Last weekend, Evansville, IN was home to AsylumLAN 30, and not only was our own Senior Editor and Indiana-resident Greg King there, but Matt H, Corey, Rob and his friend Chris made the trip down as well. Being the 30th AL, it was something special, and we’ve recapped the entire event inside.
As we commented on earlier, a few of our prizes were graciously sponsored by Asus and OCZ. Not ones to leave anyone out, they also were kind enough to help support the LAN itself by giving Derek coolers and video cards for the lucky attendees whose names would eventually get called.
This is another area that sits well behind the scenes. Well out of sight of anyone not willing to share the headache of making the calls and sending the emails. Derek works his tail off for each and every event securing enough prizes that almost anyone who shows up is likely to leave with something. A few big sponsors this year were Ideazon, Gigabyte, OCZ, Asus, Seagate, Cooler Master, Tagan, FSP and Antec.
For those who were willing to hang around for the drawings… and who wouldn’t, Derek periodically drew names and awarded prizes to those whose number had been called… so to speak. It was fun to hear the names that people were actually signed up as. From the death themed names to the comical “notadouche”, everyone had a very good chance to take at least something home with them when the LAN ended.
This is another thing that Derek has put a lot of time and effort into as well. There is always a large table full of posters, shirts and stickers all provided by the companies that sponsor the event, as well as a goodie bag for each and every person who signs up. These bags included candy, company stickers and numbered AsylumLAN stickers. It’s these stickers that are clearly the most desired out of the freebies.
While I personally enjoyed the tootsie rolls, it was nice to walk around and see AsylumLAN 10 stickers on peoples PCs. It kind of puts things into perspective. Here we are, walking in on our third LAN and there are people who have only missed a handful of events in the 6 years that the party has been around. That’s a lot of LANs and for each one, the staff and organizers have worked diligently to make sure that there more plenty of attractive prizes to go around.
Speaking of being around for 6 years, no birthday party is worth attending without a little cake and ice cream and if you could get past the god awful jokes about how the cake was a lie (a slightly overused term from Portal, if a 2 week old game can be overused that is) the line for the snacks was more than worth it.
Getting 2 large cakes, each adorned with the AsylumLAN logo, Derek and Kimberly wanted to make sure that the birthday went noticed by anyone and everyone. As it turned out, the cake actually was a lie, at least one of them were, that is. As it was being transported to another table, it slipped and fell, making a God awful mess but entertaining all that saw it regardless.
As the 30th AsylumLAN wrapped up, Derek make the depressing that AsylumLAN 30 was going to be the last LAN held at the fairgrounds. At least in the current building that is. Jokes aside, he explained that in order for the event to continue to grow, it needed to secure a larger venue and he was able to do that. Just up the hill at the fairgrounds, there is a much larger exhibition hall that will suit AsylumLAN perfectly fine in future events.
As we packed up our gear, we took a few moments to say goodbye to everyone that we had met over the weekend. Sitting directly behind us was the UT 2K4 clan, the Gummie Bears. More than once, we looked over their shoulders and watched them dominate pretty much anyone brave enough to step into the same arena as them and when it was time to go, I determined that if possible, I would like to sit around them again. Of course, we took the time to announce the winner of our overclocking contest and while he wasn’t present for the announcement, David Truby took top honors with his Cinebench 10 score of 16906 with a 4.4GHz overclock.
While we were announcing the winner of the OCing contest, staff members were walking around voting for the best case mods and ghetto mods. Taking top honors this year in the case mod competition was the Nintendo mod. Featuring a 1GHz+ Celeron and a DVI out NVIDIA 5200, the mod was a sight to behold and one that everyone enjoyed. For the ghetto mod, a planting pot won. Hidden under a plant, this mod was difficult to distinguish between any other potted plants… minus the cables running out of the bottom of the pot of course.
At the end of the day, we came away from the LAN much the same way we have come away from others. We were truly better people. The AsylumLANs aren’t about winning and losing, it’s about coming together once every three months and forgetting about everything and losing yourself in gaming. Sure, things get quite competitive at times but I would be willing to bet that almost everyone there cares little about taking home a trophy, but rather, playing games with hundreds of their new found friends.
As AsylumLAN ages, and with it continued prosperity, we hope to remain in the background, quietly supporting the event by writing about the games and the fun in the hopes that it will bring at least a few more attendees to the next event.
Speaking of next events, anyone interested can show up this coming February, the 16th through the 17th to be exact, and join Derek, Kimberly and the rest of the AL staff for what we all hope will be the latest in a long line of great LAN parties. Until then, keep gaming. You never know when you might have to prove your worth at a LAN.