Posted by DrSwank (442 posts) -

The first Command and Conquer and Red Alert LAN party. The first console game (Goldeneye) we used carboard and blankets to sub-divide the screen to create a LAN like scenario, so other couldn't narily be called a "screen-watcher," even though you'd always staunchly deny that you did. Or the first Halo Party where unknown high-school randoms became best friends for life, many of which are the closest long lost friends we have. This is what is missing in my life. Were we better off with LAN parties?

I've realized that what draws me to Giantbomb, and to youtubers like Simon and Lewis Yogscast, or TotalBiscuit and Dodger on The Game Station, or countless others, is that it represents something that's been missing in my life for quite some time. The ability to come together and enjoy video games, which is something that surely becomes increasingly difficult as we grow older, and even more difficult since multiplayer became viable over the internet. But, there's one thing that I don't have after hours of gaming with friends over the internet... memories.

When I would play with friends via LAN, we would create countless memories. Many of these memories, if you're like our crew, we still recount to this day, a decade later. Yes, a decade later. Actually more like 15 years later, or longer if we're going back to Win95 days. But when gaming online with my brother, or best friends of yore, when I turn off my console to go to bed, or wind down, I feel as though I don't know them. It's superficial.

Gaming online also isn't nearly as fun. I recall yelling between rooms. Room bombing in underwear. Reminsciing over beers. Talking trash between games. Building intense rivalries. When playing online, I've realized that the only nemisis I have... is myself. Yes, I'm fighting random strangers in whatever random multiplayer game that I play, but I realize that much of my frustration comes from my expectations to become better than my performance the previous night, or even the previous game. Expectations of myself, unmet, creating frustration, my greatest nemesis. Whereas my greatest nemesis before was growing rivalries with actual people, that would soon become the very people that a decade later I would pay special visit, hours out of my way in some cases, to visit and converse over lunch or dinner.

So, that all being said... when I realize why I'm "anti-social" by today's standards... I've realized that I'm the same as I was a decade ago. The only difference though, a decade ago I played the games I still enjoy today, with real people, real friends, living real life together, sharing real stories, face to face and eye to eye, sharing laughter. Were we better off with LAN parties I ask? Yes. Yes I do believe we were.

#1 Edited by DrSwank (442 posts) -

The first Command and Conquer and Red Alert LAN party. The first console game (Goldeneye) we used carboard and blankets to sub-divide the screen to create a LAN like scenario, so other couldn't narily be called a "screen-watcher," even though you'd always staunchly deny that you did. Or the first Halo Party where unknown high-school randoms became best friends for life, many of which are the closest long lost friends we have. This is what is missing in my life. Were we better off with LAN parties?

I've realized that what draws me to Giantbomb, and to youtubers like Simon and Lewis Yogscast, or TotalBiscuit and Dodger on The Game Station, or countless others, is that it represents something that's been missing in my life for quite some time. The ability to come together and enjoy video games, which is something that surely becomes increasingly difficult as we grow older, and even more difficult since multiplayer became viable over the internet. But, there's one thing that I don't have after hours of gaming with friends over the internet... memories.

When I would play with friends via LAN, we would create countless memories. Many of these memories, if you're like our crew, we still recount to this day, a decade later. Yes, a decade later. Actually more like 15 years later, or longer if we're going back to Win95 days. But when gaming online with my brother, or best friends of yore, when I turn off my console to go to bed, or wind down, I feel as though I don't know them. It's superficial.

Gaming online also isn't nearly as fun. I recall yelling between rooms. Room bombing in underwear. Reminsciing over beers. Talking trash between games. Building intense rivalries. When playing online, I've realized that the only nemisis I have... is myself. Yes, I'm fighting random strangers in whatever random multiplayer game that I play, but I realize that much of my frustration comes from my expectations to become better than my performance the previous night, or even the previous game. Expectations of myself, unmet, creating frustration, my greatest nemesis. Whereas my greatest nemesis before was growing rivalries with actual people, that would soon become the very people that a decade later I would pay special visit, hours out of my way in some cases, to visit and converse over lunch or dinner.

So, that all being said... when I realize why I'm "anti-social" by today's standards... I've realized that I'm the same as I was a decade ago. The only difference though, a decade ago I played the games I still enjoy today, with real people, real friends, living real life together, sharing real stories, face to face and eye to eye, sharing laughter. Were we better off with LAN parties I ask? Yes. Yes I do believe we were.

#2 Posted by Winternet (8019 posts) -

No.

#3 Posted by Branthog (5562 posts) -

You didn't even need a LAN for a LAN experience, even as late as the early 00s. Something about the way games are shoved out, iterated quickly upon, and the custom-server stuff is handled today has forced this sort of lack of individuality among servers. This erodes any chance of a real community forming around that server. Look at BF3. It's hard to tell the servers apart and I've yet to find many with a real community around them. It's just a bunch of drop-in/drop-out based on what showed up in the server-browser that evening for you.

It might not have been entirely the same as a LAN, but think back to CS 1.6 and even maybe CS:S, early on. Really interesting servers with solid communities formed around them. You found the same people every day/night and you had discussions while you played. Today, it's usually quiet, it's mean when it isn't quiet, and for the most part you'll never see those people again... and one server looks and feels and plays like every other. And will be replaced in eighteen months, when the next game in the franchise comes around... which won't matter, because the community wont' have the attention span to stick around, anyway -- they'll be on to five of the next fifty similar games that come out that quarter.

LANs also come with a lot of additional costs that most people just don't want to deal with anymore. I mean, I have enough space in my house that I could hold a 36-man LAN very comfortably, but who wants the hassle of arranging everything and then cleaning up afterward? And who can schedule things such that enough people to make it fun all have time off at the same time, can arrange to travel to the same city at the same time, and then want to give up that precious free time to sit around playing games with a bunch of other dudes in a house? (Oh, and lugging all that equipment around, while you're at it).

If all your friends are still gamers, they all happen to live in the same city, they all are able to set aside a day or two, and can match everyone's schedules up at the same time -- then I guess that'd be pretty sweet . . . but chances are, that'd also mean that you'd have to be a teenager, again, before the point in life where your circle casts itself into the wind.

But, yeah, it would be fantastic if gaming were a bit more social. I haven't found that since the early days of Counter Strike and considering how much of my life is spent busting my ass working (alone, since I work from home in a secluded office), it would probably be a nice break from constantly dealing with work-people. I kind of think those days are long past, though. We're progressing further and further along the COD/XBox path, where you play with random assholes for ten minutes or less and will never *every* play with them again.

#4 Posted by StarvingGamer (8238 posts) -

Maybe if I was still in middle school with nothing better to do than lug my rig around on the weekends, and had no interest in playing with my friends during the week. Actually no, there is no situation in which we were better off with LAN parties.

#5 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -

@Winternet said:

No.

#6 Posted by Branthog (5562 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

Maybe if I was still in middle school with nothing better to do than lug my rig around on the weekends, and had no interest in playing with my friends during the week. Actually no, there is no situation in which we were better off with LAN parties.

I think the ultimate way to enjoy multi-player games was always in a LAN environment. It's the trappings that come with them and the hassle to set them up that ruins it. If you didn't have to set things up, clean things up, lug machines around and set them up, deal with scheduling, etc -- then the actual LAN activity itself is pretty great and I think that's supported by the fact that there remain enormous LAN parties that are organized every year, all over the place.

But when you get older, all that hassle really starts to counter the enjoyment part.

#7 Posted by Bell_End (1208 posts) -

i always think of the smell of sweat and urine when i think of LAN parties

#8 Edited by CptBedlam (4451 posts) -

It probably depends what kind of Lan Parties you've been to but yes, I know what you mean, OP. I never had nearly as much fun with online MP as I had at Lan Parties with my friends. It's a little sad that this age in gaming is kind of over. Every year or two, we still get together though ... if only to relive those days... and on those occasions we still play the games from back in the day: Starcraft, Half-Life 1, CS, AoE 2 etc.

#9 Posted by Fearbeard (830 posts) -

Why can't you play multiplayer locally with friends now?

I don't see how LAN parties or the equivalent are incompatible with gaming today.

#10 Posted by JoeyRavn (4974 posts) -

No. At least not personally. I've never liked playing with strangers, and I can still play with my friends online, just like I did back in the day. Without all the hassle of having to actually get together and start a LAN just to play a game.

#11 Posted by CptBedlam (4451 posts) -

@JoeyRavn said:

No. At least not personally. I've never liked playing with strangers, and I can still play with my friends online, just like I did back in the day. Without all the hassle of having to actually get together and start a LAN just to play a game.

Lan-Parties with strangers? I don't think the OP is referring to those 500-people-events but rather to the classic basement lan parties at a friend's house.

#12 Posted by EquitasInvictus (2029 posts) -

I remember the days I was trying to figure out how to get my school computers to play DOOM locally so I could play with friends. I don't miss those days too much, but I see what the OP means.

When you've got the right people it's far more fun enjoying some games locally than it is over the internet. Then again, it's just as easy to find enjoyment with the same people over the internet for me at least, so I guess I don't miss LAN parties too much.

#13 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

Sounds like you need a hug, bro. *Hug*

#14 Edited by CptBedlam (4451 posts) -

@EquitasInvictus said:

When you've got the right people it's far more fun enjoying some games locally than it is over the internet. Then again, it's just as easy to find enjoyment with the same people over the internet for me at least, so I guess I don't miss LAN parties too much.

I find it always way more fun to play with my friends locally than playing online with them. It's just different when you get together in a place.

#15 Posted by sociald1077 (263 posts) -

@CptBedlam said:

@EquitasInvictus said:

When you've got the right people it's far more fun enjoying some games locally than it is over the internet. Then again, it's just as easy to find enjoyment with the same people over the internet for me at least, so I guess I don't miss LAN parties too much.

I find it always way more fun to play with my friends locally than playing online with them. It's just different when you get together in a place.

I totally agree. I can say that I do miss everyone getting their computers together for a StarCraft LAN. It was fun party environment that just cannot be reproduced online and chatting on Skype. Yes, you can just physically go to your place with your rig and then do most of your gaming online together, but there was still something fun about setting it all up back then.

#16 Posted by rentfn (1280 posts) -

I miss Lan Parties because being in a room with people was fun but life gets in the way. A lot of my friends are spread out across the country but we still try to play online once a week. Being able to chat and play with them is just as much fun as lan parties were. I think the past always seems better but it might not be better.

#17 Posted by believer258 (11907 posts) -

I'm only 21 so I guess I missed when LAN parties were popular, but I will say this - I had the same experience when I played Halo 3 on Xbox Live every single night in high school for quite a long time. It was the same group that got together every single night and we played and played and played for hours on end, and we weren't in a LAN either. It was always custom games, sometimes just a regular-ass kind of game, sometimes really weird stuff with outside rules pushed in on it. I remember having nearly full games of people trying to figure out how to navigate some of those mazes that people made in the Forge.

So what I'm saying is that missing LAN parties isn't really the issue here. You say you're fighting random strangers instead of friends - that's the issue here. You were playing in a LAN game with friends - now, you're just playing online with completely random people that you don't know.

Online
#18 Posted by Creamypies (4065 posts) -

I agree with the sentiment that multiplayer experiences are better in the same room than over the Internet. There's no denying that. I barely ever play games online these days for that very reason, the experience never really matches up to that living room vibe.

#19 Edited by xMEGADETHxSLY (446 posts) -

OHHH, YOU CRAZY. A room full of tvs and monitors and a bunch of sweaty people. I use to do Halo lans when CE was prominent and it was terrible now that Online is dominate.

#20 Posted by Happenstance (462 posts) -

No specifically LAN parties but I much prefer local multiplayer. Online multiplayer is just never fun for me. Its either listening to a load of idiotic 13 year olds with lisps or if you mute it then you may as well be playing with bots. Even playing online with people I know is never particularly fun for me, I like to be in the same room as people when im playing with them.

#21 Posted by Funkydupe (3318 posts) -

I miss going to LAN gatherings. Too bad my friends have grown up and almost stopped playing video games entirely.

#22 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

Lan Party!

#23 Posted by Eldave0 (29 posts) -

For me, meeting up with mates and playing games like Mario Kart, Left4Dead, C&C, etc via split screen or system link will always be better than online - I suppose that's why I'm enjoying my Wii-U so much at the moment. There's something much more competitive/social about the whole experience.

That said, things like marriage and kids are making it harder for us to arrange these meet ups so I'll admit online is a god-send sometimes.

#24 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

I see where you are coming from and mostly agree. Which the way games are made now, with online made first and foremost it is more rare to build the kind of connections around games like you could before. That is a shame, best part of multiplayer games is the people you play it with. Ok, that sounded really cheesy.

But like it has been mentioned you can still from communities in online games, like in an MMO for example.

#25 Posted by Arabes (338 posts) -

Ya I miss LAN parties, everyone'd get really stoned and we'd all play Unreal in the computer labs at college. It's just not the same when you're not shouting at your friends and pissing yourself laughing when they fell off the edge in Facing Worlds. Playing with unknowns on the net just isn't the same.

#26 Posted by DrSwank (442 posts) -

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

Lan Party!

Not sure if trolling, but this actually looks fun lol

#27 Posted by DrSwank (442 posts) -

@Bell_End said:

i always think of the smell of sweat and urine when i think of LAN parties

Urine??

#28 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

I meet up with people to play fighting games regularly, around 15 of us.

#29 Posted by Nightriff (5084 posts) -

Better off, no, but for me yes because that is the experience I still enjoy and remember fondly. Halo 2 Multi, Rainbow Six Vegas Terrorist hunts, Left 4 Dead 4 v 4 are fine online but being in a room with a bunch of people that you can yell at, laugh at, etc. That was my high school experience and since then I don't even remember the last time I played a multiplayer game. LANs and local multi are the most enjoyable experiences.

#30 Edited by JoeyRavn (4974 posts) -

@CptBedlam said:

@JoeyRavn said:

No. At least not personally. I've never liked playing with strangers, and I can still play with my friends online, just like I did back in the day. Without all the hassle of having to actually get together and start a LAN just to play a game.

Lan-Parties with strangers? I don't think the OP is referring to those 500-people-events but rather to the classic basement lan parties at a friend's house.

No, I'm talking about playing against random people online. Online multiplayer does for me what LAN groups used to do some years ago.

Edit: Also, bear in mind that not everyone lives in the States, where it's common to have a house with a basement where you can host a LAN party. When I think about playing locally with my friends, I'm think about going to a cyber cafe where the LAN is already set up. We just had to pay to use it.

#31 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

@believer258 said:

I'm only 21 so I guess I missed when LAN parties were popular, but I will say this - I had the same experience when I played Halo 3 on Xbox Live every single night in high school for quite a long time. It was the same group that got together every single night and we played and played and played for hours on end, and we weren't in a LAN either. It was always custom games, sometimes just a regular-ass kind of game, sometimes really weird stuff with outside rules pushed in on it. I remember having nearly full games of people trying to figure out how to navigate some of those mazes that people made in the Forge.

So what I'm saying is that missing LAN parties isn't really the issue here. You say you're fighting random strangers instead of friends - that's the issue here. You were playing in a LAN game with friends - now, you're just playing online with completely random people that you don't know.

Those custom zombie games in Halo 3 were a fucking blast back in the day.

#32 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@drewmaw: Not trolling, would love a GTA IV TNT, Can get so many people involved play Cops and Robbers and Free Roam where everyone goes around in a bus doing drive bys trying to get as many cops on them as possible

#33 Posted by Jams (2961 posts) -

I remember in highschool a friend would come over with his computer so we could play Tribes. I remember we'd run a phone line across the house so we could both dial up and play together. We had no idea how to play over lan. Ha! good times.

#34 Posted by huntad (1939 posts) -

Yes, you are correct.