Fall Foliage: The Last Great Halo LAN?
Longtime community fellow, and all-round lucky bastard
checked out what may prove to be the last great halo LAN.
With the advent of Halo on the XBox, so came the XBox LAN party. Usually a small affair, every so often someone rises to the challenge of creating a truly huge Halo LAN, the nature of which will echo in the memories of its participants for years to come. However, Halo 2 looms on the horizon, and the days of the Great Halo LAN are numbered. This is a story of what may be one of the last non-sponsored, non-professional Halo LANs, as told by one lucky participant.
As I mentioned before, the average Halo LAN is 2-10 people. A good Halo LAN is 16 players. How could it get any better than that, right? Claude Errera, the man behind bungie.org, has found a way. Once or twice a year, he opens the doors to his beautiful house in Connecticut. Halo fans come from all over the country (including myself, from Washington) to meet up for the carnage. Claude's most recent LAN had roughly 30 people, and that's because he set a limit as to how many people could come- the LANs were getting simply too huge to manage well.
To get to the LAN, appropriately titled "Fall Foliage: Crisp Death," I flew into New York, and was picked up by Miguel Chavez, Bungie's official number 1 fan. We met up with Subnova.com's "Hippieman" and "Have Blue." After a brief visit to Miguel's house (in order to grab his brand new projector), we drove down to Connecticut. We arrived at the least convenient hour we could manage (somewhere around 3 in the morning, as memory serves), and probably fell asleep minutes after our arrival.
"After the third triple killtacular you've developed an appreciation for the insanity of the gametype."
The next morning began with more folks showing up. As people either woke up or arrived, setup began. Let's talk a little bit about setup. Casa D'Errera is 3 stories up, the bottom two of which are used for the LAN. The bottom floor consists of the garage, Claude's office, and a couple of other rooms. In the garage, a projector and two televisions were set up. Claude's office already had an XBox, and in the room that connected the garage and office to the stairs, two more projectors were set up. Upstairs in the living room area were two more televisions. All together, more than enough setup for everyone that showed.
Once set up, the next thing to do was play. And play they did. For the rest of the day, everyone played Halo. Gametypes ranged from the convention CTF on Blood Gulch, to HBO's bizarre specialty gametypes, such as Beaver Creek CTF with shotguns and no shields; which may sound banal at first, but after the third triple killtacular you've developed an appreciation for the insanity of the gametype. Other HBO gametypes include heavy weapons CTF in Hang Em High and Needler Crazy King in Wizard.
One of the coolest parts about the HBO gatherings is the opportunity to put faces to the internet names you've come to know and respect over the time you've spent on the forums. I got to meet a bunch of people I had never met before, as well as some familiar faces. It's a lot of fun to find out who acts differently from their online persona and who is exactly the same (apparently, I'm exactly the same. Go figure).
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, but there were people that were quite interested in meeting me. There were lots of questions; about the game, about what I do for Bungie, as well as lots of congratulations for my job. Don't worry, folks, Not a single person there got a peep out of me about Halo 2. Well, I may have bragged about killing Frankie once or twice, but depending on the game type that's a lot like bragging about putting on a t-shirt or being able to spell your own name.
"Was Fall Foliage the last great Halo LAN?"
Since I had to represent Bungie, I thought it fitting to bring a bunch of swag for people to fight over. And so I did- A couple t-shirts, some of those Halo 2 mini-Chief figures that were handed out at E3 2004, a veritable boatload of stickers, the original designs for Mister Chief, and the highly coveted XBox whiskey flask. Tournaments were played, and winners chosen. I must point out that Jynx played the best damn game I had ever seen for that whiskey flask. Good on ya!
After the bloody tournament and its complicated (too complicated, in fact, to try to dictate in any written form), we went back to our regularly scheduled slaying. We played long into the night, but my time was limited, so I had to leave in the middle of the evening. I would like to give huge props to Miguel Chavez for being so awesome that, not only did he drive me to and from Claude's house, he gave me a tour of downtown Manhattan. I'd also like to thank Claude for the awesome LAN, and the HBO Junkies for helping make Claude's LANs awesome. Lastly, I'd like to thank readers like you. Was Fall Foliage the last great Halo LAN? Or even yet, as Halo 2's supreme reign looms over the horizon, the rhythmic pounding of its unstoppable might marching closer and closer, will there still be time to play Halo 1? Perhaps, but only time will tell.