At first glance, the itinerary for the most recent TTL LAN event was a carbon copy of the recipe from last year. Same sprawling city. Same explosive venue. Same adrenaline-charged agenda. Including so many familiar elements in one’s party exposes the planner to the risk of failure in living up to pre-conceived expectations. To keep the troops of an invasion force entertained, you have to keep them off-base. You can’t let them predict how the weekend will roll.
Fortunately, we had some surprises up our sleeves…
TTL Cozmo – Grand Champion
TTL Diddy – Co-Champion
As you can see, we were overrun this time. 45 attendees. Esteemed Guests. Gunslingers. And the very, very, very patient women who love them. The gamer is the most important ingredient in any LAN recipe. Even if the formula for the weekend is the same, the events can be as infinitely different as the people who share them. By that account, this LAN grew very quickly beyond our control, becoming its own animal. Our concern was less about keeping spirits high, and more about containing the bad craziness that threatened to have us run out of town.
Same city. Chicago.
This was the fifth Gunslinger throw-down in Gotham [shut up, Pittsburg], but certainly not the first LAN Party. Ever since the Xbox made friendly competition in a tactical roleplay a carry and play application, we have been using it in this town to turn poker night into war games. Only cleaner than both. When Xbox LIVE gifted that flame of multiplayer to every household on the Internets, we moved the social experiment out of the basement to make Cyberspace safe for Sportsmanship. Such has been the Gunslinger’s mission even before they were Gunslingers.
Same venue. Ignite Network.
These guys run a great business. Their gaming lounge is a post-modern playground with enough bandwidth rolling through it to sortie 40 gamers into the grid at once. We clocked it. Their objective as hosts is always the same as ours – to enable gamers to create their own memorable experience together. They are the brick and mortar to our virtual clubhouse. And, they effortlessly eliminate every logistical nightmare that plague historic-hotel-ballroom-worst-case-scenarios.
We had a good mix of personnel on this occasion. Fresh new FNGs, LAN Alumnus, Veteran TriAthletes, Captains, Executive Officers, good showings by several regional cells of Gunslinger Regulars. And then there were these guys…
More than five years after the TTL flag was planted in the plasma-scorched earth of Halo 2, the Overlord High Council convened at a highly disclosed location. The first seven Gunslingers – and the Recruitment Officer that built us an army – showed up to thank the teammates that have carried them through so many evolutions.
A long campaign of party planning has enabled us to learn what inspires gamers to cross lines of state, nation, and continent to join the gathering of teammates and friends. If the weekend is centered around the game alone, the storm will not gather. As is with Xbox LIVE, collisions between Gunslinger Squads and randoms must be enabled. A City and its citizens enter the equation once the tournament trophy is awarded. The party spills out into the streets.
You are invited to relive the After-Party if you would like, constant reader. Photographic futurist and and alpha-geek Stuicide emerged fresh from his gallery opening in Memphis to equip partygoers with wearable media collection devices. What was dubbed the “PONY CAM” [mostly because it was fitted to the skull of one TTL Pony for a memorable portion of the evening] provided mixed – yet serendipitous – results in a darkened Chicago pub.
That is not TTL Pony, but an impromptu gadget model who subjected herself to a dramatic reenactment of the rig. Rather than capture video while on its wild ride atop Pony’s brow, the camera snapped a pic every 5 seconds. Instead of a real-time sampling of the revelry, feast your eyes on a more genuine representation of our own memories from the celebration.
Finally, no agenda to surprise or delight a herd of urban adventure seekers should overwrite traditions like the Steaktacular Feast at Fogo. Good Game by the way, Action. Thanks for putting us through the paces of the Tournament again.
Get some more next year, Gunslingers. We will keep throwing these parties until people stop coming, or until you find LAN Centers in towns were you live.