This week marked Maximum PC and PC Gamer's second joint-hosted LAN party, Showdown. I was there, along with 500 of my closest friends, and I had a really great time. So, without further ado, here are my top-ten favorite things about Showdown LAN 2007 - San Jose:
When I first heard we were having the LAN party in a giant tent, I was not impressed. I had bad visions of Barnum & Bailey, elephants, clowns, and carnies dancing through my brain. But, when I walked into the event, I was instantly sold on the tent. With a giant screen on one end, row-after-row of PCs in the LAN, and lots of room for sponsors on either side, it was truly awesome.
Guitar Hero certainly isn't a PC game, and I'm OK with that. Seeing my nerdy brethren pick up a goofy plastic guitar, then absolutely pwn the crushingly difficult GH2 songs on the hardest difficulty settings made me glad we made space for the GH2 tourney. Props to the two guys who took home the gorgeous Epiphone guitars, now you guys just need to learn to play them!
This year, we introduced Showdown Sideshows for the first time. My personal favorite--the Joust. As you climb atop the foamy pedestal, all you want to do is avoid embarassing yourself. Unfortunately, the moment you start whacking your buds with a giant padded stick. Don't miss our own Dave "The Murph" Murphy laying the smack down on PC Gamer's Norm the Intern in the clip above.
I'm not talking about the naked guys running around to get fabulous prizes from OCZ. I'm talking about the power supply toss. Every year, Antec sponsors a power supply toss, where everyone lines up to throw an old power supply by the cord, as far as they possibly can. Unfortunately, many of the participants are not particularly coordinated, and the power supplies end up being tossed straight up in the air, frequently into the crowd. File this one under "things our company's lawyers don't need to know about".
Also in the Showdown Sideshows, we had a mechanical bull. I'll post videos of my bull ride later, but I'll describe it with just two words: painful and fun. PS Never ask for the Texas Rodeo setting, ever.
When it came time for Vederman and my annual deathmatch, the rules were simple, UT2004 Instagib CTF on Joust. As it turns out, Vederman's bark is worse than his bite. Despite a close start, I managed to pull away in the second half of the round and eventually bested him, 10-5.
It's always a highlight of any of our Maximum PC events to get to meet readers. This year, I talked to a ton of folks about the stuff they're into, the games they enjoy, and a whole lot of other stuff. The beautiful thing about a LAN is that it's not unusual to meet someone new, chat with them for a moment or two, and then spend the next hour shooting each other in the face.
I love zombies. I read zombie books, comics, watch zombie movies, and I've even suggested a zombie magazine (not going to happen, so don't even bother asking). Last year, I played the hell out of Dead Rising and Resident Evil 4, but Left 4 Dead looks to be the premiere zombie-killing experience. The premise is simple, you and four friends fight through a horde of zombies to get to safety. Everyone at Showdown had the opportunity to give the game a test drive (myself included) and it's just awesome.
The main man at Valve, Gabe Newell, was kind enough to come down to San Jose and talk to us about the enhancements coming to Steam in the coming months. There are a ton of community improvements coming down the pike, including support for clans and guilds, as well as better integrated voice chat. Lots of cool stuff is coming on that front.
Anyone who's played games with Norm knows that he's an unstoppable killing machine. So, when I finished humiliating the Vede in UT, I assumed that I was going to get a taste of my own medicine in a PC Gamer vs. Maximum PC 2v2 match. The teams? David Murphy and myself vs. Vederman and Norm. After a heated sudden death overtime match, TheMurph and I developed and executed a daring flag capture strategy to enact a commanding 1-0 victory against Team PC Gamer. Victories against Norm are something to be savored for a long time, and you can rest assured that The Murph and I will be savoring our victory--until next year, at least.