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LAN parties have become a great pastime for gamers everywhere, but a great question is how to have a blast at your first LAN party? Like tabletop, pencil-and-paper, and card gamers who travel with a trunk load of miniatures, books, or cards to anything from a friend's house to a large convention center, video gamers pack up up their systems and head off to a LAN party. If you're thinking about hosting an LAN party, or you've been invited to attend one and you're not sure what to expect, here are a few tips you can follow to make sure you, as well as others, experience the best time to be had.
If you're a gamer who's been invited to a LAN party, there's nothing more important than bringing your own computer. Your PC should be able to handle any and all of the games that you're likely to be playing, and these games should be pre-installed and up to date with all of the current drivers and patches you'll need. In addition, you'll need your own copies of the games you'll be playing. Depending on what type of LAN party you're going to, Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2 are extremely popular. Old classics such as Warcraft 3 also make an appearance frequently.
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Hardware to Bring
To have a blast at your first LAN party means you must bring the correct gear. In addition to your computer and your games collection, you'll likely need to supply our own monitor as well. LCD displays are always preferred, as they take up less space than their fatter CRT cousins, which means more people can fit in to play. Headphones are also a plus, because if you'll be attending a 24 person LAN party, you can be sure not everyone is going to appreciate you blasting Shakira while you're fragging them. Save yourself the embarrassment and keep those hips that don't lie to yourself.
While these are pretty basic and most veteran LAN goers have them packed without a second thought, many items have gone forgotten when it comes to LANs. In theory, things like a surge protector, ethernet cable, and mouse pad shouldn't be needed, but that is not always the case. You should always check with your host to see what is needed and what you'll need to bring, as well was what the host might be running short on, so you can help fill the gaps.
Check out this article on recommended hardware for the mobile gamer for more info on gear.
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Stuff to Bring
Aside from all the hardware you'll need, you should consider what kind of snacks and food you want to keep yourself fueled for the non-stop frag fest. It's pretty likely there will be pizza ordered, but what gamer can be convinced to leave a hot game to grab something to eat? Having bags of snacks on hand that you can just reach into can help alleviate that growling stomach you're likely to have. Some beverages will be important or you will soon be parched, and something caffienated will keep your reaction time low despite some marathon gaming sessions.