swearing off energy drinks due to recent news, instant coffee may be a decent alternative. For snacks, bring something carb-heavy and not greasy or candy coated. After a while, your hands will start to sweat and you don’t want to get grease or anything else on your keyboard or mouse.
It’s a good idea to bring a camera to any party, as most people know, and LAN parties are no exception. If you can manage it, a digital camera that can record video is the best thing you can bring. Odds are pretty good that you’ll make a new friend or two – or that your friends are already there with you – and you don’t want to miss anything funny or cool that they pull off. If your camera can take pictures of computer screens with no problem – as most digital cameras can nowadays – you can use your camera to lock away bragging rights. There’s nothing quite like having an amazing run in a game, the kind nobody will believe, and having proof to show your buddies later.
CASH, A PIECE OF PAPER, AND A PEN
Sometimes, LAN parties will have everyone chip in a couple of bucks to send out for a pizza or subs or something like that. It gets everybody some proper food and lets all the players take a quick break from sitting in the same spot while they get together and eat. Even if the party you’re at isn’t doing this, it’s a good idea to bring some cash anyway. You might find yourself getting more hungry than what your snacks can cover, after all, and being able to get a sub is a good way to keep that from being a problem. The piece of paper is for when or if you decide to go get your food. You can make a simple “Back in five minutes” sign to place in front of your computer. This way, if anyone comes looking for you, people know that you’re gone but not for long. It’s a little thing, true, but better safe than sorry.
Terry Scott works as a computer networking systems administrator and has written on topics he refers to as “all things geek”. He has also contributed to the Best Network Management Degree Programs for other people with a strong interest in computers and want to further their education to expand their career opportunities in the field.