I went to the Newegg Lanfest yesterday at the Pasadena Convention Center. It was mainlining PC gaming direct to the brain, and not for the faint of heart. BTW, the acronym 'ftw' stands for the gaming term 'for the win', denoting something that leads to success.
There were three main parts of the Lanfest. First was the trade show of probably 20+ vendors of high level PC hardware. There are some truly impressive monitors out there if you are willing to part with the cash. The high end LCD screens are truly fantastic. The vendors helped contribute to the gooie bag given away to each attendee. Full of swag, and even including a t-shirt, the goodie bag was instantly put to use by the gamers.
Second was the Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) area, where you can bring your gaming rig from home and match it your skills against others in the room. At the Lanfest, there was room for over 400 BYOC computers. When I sat down at 4PM on Saturday, it was hard to find an empty seat.
The third major part was the tournaments. Newegg was giving away over $70,000 in cash and hardware to the winners. The tourneys were run on the hardware provided by Newegg to ensure that everyone had a level playing field when it came to the computers and made sure that skill was the deciding factor.
People are damn serious about these tourneys. Teams compete in most of the tourneys and they had practiced a lot for this. I heard several heated discussions aobut performance by teams that were sitting next to me in the BYOC area.
The tourneys even had their own play-by-play provided by Inside the Game. To a gamer like me, this is just as compelling as any other sport on TV.
Turning to my experience, I had a good time, but the next Lanfest I go to, I'd like to go with friends. I did talk to many people, but it would have been nice to have a few buddies around to eat with and watch my gear when I wandered around.
I arrived at around 4PM and setup my computer. The Lanfest goes all night, so I told Michele I didn't know when I'd be home. I started gaming with Call of Duty, just to see what it was like. It was pretty much like playing on a public server, with uber-chaos in Deathmatch.
After about a half hour, I moved over to Battlefield 2 and had a good time. People were using a little voice communications, but for the most part it felt like a very speedy public server with minimal coordination. The lack of coordination could be frustrating if the other team got a hold of most of the aircraft and rained down destruction.
In the evening, Newegg brought in pizza for everyone and it was all-you-can-eat. Watching hungry gamers wolf down free pizza is not a pretty sight. Also, thoughout the night, Newegg had scantily clad young women doing give aways of free stuff based on your wristband number. They must have given away a hundred different items. I didn't win, :( .
Around 2AM, I realized that I had been gaming for ten hours straight and was having trouble staying alert, as I nodded off while waiting to respawn. I decided to go home. I packed up my stuff, made my way through the three levels of security that made sure I was only taking my stuff.
Overall, a good time, but would have been better with a friends to squad up with. Newegg did a great job in pulling this thing off and it was well worth the entry fee.Posted by michael at July 31, 2005 02:40 PM