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March 19.2002 by Dave "Marauder" Kratky

What? Big LAN Party
Where? The Hilton, London Ontario Canada
When? March 15/16/17.2002

We Are Gamers

I first heard about the yearly Smackdown event late in 2000 from Dopper and several other local gamer friends. I've been interested in big LAN parties ever since we did the 2000 and 2(001) FRAGtopia parties. I was very interested in attending Smackdown 2001, but regrettably I'd already agreed to Referee at the Skyball 2000 paintball tournament in Toronto. I was torn, but I needed the money and I'd already said I do it. A deal is a deal damn it. When our local guys got back I was regaled with tales of an amazing LAN.

For those of you who may not know, (Yes, I know the VAST majority of the people who read the FRAGtopia site are gamers or other computer enthusiasts, but let's just fill in those we call the "others" for a minute.) LAN stands for Local Area Network. Basically you use a device called a hub, and link multiple computers together. The machines in the network can them share files, printers and other peripherals. The most noble use a network can be put together for is of course gaming against other people in the same room. Get a pile of people together, a network, some computers and games and you've got yourself one of the coolest events that has ever graced the Big G's Green earth: a LAN party. People play together for fun and status, as well as prize money and goodies if there's tournament play.

This year's Smackdown rolled around, and I had no previous commitments (I made sure of it.) and damn it I was going, and Runez0r was ordered to take time off work and school to attend the event and give me someone to beat up on. (As long as he doesn't trick me into playing UT, Rune is my bitch usually ;) Specially if I can find a nice campin.... er...... Uh..... yes....)

A few days before the event, I got a message from Pappy-R, whom I'd been trying to convince to come to the LAN for a few weeks and.. Guess what? The Old fella's move into his new digs had gone so well that he'd decided to hustle his ass off to London and get his game on with us. Arrangements were made to pick him up at the VIA train station in London on Friday morning.

I was prepared to do web updates and a webcam from the party as well, but it turned out that a few days before the event Rogers@home had decided not to provide an Internet connection, damn them. I have to check with Cableguy and get the exact explanation as to what happened here, but I wasn't too pleased. None the less, it was hardly the fault of the organizers, I had a dialup account in London by chance through work, and this year's standard model Pappy comes well equipped with a laptop and a modem, so it was all good in the end. (More on fun with dialup Internet access a little later in this article.) The biggest problem with the "no Internet" thing was that I ran out of time preping the two server machines I was going to bring along with me, and well... no Internet access means that Marauder is a clueless fellow when it comes to setting up and running servers. (argh!) or finding driver updates etc.

Anyhows, Symplicite picked up Rune Thursday night and he crashed on our couch, watching over the piles of computer equipment, cables and prizes that was clogging up the living room that night. 5:30am came far to early, we all showered, I loaded the van and we were off on the road to London. We arrived at the train station around 9:15 after a 2.5 hour drive, picked up Pappy from VIA and headed to the Hilton to help out with the setup. (The party wasn't actually due to start until 5:00pm, but I wanted to give the organizers a hand if we could.)

Next... Fun with escalators and cables, oh my!