The LAN party this past Saturday was a blast! Everyone seemed to have a great time and are ready for the next one. We had seven people total show up. One of my friends had to drop out at the last minute due to something called a ‘wife’. I am not quite sure what that is, but I think I want one when I grow up.

If you consider yourself an avid PC gamer, get out there and throw down at some LAN parties with your friends!

The Setup

We started setting promptly at 10:00am and were finished around 10:45am, after a few problems and some quick troubleshooting. At this point, we were totally pschyked out of our minds and could not wait to play. Unfortunately, we forgot the first rule of LAN parties, that Murphy kicks his law into overdrive.

We fired up good ole MechWarrior 4 first. I set up a LAN lobby and waited for the others to connect. We all connected and played our first ten minute game with no hassle at all, except that my keyboard was not operating normally. I exited the game, checked my cords, and returned to set up another lobby.

This time around two people were not able to connect to the game, so we entered another troubleshooting round. After several minutes of ‘WTF is going on’, we thought that the ancient hub we were using could not handle the network traffic. We went to our friendly neighborhood Office Depot to buy a new switch (for the tech-ignorant: switches are better than hubs). We got back to the house at 11:30 and plugged it up.

FINALLY! All our problems were instantly solved and we continued playing. Just kidding, the two problem computers still could not connect to the LAN game. After a few more minutes of ‘WTF IS GOING ON HERE!’, we noticed that only the Windows XP machines were not connecting. The rest of us were running either Vista or 7.

This was really confusing. How could XP not connect to a game, but Vista and 7 had no problems at all? We started to scream things like ‘THIS MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL’ and ‘XP IS THE GREATEST EVER, WHY IS IT HAVING A PROBLEM?’, but noticed that did not help at all.

When it comes to problems, I normally live by the mantra, ‘It is always something simple’, however in times like these it is extremely hard, since the craziness of the problem threw me into overdrive. We circled around this problem for the next 45 minutes until the attending networking guru stumbled upon the problem.

When hooking up the computers, I had connected my router to the cable modem/router and then the switch to my router. What I had forgotten was that the other day, the power went out in my apartment and reset my router back to default settings. Since the cable modem and my router were both Linksys, they both wanted to have the same IP address and the XP computers were getting confused as to which device was which.

I felt like such an idiot.

The Gameplay

After the rocky start, we played MechWarrior 4 for several hours. We started with 3v3 Team Destruction until the seventh person showed up. 4v3 is no fun, so we did 4v4 and added a bot to the short team. I aptly named the bot ‘Your Mom’ to enhance the fun, and believe me, we wore out all the jokes you can make with that.

At one point I was on the short team and we were playing on a mountainous map. The bigger mechs (which we had all chosen due to their awesomeness) have trouble climbing up the mountains, so we were all careful when navigating through them. Unfortunately for my team, Your Mom had trouble navigating and would mostly sit on the side lines trying to figure out where to go. We charged in and dealt a good deal of damage to the other team, but they out numbered us and killed us pretty quickly. Then Your Mom comes out of nowhere, annihilates the entire enemy team and runs and hides again. It was the strangest, yet most hilarious, event of the day.

It took us a while to get tired of MechWarrior, because it is such an awesome LAN game, but we eventually did and switched over to Left 4 Dead 2. We played a couple of rounds of Scavenge before moving on to Dark Crusade. At this time, one of the guys had to leave, so we were back to playing 3v3 again.

We were seated at a long table with three people on each side, so one side of the table played against the other.  The way it worked out, all the experienced DC players (including myself) were on the same side. We fired up a game and completely power-hosed the others. They cried like little girls about it, so we were no longer allowed to play the race we were most familiar with. However, that still did not even the score up, so we finished up with some 2v2v2, which worked out pretty great.

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