For those who are unable to attend some of the biggest events on this year’s gaming calendar – such as E3, Gamescom or one of the series of PAX expos – there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved with the social and competitive side of gaming. While the vast majority of milestone press conferences and important events will be live streamed on social media and sites such as Twitch, why not go one step further and host your own video game tournament within the comfort of your home?
LAN parties have long been a fixture of the PC gaming community and proved especially popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when high-speed internet connections weren’t as prevalent as they are today. Typically focusing on multiplayer shooters with local network multiplayer capabilities, LAN parties were a good way for friends to bond – and get competitive – over their favorite titles.
However, the inconvenience of having to lug expensive equipment over to a friend’s house, and then set up each computer on the network, ultimately led to the pastime being a rather irregular and niche occurrence. The aforementioned rise of broadband connections meant that the LAN party largely gave way to online multiplayer titles; which, while providing the convenience of users being able to play with their friends in the comfort of their own home, ultimately removed a sociable aspect of video gaming.
In recent years, attempts have been made to make gaming a more sociable activity again: party titles such as The Jackbox Party Pack and the Mario Party series have lent themselves perfectly to encouraging players to invite their friends over for food, drink and sociability, set against the backdrop of some light-hearted gaming. Of course, they are those who would like to take the competitiveness even further: so bear these tips in mind when setting up your own home gaming tournament.
Creating a Comfortable Environment
Having decided on your participants, one of your primary focuses should be on ensuring you create a comfortable and social environment. Make sure your living or games room has enough space to actually host the number of players you’ve invited, and make sure everyone has a comfortable seat – especially if you’re going to be in it for the long haul.
For the more competitive players out there, there are ways and means of manipulating your environment to your advantage – especially as the host. For example, you may wish to adopt the strategy 888poker suggests its home poker players adhere to, which is to play music with lyrics and at a volume that may distract your opponents from the gaming action. 888poker also tells keen players to use citrus scent as it has been proven to make people very generous!
Regardless of how competitive or social your tournament proves to be, it’s important to remember to eat and drink regularly throughout the duration. Perhaps encourage your friends each to bring a bottle and light snacks; you may even want to take a break from the action to order pizza.
Decide on the Games & Brackets in Advance
Although by its nature, a home video game tournament should be a relatively light-hearted affair, it’s important that your organization is still up to scratch. Deciding on the game, or games, to be played in advance with your friends is hugely important, as is making sure you have enough copies available for each title (if they’re not couch multiplayer). Moreover, make sure you have enough controllers – and that they’re adequately charged!
To avoid any arguments, mutually decide on the criteria and rules for each match, which will need to be kept consistent throughout the competition. If you’re playing FIFA, for example, you may decide that each half should be six minutes: ensure that every game is the same duration, especially if goal difference may come into play.
Similarly, you should make sure that your preliminary brackets are created and agreed upon in advance. In the interests of fairness and to avoid suggestions of bias, you may want to take advantage of a free bracket creator, such as those provided by Challonge, to lay out your match-ups.
Of course, there are many other factors that you consider when hosting your own gaming tournament. All of these pale in comparison to the ultimate goal, though: and that’s to have fun!