A LAN party (or simply LAN ) is an association of private computers through local area network ( local area network are connected LAN). The participants compete in computer games . At an organized event on the Internet or via radio links, e.g. B. from universities, however, one speaks of a WAN party ( Wide Area Network , WAN).
The first type of LAN party came about in 1987 with the computer game MIDI Maze for the Atari ST . However, this was not played via a typical network bus system such as Thin Ethernet or Fast Ethernet , but rather via the MIDI interface due to the lack of alternatives . Since the Atari ST was comparatively little widespread, there were only a few of these meetings.
The first successful and somewhat more widespread precursor form of today's LAN parties in Europe occurred in the early 1990s with car racing games, in particular with the Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge , in which four players with computers connected via serial interfaces could compete in the same race. Larger groups of players met at so-called tournaments and competed alternately in several races for the best placements.
In the mid-1990s, when it became possible to play a game together with other players over a computer network with many computer games, private, and later increasingly commercial and professionally organized LAN parties increased. Pioneers and the first successful games that used multiplayer technology included Doom , Duke Nukem 3D , Warcraft II and Command & Conquer .
A general focus in the games is clearly on first-person shooters , as these are subject to simple game rules. The classic here is the multiplayer game Counter-Strike , which emerged from Half-Life and which started its triumphal march into one of the most successful shooters as a free beta version at LAN parties. A few real-time strategy games are also played frequently; other genres are usually only found at private LAN parties, and these are also more games that are less of a competitive nature than to pass the time.
Since then, a LAN party scene has developed in many countries around the world, with their own websites, fashions and idols. Countries with a pronounced LAN party scene include Germany, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea and the USA. As LAN parties grew in popularity, so did their proportions. In the beginning there were small LAN parties among friends, now there are more and more large events that are led by organizers. There was a real boom here in the first half of the 2000s. However, LAN parties have been on the decline since around 2005, as broadband connections to the Internet have become more and more widespread since then and can be played with others just as easily from home. In addition, more and more players are tied to massively multiplayer online games (mostly MMORPGs ).
Since the broadband expansion
Since the mid- 2000s, however , the importance of the LAN party scene has been waning. The field of events is becoming increasingly thin, with small parties with an existing community as well as a few large events and parties that have been established for years and with a high proportion of regular guests being retained. The general attraction at a LAN party is u. a. due to the large-scale availability of broadband internet access with flat rate in Germany. Another factor to be taken into account is the ever-increasing proportion of non-LAN-compatible games. Many publishers today prefer an Internet mode for their games to make them more secure against illegal copies . The copying of files of all kinds was definitely an aspect at LAN parties, as Fast Ethernet (100 Mbit / s), which was widespread there in the early 2000s, was around 1000 times faster and moreover than the analog or ISDN connections of the time was free.
Public and private LAN parties
Basically, one can differentiate between private and public LAN parties. The private LAN party is usually a meeting between friends in your own or rented rooms with only your own equipment.
The public LAN party is organized by an official organizer, is usually chargeable and takes several days (usually a weekend) with up to several thousand participants. That is why the organizer almost always provides bedrooms, takes care of catering , electricity and the computer network . The organization of such an event becomes more difficult and complex as the number of participants increases. Not only is the need for electricity and special network equipment (such as a fast gigabit backbone ) increasing, the organizers are also increasingly meeting legal regulations such as B. sufficiently wide escape routes or a medical guard . Compliance with the protection of minors can also be problematic at public LAN parties: While underage players can often be found at private LAN parties who play games without a corresponding age rating, the organizers of public LAN parties must ensure compliance with the Youth Protection Act .
In addition to the simple computer games in the network, tournaments in various games are also held. It is played either in a group ( clan ) or individually against each other. This is usually followed by an award ceremony and the end of the LAN party.
The playful competition and meeting friends and like-minded people are the main motivation for attending LAN parties, which is beneficial against the public opinion of the community and the feeling of togetherness.
In Germany, LAN parties have been in public discussion since the rampage in Erfurt at the latest (see also fictional violence ) . The LAN party has fallen into disrepute in the eyes of the public due to partially one-sided media coverage, among other things because precisely first-person shooters are very popular at these events . However, it must be taken into account that LAN parties are relatively peaceful. Nevertheless, many organizers are struggling with declining support from communities or associations, on whose premises they are often dependent. So was z. B. in the state of Bavaria, the holding of LAN parties in school buildings is generally prohibited.
The pursuit of bigger and bigger events played an important role in the early phase of the LAN party scene.
The first time that the 1,000 participant limit was exceeded was the Gamers Gathering in December 1999 with 1,600 participants in Duisburg . The DarkBreed e. In 2000, V. had set the record across Germany with its event "Breaking Normality" to 2,500 participants. This record was only set after four years by innovaLAN Entertainment GmbH with the Northern LAN Convention Winter 2004 (3,150 participants). This record was set by the same organizer with the NorthCon Winter 2005 from 16. – 18. December 2005 further improved with around 3,553 participants.
But in a European comparison, Germany is still far behind. Each with more than 5,000 participants are the two LAN parties The Gathering in Norway and Dreamhack in Sweden probably the biggest events of its kind, which, however, originated in the demo scene not like and most of the e-sports have scene.
According to the Guinness Book of Records , DreamHack Winter 2004 currently holds the sole world record with a total of 5,854 computers in the network. The follow-up event held in-house in the winter of 2006 trumped this with 10,638 participants and 8,531 computers.
In December 2006, Dimension 6 was carried out, which was set up for a new world record with 6,280 seats in the Bremen exhibition halls, but missed the target. According to the official count on the homepage, a total of 3,142 people paid for this LAN.
A year later, the Swedes were able to set their own record with the DreamHack with 10,455 connected computers.
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