Kickin' It Jersey Style
Southern New Jersey has a new reason to shout and gaming is what it's all about!
Two staff-sicles there to help you get your gear inside
It all started in IRC, that's how a lot of stories start out these days, but this one turned out well so don't lose faith. My buddy Trunkneck had been busting my chops about giving a New Jersey LAN a shot so that we'd get to party, him being from those parts himself and all, and being the super guy I am, I said sure. Actually I'm not that nice, I just love a good LAN, but s'all good. Then a strange thing happened as the LANSynergy group he was connected with joined forces for their upcoming bash with two other local LAN groups; Xtreme Players and G.o.D.S. together they created The GXL. This new event slated for late February would be bigger and badder than anything done by the previous teams. But could they handle it?
256 Man LAN
And so, the new 256 man LAN was announced and with the newly united staff made up of the three groups in gear, they set off to get a venue, sponsors and as many hardcore game nuts as would come to Millville, New Jersey. To the spiffy (still kinda) new Millville Rescue Squad to be exact. An outstanding facility that was just begging for a LAN party, the use of the pristine facility was a boon to the organizers for more than its solid features, it created a real connection to the community as pointed out in the local paper, The Daily Journal. Venue done, now they needed some color, some flash and some booty!
Enter, the sponsors. Those willing to supply, provide or help out. A surprising list began to generate that included hardware and gear sponsors like D-Link and ATI but eventually grew into a list I'm still not quite sure I have all of. Pepsi kicked in as did Red Bull, Ike's Famous Crab Cakes were cooking grub on site and you could see Alienware rigs if that was what you'd rather chew on. The Adrenaline Café was to be handing out passes like they were going out of style and they did, but that was after the LAN, where we'd be playing on servers supplied by XGameServers. See what I mean about support? They also had some sickos from PlanetQuake drop by for a minute or twelve, but that wasn't even the end of it. Razer gave mice, Xoxide had some serious case modding stuff going on (more later on this one!) and last but not least was RWS, Running with Scissors representative Mike Jaret would be onhand showing off some Postal 2 goodness (Is that PC?). Hell I bet I even missed some of the sponsors, but they'll most likely get mentioned in a bit so don't light those torches just yet.
Now that the flash was in the pan and the pan itself was there, all they needed was the meat. The players. Registration went well, even better than planned as more spots were opened to make the 256 man/woman/whatever LAN into a 284 player fest of frags. So are we all caught up with the little history lesson on the event itself? There won't be a quiz, but you may wonder who did what to who when if you didn't pay attention to the previous, seemingly random blatherings. So off we go to the land of...New Jersey with my handy LAN helper and all around frag-happy driver, skeezix.
Friday Feb 27th
Skeezix had driven down Thursday night so we could be "wheels up" at 6 AM, but that got a tad messed up when I managed to sleep until 6, something I haven't been able to do before or since. So we left late, hit the border to cross from Ontario into New York and stopped to register our equipment with Customs. Do the right thing, play by the rules, and maybe Mister Customs guy will let ya bring it back into the country later. That's my motto anyways. Two stops for food and nine hours later, bang, we're in Millville, NJ as sweet as you please. It seemed longer in the car, but you don't have to hear about Philadelphia at rush hour on a Friday just 'cause we had to live it. I've seen worse in Toronto, so no biggie.
Upon arrival at the event we noticed a line of cars, a new approach to LAN registraion for me and far better than standing in a line waiting to move your gear a foot at a time. They even had a local hardware store donate shopping carts for getting your stuff from your car to your seat, as well as plenty of parking after you unloaded. All in all the registration went smoothly and I was pleasantly surprised. Did I mention I've been to a lot of LANs and there's some key points to making it a keeper? Getting people in and up is big on the list.
Since I had to work from the event, having Web access was crucial, but we also brought a couple game rigs for the LAN action, and Hellion got us up and running in record time. I noticed a lot of action on servers just two hours after the doors opened so others were getting hooked up swiftly as well. GG! Then it was time to hook up with people, like the guy who got me there, the Event Promoter and MC Trunkneck took me around, gave me the lay of the land and a heads up on what was coming up when. Saturday was gonna be a busy little day with tournaments, funky stuff and getting some frag on.
We went back to the room a few hours later and would meet Trunkneck there with a couple friends, Gordon and Christine Johnson, who just happened to be clowns (really, they're clowns!) and who were responsible for the "Quake Master" balloon hat you'll see in the following pic pages. So basically on our first day in New Jersey, we were sitting in a motel room at midnight, having a beer with... clowns in street clothes making balloon stuff. There was a kool alien balloon hat too, but we never got pics of it for some reason. So much for day one, could day two top this?
Next: Day Two!