Anyone who spends any real amount of time on the Internet will have heard of the “Rules of the Internet”. These are essentially a part of a meme series that have been around so long that the origins are unclear, buried in web lore. But one that has maintained its popularity (if not its truth) is that there are “no girls on the Internet”.
Of course, we know there is no actual basis for this assumption. The PEW Internet & American Life Project ran a study that showed that there is actually a 6% difference in favor of women between the ages of 18 and 29 online, so really there are more girls on the Internet.
This actually extends into the real world, as well. While it might seem like there are more males than females who enjoy computer games – which might have been the case once – that gap is closing. Plenty of girls like to throw themselves into gaming, especially since the creation of MMORPG’s, and the incredible rise of World of Warcraft in particular.
Since this is happening more and more in younger groups, events like LAN’s are no longer the boy-parties that they once were. It is common to find females among the males in these situations, or to have all-girl get-togethers where for once the cry from the digital treehouse is ‘No Guys Allowed”.
But it is still a new concept for a lot of ladies who have been excluded for years on this front. Which might make them unsure on exactly how to host a LAN of their own for their female gaming friends. They can even decide on a mixed event to transcend those once oppressive stereotypes…or something less dramatic, but still inclusive.
In the end, you are most likely going to be putting together a casual get together with a few people. If you are hoping for a large LAN than you need a full guide to walk you through it. I suggest Small Net Builder’s 10 part guide.
For a smaller party you basically need three main things to get started:
- A place for everyone to sit and set up. You need chairs, desk space, tables…whatever. But you have to have a spot for every person who will be coming over, and an extra space or two just in case.
- Extra parts. I have never been to a LAN where someone didn’t forget something. Whether it is a mouse, a keyboard or monitor, keeping these on hand is always a plus. That includes extra cables, and even an extra computer if you or someone else has one.
- A good collection of games and unique serial numbers. Make sure everyone has copies of at least three different games to alternate through the night, and everything needed to install.
Remember that console games are not off limits, either. If you have extra controllers and some good games then you might turn to those later on in the night. While it might be a LAN and so PC specific, any gaming is acceptable. Besides, these have a tendency to last well into the night and sometimes the next morning. You want some potential selections if things slow down.
Otherwise, have a good list of snacks and drinks on offer. Try to stick with non-alcoholic, as there is a focus to the party and so getting hammered isn’t generally the point. But that will be up to you as host. Usually caffeine is a more sought after substance at this kind of event, so plenty of sodas and coffee should be on hand.
For food, you can provide sandwiches, cocktail hot dogs, pizza or other easy to eat morsels that won’t interfere with game play. Then chips, pretzels, candy and similar extras to munch on through the night.
If you are worried about lulls between games or breaks being needed, you can have some other options around. Movies (game related ones are great) can make for a lot of fun. But you always have talking, which will happen a lot both during and between playing. Especially if you are there with friends you know well.
Whatever you do, don’t take things too seriously. A LAN between a small group of people should be casual and fun, not highly structured and planned. You can have a few ground rules or guidelines in place, such as the amount of time per game or the kind of game played, but you shouldn’t get too bogged down with details.
Just sit back, relax and enjoy time with friends who have similar interests for a night. That is the only real purpose to a LAN party to begin with, after all.