Ah, the classic LAN party; refuge of the well and thoroughly geeky. Having thrown and attended multitudes of them by now, I thought I’d write a how-to recipe guide for any first timers out there willing to dedicate countless hours to the setup, maintenance, and cleanup involved in hosting a classical and time-tested LAN party with all the trimmings.
– 8+ Computers: Various makes and models that are usually brought by the attendees. At least one of these has to be severely aged so as to cause intermittent problems with networking, and to act as an object of ridicule for the night. At least one of these will overheat, and there is a 10% chance that one will require a reformat.
– 8+ Humans: Also various makes and models. Wait, actually, if you can get models to come, that would be pretty cool. Cancel the LAN party and hang out with the models.
– 8 (or more) Port Router / Switch: It’s hard to LAN without a network. I mean, it’s right there in the name, so you should have probably figured that out by now. Most times a large spare switch is usually something that’s hard to come by unless you have employed techs for friends. Make sure the switch isn’t gigabit or anything; It needs to be a 9 year old 10 / 100 switch to add some believable lag to the proceedings.
Fair warning: Avoid angering the owner of said switch if they’re kind of a jerk. It’s like taking your ball and going home, and some kids do it.
– 6+ Flimsy Tables: For people to set up on. None of these should have been produced more recently than 1979, and should be plastic or at least have metal legs that shriek like a banshee when unfolded. These should look as though they’re about to break or topple over at all times to add tension and an air of danger (and therefore fun) to any event. Consider it a meta-game.
– 50-75m LAN Cable: This will be hard to come by due to the fact that people will usually set up their computers too far away for a normal cable to reach the router. Longer cables will be brought out, snaked across the whole building leaving huge tripping hazards that only exacerbate the whole flimsy table situation. Mayhem will occur, and someone will eventually end up buried in cable, lost forever to the void. If you find that you don’t know who has vanished by the end, at least 4 neighborhood pets are gone. This is a certainty.
– Steam (1 Per Computer): In this day and age, the gaming platform Steam is required for online play. Local multiplayer is essentially a myth since people discovered that keeping other people away from them is easier than… like… touching other people. Ew. Anyway, as far as Steam goes, someone will have received a VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) ban sometime in the past and discover it during your party. They will ignore the aimbots and pirated software on their computer and instead blame hackers. Obviously these hackers have nothing better to do that jump on your friend’s machine and cheat at video games, right? Don’t bring this up. It’s best not to argue with them as they are only tangentially aware of the real world. You will not win.
– 1 Internet Connection: It is an infallible law that the connection will die fully at least once during the night, generally during the last few critical moments in a heated match. This should be considered a draw, but only according to the team that was losing.
– 10+ L of Pop: Can be any flavor, but must contain caffeine to fuel the LAN. It’s a good idea to make sure it will mix into any alcoholic beverages brought. A mix of diet and full-sugar is preferable for various tastes. Coffee may also be required.
– 5+ Assorted Bags of Chips: Must be a bright color in order to leave permanent stains on all attendee equipment, and also their souls. The later the night progresses, the cheaper and grosser the chips can be. Note that paint chips should be reserved for that one guest who just won’t leave the next day.
– 4 or More Extra Large Pizzas: As with the pop, usually the people that didn’t pay will devour the most. If you are the host, expect no leftovers, even if you explicitly order more for that specific purpose. You will have no idea where it goes, but it will be gone. Feel free to lick any pieces you wish to save, but even that may not help. People are gross and should probably be stopped.
In fact, let’s deal with that soon.
– 1 House: Must be far, far out of the way for about 65% of those attending the party so the one person with a car that volunteers to give rides has to spend about 3 tanks of gas getting people there and back.
– 1 Overly Competitive Person: For pure comedy value. When you beat them, (And you will. Frequently.), they will swear enough to make George Carlin blush. Every attack is “cheap” unless they’re using it and every game “sucks” unless they win. It’s okay though, because it’s hilarious. At least once per night they’ll pick a pet-peeve attack that ruins them every time that they can’t counter. Once this is found, you are morally obligated to secretly message EVERYONE to use it on them constantly until they pitch their mouse through a wall. Remember, the next week when asked about it, they will tell you they don’t get that mad and that everyone is overblowing it. This is why you recorded it though, right?
– 1 Wireless Network: As an absolute last resort, you can add users to the network wirelessly. Take all the issues you have wiring people in and multiply them by a factor of five, and that’s IF you do the blood sacrifice correctly. If you fail (or if it is refused by the dark Gods that mete out WiFi), you will create a hole in the known universe and may need to navigate non-Euclidian geometry to escape. Once out, you may remain a husk for approximately six to eight human lifetimes until you are allowed to fade from this mortal plane.
(Optional) 1+ Annoying Pet(s): Again, this may remedy itself if the pet becomes lost in time and space, but if the pet is a dog, it will smell terrible and bark at everyone who comes in and out constantly. If it’s a cat, it will be clingy and meow. Either may chew cables, and if not, will have bad gas. At least one person present will be allergic, but not have planned ahead and brought any medication.
First off, in a large house, mix together the computers and people. Start by setting your tables close to the only power outlet so that 10 power bars can be plugged into one socket. Then add in your router, switches, and LAN cables to create a network that will usually not work. Wireless users are encouraged to complain about reception and disconnections throughout the festivities. Allow this mixture to simmer in a roiling broth of sweat, vulgarity, rage juice (you’ll know it when you see it) for about 4 hours until no one will care what is going on, and half the people will quit the scheduled games and play something else that everyone hates.
Once it has come to a boil, call the pizza company and place an order, but consult absolutely nobody about what to put on them. Make sure to order something that normal humans find repulsive to try and dissuade everyone from eating it. Something like pineapple, even though eating it on pizza can signify that you and your bloodline are weak and sure to be eradicated in the encroaching voidstorm you created earlier. Once the food arrives, try and have about 4 bottles of pop out at any one time, but keep it far away from most people so that they actually have to get up, stretch, and walk a little to pour some. Diabetes is a serious issue, so they should have to exert SOME effort (And they’ll thank you for the exercise when they’re running from the things that can’t be described by mortal tongues later on).
This recipe will usually take about 10 hours to stew perfectly, and the rituals should now be complete! Enjoy the new world you’ve wrought as the dark flame engulfs all! May you perish last for your efforts.