Date: September 25, 2006
Author(s): Greg King
This years Stompfest LAN party happened last weekend in Indianapolis and Techgage was there to capture all of the action. Lots of energy drinks were consumed, and many prizes given out. Read on for a full play by play and pictorial.
8 am on a Saturday is early no matter how you look at it. There are times however, that you are somehow compelled to drag your lazy ass out of bed and get moving. It just so happens that it is 7:30 am on Saturday, September the 16th and today is the opening day of Stompfest at the Knights of Columbus on the north side of Indy. It’s 7:30 am and I have to drive to the north-east side of Indianapolis. I have a full tank of gas, 2 full Monster energy drinks, it’s early and I’m wearing sunglasses. Hit it.
If you are a gamer and live in the Midwest, more than likely you have heard of Stompfest. The event is popular enough and has enough draw that sites such as Tom’s Hardware in the past to cover it and this year’s event looks to be just as successful. Just as other’s have covered the event in the past, I will be on hand for Techgage to cover yet another potentially awesome Stompfest.
With any LAN event, you need people. Registration was open for 200 people and almost that many people had registered by the time the doors opened. When you arrive, you are greeted by the registration workers who issue you a name tag with your gamer tag on it. For the tournament, I am DarkSynergy. Aside from all the gamers, you need a network that consists of cables, servers, switches and power. All of these have been taken care of in advance so the attendees can pretty much set up, plug in and play.
Starting at 8 am on Saturday and lasting until mid-afternoon the next day, people are going to need to eat and drink. Stompfest takes care of these needs well. Brad (Brizad) Smith, the organizer of this year’s Stompfest has taken care of all the essentials. Attendees will have a full service concession stand at their disposal that would put a high school football game to shame. There is pizza, nachos, hot dogs, chips, fruit, soft drinks and of course Monster and Bawls. With everything priced the way it was, it’s obvious that the organizers of Stompfest are not out to make money on this event, they just want everyone to be able to enjoy it to its fullest.
A LAN party isn’t truly a party with out prizes and swag and the prize table did not disappoint. The list of companies that supported Stompfest this year included, Antec, Cooler Master, Ageia, OCZ, fUnc, Activision, ATI, ECS, ThermalTake, Danger Den, and of course Bawls. The table was full and the attendees were excited. Over the course of Stompfest contests were held, numbers were drawn and prizes were tossed to the crowd. There was a good chance that you wouldn’t go home empty handed.
Swag is always an important part of any LAN party as it gives people who might not normally come to an event such as this a reason to show up. There are always your core gamers that will show up regardless to do nothing else but game. While they deserve swag too, all the extras give extra incentive for those to come out and join in the fun. We at Techgage were lucky enough to score some swag of our own to hand out.
The companies we were representing are well known for supporting the gamer and their donations were greatly appreciated. Ageia was kind enough to allow us to hand out one of their new PhysX cards from BFG and fUnc threw us some of their incredible mouse pads to hand out over the course of the party (if you have never used a fUnc, they are the best mouse pads I have ever used. Ever.) OCZ sent us a Tempest cooler, a 700W Gamestream PSU, some temporary tattoos, t-shirts and some killer OCZ camouflaged dog tags. All in all, things were going well in the swag department.
To kick the event off, Nuno played his rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s star spangled banner that he played at Woodstock. This was an amazing way to kick off Stompfest and certainly put me in the mood to headshot some fools. After the national anthem was over people started to settle into their seats and start pick up matches with each other, waiting for the tourneys to begin.
Over the course of the evening, there were many tourneys. First one up was Half Life 2: Deathmatch. This tourney was divided into 4 different servers with the top 3 from each combining into the final deathmatch. Having not played HL2: Deathmatch in a long time, I was surprised when I made it into the final round and finished 5th over all. Who says that it doesn’t pay to be lucky? Winner was Tsutter with Stoph coming in second.
Next up was the long awaited BF2 tourney. Not being a huge fan of the game, mainly because I suck, I was initially reluctant to play in the tourney but after being coaxed by some new found friends, I decided to play along. The winning team of the BF2 tourney went home with the ATI x1600 video cards. They certainly aren’t x1950 master cards but they are really nice when free. Honors went to 20ID for their pure pwnage of the competition.
Then came the Call of Duty 2 deathmatch tourney. They prize for this tourney was quite possibly the coolest of the night, a copy of CoD 2 signed by the entire development team. Tell me that isn’t awesome. Honors for this prize went to Lazy_Ace. Doesn’t he look happy’
By the end of the night, everyone was restless for the Counter Strike Source tournament to begin. This being my favorite PC first person shooter, I was eager to join. To prepare for this tourney, I did what I always do, I drank. Nothing like rum to put one in the CS:S zone. Once I had my team assembled, it wasn’t long before I was back outside drinking more with my new friends. We really didn’t last very long at all but it was fun while it lasted. Team HYG, the 5 person team CS:S tournament winners, took home an ECS KA3 MVP CrossFire ready motherboard. Team AnS came in second.
By the end of this, I was dead on my feet and it was nearing 3 in the morning. Having been there for the better part of 19 hours, I decided to call it quits. After finding a designated driver, I headed for home and the comfort of my own bed. On day two, it started a bit later for me. I knew going into it that the last real tournament of Stompfest was the Rise of Nations tourney and the prize was none other than the BFG PhysX card that Ageia was kind enough to send our way. I also knew that the tourney didn’t start until 9 or 10 so I had plenty of time to ‘sleep in.’
When I say sleep in, I mean that I actually got more than 5 hours of sleep and that was all right in my book. By the time I get there, there was a large crowd gathered at the stage. Must be time for more giveaways. When I got up there, I was informed that David Makin, Mr. ATI_Guy himself, with Connect3D was in the house and had an x1800 master card that he was going to hand out. Being Dave, he pulled out what could be considered the nastiest shit I have ever caught wind of’.Vegemite. Vegemite is actually a food but has the consistency of ball bearing grease.
In order to win this master card, three people would have to dip an ATI beaded necklace into the swill that is Vegemite, scoop it out, shove the entire thing into their mouth and pull out the necklace completely clean of the Vegemite. Sounds easy until you actually smell it with your own nose. It smelled like death. Straight up death.
So, there you have a step by step account of them being informed of what they are going to have to do, given the necklaces, popping them in their mouths and then finishing it off. Unfortunately, there could only be one winner and the other two went home with OCZ temporary tattoos for their troubles. Zebabca scored one hell of a card and all he had to do was eat a small piece of death. Ahh, gamers and their hardware. It’s a beautiful thing.
Once Zebaca had his case open and the card installed, he found out that his PSU did not have a second PCI-E power cord; he began asking around for a converter. No one had one. Having heard this, David (ATI_Guy), Chris (SoftGod) and myself had a little meeting of the minds and decided to give him the OCZ GameStream power supply since he did just eat the back end of an animal. Needless to say, he was tickled, and rightfully so too!
Once the new PSU was in and the dongle installed correctly, I thought he was going to cry when his PC booted up and it told him that CrossFire was enabled. He was certainly a happy camper.
Shortly after the contest had ended, the Rise of Nations tourney started. It was sad to only see 5 people join in but that way, they all had a better chance of winning the Ageia PhysX card. At the end of the day, Austin took home the PhysX card.
Stompfest started to wrap up halfway through the second day. This was the time that I took to walk around and talk to people. I spoke to many different folks about their computers, their lives and their interests. The one thing that I noticed, and this came from just about everyone, was that they get the other person. When I am at home, my wife gives me a hard time about working on my PC, writing reviews and playing games. I then have to explain to her that this is what I do because this is who I am and this is what I enjoy. You don’t have to explain anything to anybody here.
You could show up with a 750MHz Duron HP machine and play along someone with a 30′ Dell monitor (yes, there was one at Stompfest) and you can get along great. Yeah there was a lot of yelling but that comes with the territory. I will admit that I wanted to kick some people in the necks after a while but that was mostly because I was getting pwned in CS:S and not because they were loud. There is a camaraderie that you build at these events when you are sharing your passion of PCs with so many other people. We are all nerds, geeks and dorks for most of our lives but at Stompfest, we are all gamers, peers and ultimately friends. That to me is the beauty of LAN parties. Everyone there is there for the same reason: to game and carry around their bawls all weekend for all to see.
Stompfest was a orchestra of gaming and it went on relatively smooth for most of the weekend. There were the problems with the internet but no one was there to check their fantasy football team, we were there to play games with pings lower than the youngest person at Stompfest is old. In so many words, it was beautiful.
I want to thank Brizad, SoftGod, Oni, Nuno, Rebo and the rest of the Stompfest staff for making the weekend as fun as it was. No one got in trouble, no one got out of hand. There were no reports of anything being stolen and no one got hurt. Everyone played in harmony and that’s a testament to the show that they all were running.
I leave you now with various pics from Stompfest. Browse through them at your leisure.
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