Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mayhem LAN at Johannesburg

My visit to Gauteng wouldn't be complete without a 24-hour session of sweating, swearing and gaming in a great big hall full of people who are very nearly as socially maladjusted as I am. At this month's Mayhem LAN, tempers flared, people overdosed on caffeine and the LAN hall smelled just the way you'd expect a room full of dirty gamer things.

Of course, I'm still forced to admit that this is possibly the best such LAN I've ever been to ever ever. Mayhem has been going for a while already, growing from a handful of enthusiasts to a major gaming event supporting a total of 220 merry networking individuals.

Welcome to gamer heaven. Bring deodorant and Red Bull.

What really makes this LAN special, however, is the personality of those involved. Most major gaming events are lamentable examples of how spoilt, annoying or downright dull enthusiasts can be – little more than a bunch of raging DotA and CS players who have no sense of variety, fair play or common sportsmanship.

Instead of this grim scenario, I was presented with a group of pleasant and interesting individuals who exposed me to a variety of new games and whined a full 90 percent less than usual. We even took out the time to sit outside, have a few drinks and braai between gaming sessions – not the experience that I was expecting, but it was a welcome change.

I dressed appropriately, adorning myself with stamps, stickers and even a neat little F1 key earring that I'd received the day before. Amidst the LAN madness, I struck a few handsome poses to showcase this.

Winning formula: black and white photo, faraway look, awkward posture and six pages of emo poetry.

Eventual go-to-sleep time was about 5am, after returning from Mayhem to discuss cool Invader Zim quotes and laugh about Ninja Gaiden.

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