On Labor Day Weekend, the TTL Gunslingers [or, almost half of them] and their esteemed guests descended upon the Palmer House Hilton for an event that was billed under the name “ChicagoLANd”. In the relative calm following the storm of hype that surrounded the launch of Halo 3, our gaming community can recant the finer moments from the party we threw to say goodbye to the game that originally brought us together as a clan. Now the story can be told.
For the official clan of Tied the Leader, it was our second mass invasion of the city of Chicago. For the gamers who call the windy city their home, this was the fourth year that the conclusion of summer was heralded with the deafening roar of simulated gunfire.
The recipe has remained the same. A crew of gamers. Stacks of consoles. An arsenal of audio/visual equipment. Yards of infrastructure. A sprinkling of debauchery? The measurement of each ingredient in the stew of mayhem has grown year over year. This year saw almost 50 gamers converge on our national assembly.
24 square feet of projected multiplayer action was home to an organized tournament that had its participants roaring over the noise created by 16 combatants slugging it out in intimate real-time proximity. Awards were issued to the victors in Halo 2, Halo CE, Gears of War, and Project Gotham Racing. A dozen more monitor stations provided host to a menu of freestyle gaming – Geometry Wars, Duck Hunt, Guitar Hero, as well as everything from the aforementioned titles.
Rumor has it that a Wii even made it onto the network for a short-lived exhibition. At this time, such gossip cannot be substantiated with hard evidence. Sony, it can be verified, failed to make an appearance.
Why do this? To celebrate friendship that grows from the most unsuspected of sources. To build the culture that shapes our emerging shared pastime. To elevate the profile of the person that proudly claims the title of “Gamer”. And, in the case of Tied the Leader, to raise another $500 for the wounded combat veterans that benefit from our charitable foundation.
Why not do this? Lugging that much equipment is back breaking work. Orchestrating a symphony that can only be created by dozens of howling war junkies is enough to induce shell-shock that rings in the ear long after the last power strip is unplugged. Troubleshooting electrical blow-outs in a historic hotel before a captive audience of disappointed party-goers is enough to conjur an ulcer. Planning such an affair takes months of scrounging, plotting, and second-guessing.
Of course, when the winning team of a 4v4 tournament jumps to their feet as if they just took the gold medal in front of the watching world, all of those rigors seem well worth the trouble.
This blogger could tell you more about the memories that were created over the course of the storied weekend. Instead, you are invited to relive the event from the perspective of the Gunslinger that won top-prize at the ChicagoLANd. Once every fired shot, lap raced, and strummed chord was tabulated; it was a Gunslinger ‘tagged Pony that took home the trophy.