What Games Would You Take To A LAN?

What Games Would You Take To A LAN?
Image: Kotaku

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 Love LANs, I Hate LANs, I Love LANs

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?


  • Discussing this yesterday actually – apparently I’m a heretic for not knowing about AvP2, so that’s on the cards.
    Nidhogg Tourneys
    CS 1.6
    Warcraft 3 (?) Tower Defense

  • I feel like it is important to have somethint for all skill levels to play.

    R6 Siege
    Mechwarrior 2 Netmech
    What the box

  • The free to play aspect makes it a really hard choice
    So many of them have grind limits and early game isn’t a huge amount of fun and don’t have time to work up to using the cool weapons and skills

    Just noticed that awesomenauts is free to play now so that could be a good option, depending on the experience level of your team.
    Maybe consider games that you can by multipacks for and just get a few of them and share the keys out. Thinking group brawl type games where luck can be just as important as skill, or at least you can get lucky often enough that it feels good for non gamers

    And of course there is always keep talking and nobody explodes

  • For my group of LAN buddies it was always Half Life mods if we wanted FPS action. Many an hour spent playing Vampire Slayer against each other in the middle of the night.
    Warcraft 3 Frozen Thrones various maps (card battle always got a run) and DOTA.
    And Diablo 2 with mods to increase the difficulty

  • For my last two birthdays I’ve thrown a LAN party in my tiny flat.

    The first year we had go OG LAN with no internet access as I was in NBN to ADSL switchover limbo, so we played:
    Warcraft 3
    Jedi Knight Academy
    Brutal Doom

    This year we had internet connectivity and so:
    Multi-Theft Auto
    Unreal Tournament 2004 (Assault and Horde mode)
    Jazz Jack Rabbit 2
    Duck Game

    To fit the caveat of free maybe Unturned, seems with the right mix of people it could be a blast.

  • I love RTS at LAN parties.
    DoW Dark Crusade is great.
    AoE II HD is also very good.
    Sins of a Solar Empire if you have the time is one the best. Headed to a friends next weekend to play it

  • Doom II – Level 24 was a really fun map to play deathmatch on. Had high and low risk areas!
    Duke Nukem 3D!

  • COD4 (multiplayer), COD5 (zombies), Halo CE portable, Armagetron, Flatout 2, Quake, UT, Borderlands, Red Alert.

  • Quake 2 – exclusively q2dm1 “The Edge” the whole time. (About free, Quake 2 data files and executable could be copied freely, I don’t think a crack was even needed.)

    Quake 3 Arena

    Half-Life 1: Counterstrike Beta 4 or 5 or 6…I forget where the high point was before it went commercial.

    Starsiege Tribes? StarCraft 1.

Log in to comment on this story!