I attended Lanwar’s MillionManLAN LAN party in Louisville, Kentucky last month. The four day event started August 4 and ended August 7. More than 300 gamers attended, bringing their own PCs and gaming consoles. They competed in several tournaments on many platforms, with the winner or winning team taking home a prize from the several hundred dollar prize pool.
Lanwar, Inc. is a 13 year old organization which has run two to four LAN parties per year for its entire existence. More than 19,000 people have attended Lanwar events, including its main summer event, MillionManLAN. Attendance peaked at 1,253 gamers at MillionManLAN 3 in 2004 and has been between 300 and 400 for the past several years. Lanwar’s other quarterly events, simply called Lanwar, hover between 100 and 200 gamers.
I’d not been to a Lanwar event since MillionManLAN in 2005. I had a great time there in 2004 and 2005. Unlike those times, however, this was the first time I’d ever gone to a LAN party by myself. I’ve changed a lot since I starting attending LANs in 2003, so when some friends bailed because of work obligations, I took it as an opportunity to put myself in a first timer’s shoes.
I arrived Thursday around 13:00 at the University of Louisville’s student center multipurpose room. Parking and loading was a pain, but I’ve rarely been to a LAN party where it wasn’t. Fortunately, they did have available flat carts for bringing stuff in.
Approximately 100 people were already there. I setup my rig, which, much to my chagrin, was next to an already smelly garbage can. The smell didn’t last long, though: the UofL event staff seemed pretty consciencious about keeping the garbage cans empty.
Thursday was very loose and freeform. There wasn’t a lot of gaming going on, with the exception of a very well-attended Mortal Kombat tournament (the new one) and a Bomberman tournament. I found the entertainment filler — meme videos — to be a little overbearing, but bearable when in-game. I think we watched a whole half hour of Boxxy and a Rocketboom documentary on her and the ensuing 4chan civil war.