Years ago, a certain circle of my friends would get together each month to play multiplayer games in a LAN party hosted at someone’s apartment. We each would pack up and transport our PCs, monitors, and peripherals to someone’s house, set up in a kitchen or wherever, and we played games all day. Starcraft, Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Vietnam, Age of Empires. We’d order pizza, laughed, and generally cursed out the fellow who just shot you.
You may think that the whole event sounds ridiculous or that my wife would be embarrassed. Surprisingly, my wife was all for it, because she knew it was cheap entertainment and that we weren’t out carousing at a bar. Yeah, I used the word “carousing.” Times changed though around 2005. One friend Adrian moved to Hong Kong for work. We had Josh, I had a new job at Citi, and we were preparing to purchase our first home. Not much free time.
Recently, my friend Doug and I were talking about playing multiplayer again, at least the two of us. We settled on Starcraft 2 for Saturday night, and I went out to my local Best Buy with kids in tow to find it. Normally I’d make the purchase online, but I needed the disc ASAP and the price was the same. Also, I normally avoid Best Buy these days, but it was nearby and easily accessible. Best Buy’s PC gaming section, much like every other electronic (or game store) these days consisted of a pathetic few shelves, so sadness all around. Thankfully, I did find the game there.
The kids and I ate at a Cheeburger Cheeburger nearby, went home, and installed the game. I tried out maybe the first four campaign games, and quickly remembered how to play. The graphics are many times better and some of the units are changed, but the mechanics are very similar. It was nice, especially on a large screen and on a responsive PC.
Saturday night’s game night went well. The kids and I got back from a BBQ a little late, but I got them to bed, fired up the game, and called my friend Doug. For the next 3+ hours, we played various games and we kept the phones on speaker so we could talk and communicate strategy. I had a lot of fun. It’s not the same as when we all hung out at someone’s house yelling and laughing at each other, but it’s something at least.