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This LAN is my LAN, this LAN …

Youths gather to play computer games at a LAN party put on recently at Cal Expo in Sacramento by LANtrocity, a Roseville-based business.
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In the computer world, “LAN” stands for local area network.

That terminology doesn’t exactly conjure up images of fun and excitement.



But how about LANtrocity? Or DeathLAN, AdrenaLANrush, LAN-o-Rama, Boot Camp LAN, DreamLAN, LANageddon?




Those are some names for LAN parties, get-togethers where kids pack up their computers, meet at a friend’s house, hook their machines to a local area network, and play computer games all night long.

In a LAN hook-up, participants can play combat games such as “Doom” or “Deathmatch” and kill each other’s computer characters in life-like “real time.”

LAN parties have taken hold in Nevada County, say area computer gaming fans.

“The biggest party I’ve been to is about 20 (people),” said Andy Lee, a Grass Valley 16-year-old who participates in all-night LAN parties at friends’ houses.

“We get together and we … play games, share music and videos and stuff,” said Lee. “We all bring $10 and pitch in for food and drinks and stuff.”

LAN partiers also learn about computers.

“Oh yeah, you learn a lot about them,” Lee said. “It’s a really good way to learn about how to use a computer.”

The ability to get an instant response is one of the major attractions for LAN gamers.

“When you play games on a LAN, you’re usually only a few feet from the server. When you and your friends shoot a really big gun, it fires instantly, preferably while it’s still pointed at the stunned face of someone who deserves it. It’s intense!” says an introduction to LAN parties on the Web site LanParty.com

“Whereas when you play games over the Internet using a modem, you will often have time to catch a rerun of ‘Seinfeld’ between the time it eventually makes it way to the intended target, who by this time has had kids and moved to Jersey,” the Web site says.

LAN parties aren’t only held at houses. They’re taking off as a business proposition too.

LANtrocity is a Roseville-based business that’s hosted more than 30 LAN parties, including some at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

The next one is scheduled from 10 a.m. to midnight on Feb. 16 at the Roseville Fairgrounds, and Kevin Roe, one of the business’ founders, expects the event will quickly sell out at $20 a ticket prior to the event, $25 at the door.

“We’ll sell out without even trying,” Roe said.

He said LANtrocity’s first LAN party only attracted one person, but now the company has developed its own LAN party software program, called Alchemist, formed a corporation and attracted venture capitalists. LANtrocity is also helping plan a “5,000-man LAN” to be held simultaneously in Los Angeles and on the East Coast, Roe said.

“It’ll be the largest in history,” he said.

u On the Net

Find out about Sacramento-area LAN parties at Lantrocity.com

Learn to host your own LAN party at http://www.LANParty.com/theguide/


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