LAN Party

Back in the before times of the 90’s we used to drag our gaming rigs over to friends houses to play multiplayer games… And being as I was a network engineer and had money, equipment, and know-how for the best LAN experience possible – most of the time the parties were at my place.

Imagine your house filled with a half dozen large PC cases and huge heavy CRTs, as many people, and stacks of delivery pizza and 2-liters just to play an ‘online’ game.

It was good times.

The network tech of the time was pretty primitive and didn’t go very fast by modern standards, but anything was better than 56k dialup. My place was all done up with ‘high speed’ 10BASE-T versus the more common 10BASE2 coax of the period, and it wasn’t uncommon to be installing and configuring PCI ethernet cards on weekends to get friends of friends onto the network.

Mid 90’s ethernet was an astounding 10Mbit, and worked off of hubs – like my old Asante I picked up in 1994:

That BNC connector could be used to bridge this into 10BASE2 networks, and the AUI on the bottom could connect to a transceiver for 10BASE5 networks.

But, like technology tends to do, things got faster and around the turn of the century I upgraded to 100Mbit via a 24 port Netgear DS524 that was pretty fancy for a home user:

Bonus Tandberg LTO-4 tape cartridge…

And with this increased speed we all had to go to faster ethernet cards, like the venerable 3COM 3c905:

There was never a better network card than this. Sure, they go faster now – but this was peak LAN.

This was pretty much how things were when we LAN-partied like it was 1999…

Speaking of, here’s one of the games we played:

It’s hard to see in the photo, but the entire box has this rainbow holography sheen to it.

A “gamer bundle” Mechwarrior-3 three-pack from CompUSA… They used to offer bundles like this on games so the whole family could play! Mechwarrior-3 also had some really heavy machine requirements:

A 200Mhz Pentium, 64 Megs of RAM, a Direct3D card capable of 1024x768x16, a 4x CDROM, and 400MB free on your probably 10gig HD… Crazy!

We really lost something when LAN parties stopped being a thing…

Listening to "Summer Break Up" by Dana Jean Phoenix