Keeping the Spirit of LAN Parties Alive

It’s normal to long for nostalgia – especially when you’re a gamer. No matter how advanced our technology becomes and how realistic today’s games are, there’s something special and unique about the gaming experiences of the past that can’t be replicated today – including LAN parties. 

A local area network (LAN) party is a get-together that allows gamers to connect their computers or devices to one network while sharing a physical space. Remember back in high school when you had Halo or Call of Duty tournaments with your friends? Maybe you can go even further back to where you played racing or sports games on your consoles or computers with your closest companions. 

LAN get-togethers still exist, largely in the esports world. But, on a smaller scale, it can be fun to relive your glory days and invite the fun of LAN parties back into your home. Plus, it’s easier to host a party than you might think, and you can combine the old-school way of playing together with some of today’s advanced technology for a killer party people will be talking about for weeks. 

The Basics of Party Hosting

While the overall theme of your LAN party will be inviting people over to play games, there should be more to your get-together than that. If you really want to evoke nostalgic vibes, have fun with your event. Send out retro-themed invitations and encourage everyone to wear their favorite 80s and 90s clothes. Play music you listened to in high school. Decorate the space with things from the past. If possible, provide old-school snacks you used to eat while playing video games as a teenager. 

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Everyone loves a themed party, and while people are still connecting today to play video games, if your goal is to bring your nostalgia to life, it’s a good idea to go all out for a party people won’t forget. 

If you’re on a budget or your friends have offered to help, consider making your event BYOB (bring your own beverage). This allows people to bring whatever drinks they want – alcoholic or otherwise – so they don’t feel limited by what you might offer. Plus, if they know the party is retro-themed, they can join in the fun too, and bring in some favorite childhood/teenage drinks to share with everyone. 

We’re not saying there should be Surge involved, but there should probably be Surge involved.  

Setting Up Old Systems

Gaming advancements have changed the way people look at video games and gamers alike. Things like augmented reality, VR, motion and gesture control, and simulations have allowed gaming concepts to make their way into other industries. For example, simulations and VR are used in healthcare, emergency services, and transportation to improve safety. 

But, if you’re more interested in setting up old systems for your LAN party, you’re going to need to have enough physical space and enough bandwidth to bring in multiple computers or consoles. Some of the essential networking equipment you’ll need for a small party includes: 

  • Network cards for every PC
  • One network port per person
  • An Ethernet switch
  • Network cables

If you’re going with consoles instead of PCs, you might want to consider a space in your home or venue with a lot of extra room. The more consoles you have, the more televisions you need. When you also consider seating, things will take up space very quickly. If you’re having the party at home, it’s probably best to limit your guests so people have enough room to feel comfortable. 

Once you have the layout and equipment set up, determine which game(s) you’re going to play. The options for local multiplayer games are seemingly endless, so you might consider including a few choices in your initial invitation and let your guests pick out their favorites. 

Combining Old School and New School Technology

There’s no reason you can’t play some of today’s best multiplayer games or even utilize new technology at your LAN party. You can use newer consoles or even try things like multiple VR headsets in the same physical space to give the feel of an old-school LAN party with the latest advancements. 

If you’re not able to get a bunch of PCs or consoles in the same room, you could still capture the spirit of a LAN party by having everyone stream multiplayer games to their mobile devices. Provide mobile gaming controllers, and as long as everyone’s in the same room, it’ll still feel like a LAN party. 

If you really want to provide an extra special touch after your party is over, send out personalized thank you cards. It’s not an outdated practice. It’s proper etiquette, and will help to ensure your friends come to your next party, because they know you appreciate them being there. Getting a thank you card after a party can exceed someone’s expectations, and that will almost guarantee they won’t forget about their experience. 

Gaming is no longer just a hobby for kids or teens. You can relive the glory days here in the 21st century by throwing a LAN party that reminds you of all of the fun you used to have with your friends. Keep these ideas in mind to combine some of your favorite things about old-school video games with the convenience of today’s technology, and this won’t be the last LAN party you throw!

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