Local gamers gather for 28 hours of competitive play

With thousands of multiplayer computer games available, consumers in the technological world have developed their own competitive arena.

Local area network or LAN parties allow players of multiplayer games to congregate in a pre-arranged area to play against each other in real time through the use of computer networking.

Though the local gaming community is limited, Missouri Southern students are preparing to host the 70-player cryptCon LAN party at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Student Center at Crowder College.

“It’s a gathering of nerds,” said Sheldon Kennedy, freshman computer forensics major and event coordinator. “It’s an opportunity to leave the dark basements and possibly see sunlight.”

LAN parties can involve from three to 300 participants competing in pre-arranged tournaments. Participants bring their own computers and hook-up to the network to play any number of multiplayer games.

“Basically it would be like going to the dorms and putting all of them on a network,” said Dan Hays freshman computer forensics major and LAN tournament manager.

Originating on college campuses in the early 90s, LAN parties utilize miles of networking cable to allow gamers to remove the Internet component from their games. Participants say they use the LAN parties to get out from behind the computer screen and socialize with fellow gamers.

“It’s you and your friends, and new friends,” Hays said.

CryptCon games will include but are not limited to Quake III and IV, Far Cry, F.E.A.R., Battlefield 2, and Counterstrike 1.6. These parties are characterized by their own unique set of guidelines.

Some parties last for more than 48 hours, breaking only for limited sleep and the consumption of caffeinated beverages.

LAN parties are organized by the event coordinator or host, sometimes with the help of sponsors.

“We’ve had a month of serious planning,” Kennedy said.

While gamers are a lesser-known group in this area, the organizers of the cryptCon LAN party hope to make it more than just a one-time event.

“Some people have sporting events, dances or clubs, we have LAN parties,” Hays said.

Those interested in attending the first cryptCon LAN party should be prepared to bring their complete computer system minus speakers, headphones only, along with appropriate cables. Participants are also encouraged to register at www.cryptcon.com