It’s not a question you hear a great deal of these days, but it was one someone put to me in the office just the other day.
The question was in context around an upcoming office party – Christmas in July – and someone had the rather good idea of holding a little LAN inside the office. Obviously, that meant we’d need some games to play. And having a background in LAN parties and so forth, I became an obvious port of call.
I still remember when it was an accepted argument that gaming was an antisocial activity. "Go outside nerds," was the common style of refrain you'd hear on a school playground. It's the kind of argument that still gets trotted out today from people who have little to no experience of gaming, and little to no appreciation for those who actually play games.Read more
Getting games for an office LAN party is a little more difficult, mind you. Firstly – every game has to be free. The office internet is fine for downloading, but it’s already a large enough getting Steam accounts going for people who might not have opened Steam before. Adding paid games into the mix after that is just going to make life extra difficult, so it all has to be free-to-play.
After that, you then need something that’s good for a shared environment.
I had a think about what might work under these … more restrictive conditions, shall we say. Here’s what I came up with:
- Alien Swarm – It’s free, it’s co-op, and it’s a damn good time if you haven’t played it before.
- DOOM – Unlike Quake, you don’t have to mess around too much with getting a separate download of the shareware files and dropping that into the mod folder. Also works for the super old gamer crowd.
- Team Fortress 2 – Also largely because it’s free, although I don’t know how well it’d go down in an office environment.
- Planetside 2 – When you’ve got an office connection that is ridiculously fast, games like this become possible. I don’t know how well everyone communicating would go, or whether it would actually work on a bunch of office laptops, but it’d be funny to try.
- Soldat – will run on a potato, and still one of the best freeware games of all time.
It’s actually super difficult when you have the stipulation that you can’t use any game that’s been purchased. Otherwise, I’d be throwing a bunch of classics in there: Flatout 2, UT99 with some Instagib, Quake 1 would be great, oldschool matches of Age of Empires 1 or 2, custom maps with Warcraft 3. Quake is always great (and while I do have a fondness for Quake 2, although Quake Live mechanics might be a bit beyond people who have little familiarity with FPS).
But you can’t really do that stuff on work computers. On the bright side, at least there’s also board games and a couple of Switches with the Jackbox packs to keep people amused.
Anyway, say you’re setting up a LAN. What games do you pick?