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LAN War gamers play for 24 hours during 33rd semiannual event


Participants at LAN War 33 wait for the results of a raffle. The organization raffled off $15,000 in gaming equipment. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

By midnight, all Chauncey O’Riskey, a junior at the University of Southern Indiana, had eaten was five slices of pizza, eight mozzarella sticks, a couple of bags of chips and some 5-Hour Energy drinks. 

He was just one of around 230 gamers who had been playing a variety of video gamesfor the last 12 hours.

From noon Saturday to noon Sunday, around 230 gamers participated in the 33rd semiannual LAN War. Participants spent those 24 hours in the Briscoe Student Activity Room, where they played video games with one another, competed in tournaments and were entered to win giveaways of $15,000 in prizes.

“It's cool to kind of poke your head up over your screen and not just see like one or two people but seeing an ocean of other people doing stuff,” said Nick Horowitz, senior and vice president of Gaming @ IU.

LAN, which stands for local area network, connects computers within a limited area. LAN parties became popular among gamers in the 1990s as a way to play games together in the same physical space. While few still actually use a LAN connection, the name stuck.

Horowitz said LAN War sold out three weeks ago. At the doors of the event, two Gaming @ IU staff members manned the door to make sure no one without a ticket tried to get in.

Registration was $20, which got participants a seat at the event, an event badge, dinner, breakfast and a T-shirt with their custom gamertag on the back.

Saturday morning around 11:30 a.m., players began hauling their PCs into Briscoe. They clutched enormous computer towers and had backpacks filled with supplies to last them the night, from snacks to pillows. Some even brought their own desk chairs.

By noon, many were already set up and playing a wide range of games. Gamers played League of Legends, Player Unknown Battlegrounds, Overwatch, Cuphead and many others.

Ivy Hanson, a junior at Indiana State University, said this is her third LAN War. She said she comes because she loves the gamer community.

“It’s an excuse to sit for 24 hours and play video games without being judged,” Hanson said.

Hanson said she planned to play Overwatch, Rainbow Six and do some homework. Hanson brought a bag of Cheetos Puffs and pajama pants as supplies to last her through the night.

While the majority of participants were undergraduate students, Horowitz said that alumni are the largest non-IU student group that participates consistently. Adam Sweeny, staff advisor for Gaming @ IU, has been coming to LAN War since LAN War 1.

Sweeny said Gaming @ IU was started in 1999 and the first LAN War took place in 2000. He said they originally wanted to play games in computer labs on campus, but needed to become an organization to reserve them.

“Our first event was in the Union,” Sweeny said. “Less than 30 people just got together in a room and played games for a bunch of hours."

Back then, Sweeny said they were playing Counter Strike, StarCraft, Call of Duty and Age of Empires.

Sweeny also brought his three children Jack, Jenn and Allison Sweeny.

"People that started a long time ago, not only are some of them still coming but some of them have brought the next generation with them which is really cool to see,” Adam Sweeney said.

At midnight, the Player Unknown Battlegrounds tournament began. In the game, 100 people are airdropped onto an island filled with cities, weapons and vehicles. The game pushes the players together over time by restricting parts of the map. 77 players were dropped onto the island around midnight, and only one emerged the victor.

There was a noticeable uptick in energy as junior Drake White, treasurer of Gaming @ IU began the countdown for the game to begin.

“Oh god, I’m so excited!” one player yelled from the sea of monitors. 

Almost every visible screen was set to the game. As the tournament got underway, Sweeny, going by his gamer tag, IU Maddog, got one of the first kills. But just minutes later, his entire team was eliminated.

The winner of the tournament was Brady Richardson, an alumnus of ISU. He estimated that he’s put around 500 hours into the game and he’s won around 70 times. Richardson said that there’s a more excitable atmosphere when everyone is playing in the same room.

“My adrenaline was five times what it usually is when I play at home,” Richardson said.

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