The Insightful Troll

Rants and ruminations.

The LAN Party

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Assembly 1992

Merritt K over at aftermath on the LAN party culture of the 1990s and early 2000s:

In the 1990s and early 2000s, three-dimensional graphics in videogames were becoming more and more complex. Titles like 1998’s Half-Life pushed games in more cinematic directions, with lighting and textures that went beyond anything released even a few years earlier. Other first-person shooters (FPS) like Counter-Strike (itself originally a mod for Half-Life) and Unreal Tournament built on the work of earlier titles like DOOM, Wolfenstein 3D, and Duke Nukem 3D. Many of these titles were designed for multiplayer action. However, the typically low network speeds of the period meant that these games, unlike slower-paced and less graphically intensive strategy games, were nearly unplayable over an internet connection. In this moment, in which communications technology was being outpaced by graphical power, the LAN (local area network) party was born.


LAN parties ranged from small, private gatherings to massive, multi-day events with thousands of participants, such as QuakeCon, DreamHack, The Gathering, and Euskal Encounter.

These were a feature of my youth - I clearly remember hauling our machines to a friends house in eastern Long Island and passing out playing multi-player Quake and CounterStrike until the wee hours of the night.

The highlight of that era was my visit to Assembly in Finland in 1992. Good times.