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LANcouver 2011 Wrap-up and Afterthoughts

Last week Vancouver played host to one of the city’s largest video gaming events: LANcouver. The event took place over the previous weekend, with three days of non-stop gaming, events, tournaments and opportunities to meet-up/hang-out with a bunch of like-minded gamers to talk a little trash while butting heads on the grand-stage. Along with a plethora of PC games, the event played host to a couple of fighting game tournaments (Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition) as well as card games (Magic the Gathering) and some table-tops (Warhammer). 

A couple of us over at Shogun Gamer were lucky enough to swing by on the Saturday, where things were already in full swing (having started the previous evening). Unfortunately some technical issues, problems with the internet connection at the venue for this year’s show, caused some problems with the tournaments and the schedule… But by the time we arrived to see what was to be seen, the local games and the console gaming was in full-swing. Eventually the technical issues would be resolved (for a time) allowing a couple of the PC gaming tournaments to run their course (League of Legends had been put off, and then wound up having to be called in a draw during the final because of the poor internet connection of the venue). 

Technical issues aside, it was nice to see the return of LANcouver. The last time the city played host to the massive LAN party was back in 2006, which was actually the event’s sixth outing before everything was taken down for the next five years. Unfortunate, but considering the amount of hassle an event like this can put on the event planners, and the amount of money it costs to put on a show, it’s easy to see why things were put on the back-burner all this time. 

Local conventions/shows/events like this that showcase the Vancouver Gaming Community are always a welcome sight, and it’s my personal hope that LANcouver did well enough this year (in the eyes of the event organizers) that they can continue the trend and bring it back again next year. It’s a great idea, and it’s an awesome opportunity to meet up with a bunch of fellow-gamers that you might not normally be able to meet, and with the added bonus of one-off side-events like the wall-sit competition or the keyboard-toss there’s plenty of reason to come down on the daily and game until your heart’s content. 

The problems that the show had this year were not what I would call minor… and it’s unfortunate because honestly I want to promote the hell out of the event to make sure the show just gets bigger and better every single year… But to be able to make those kinds of improvements you need to mention what the show needs to do better with.

The technical issues are first and foremost with something like this, and I get that it’s hard as hell to throw together something like this. You’ll need a whole lot of tech powering a convention dedicated to gaming, even when the PC gaming is BYOC, but it’s something the event organizers need to make sure they get on lock down for upcoming events… a solid internet connection that will be available to all those in attendance at all times during the show is not a luxury items, it’s number one on the ‘must have’ list for the requirements for success.

The other thing the show needs, in my personal opinion, is a bit more personality. We were at the show from dawn till dusk on the Saturday and there were only brief moments of community interjected in to the “hey we’ve provided a space, make your own fun” style of event management. The keyboard toss was awesome. The fact that they had commentators for the live stream was fantastic, and there were large screens for viewing if you wanted to see tournament action… All of which would have helped to make the show a fantastic and entertaining one… if they were properly utilized. Instead the PC’s screen only ever seemed to show someone’s desktop instead of showcasing live matches. The commentators were only heard if you were actually tuned-in to the live-stream (the sound wasn’t being broadcast locally for 98% of the show). The Keyboard Toss was pretty much the best thing we got to see/be part of and it was at the very end of the day when everyone was already winding down/making ready to leave. 

Organization of the tournaments could have been a little cleaner as well. Pretty much all the events started late, and subsequently pushed other scheduled events back further and further. Keeping track of the participants, and then winners, didn't really seem to be going well either... and unfortunately I wasn't able to obtain a enterant list or winner's list to help rep the local boys that showcased their skills ove the weekend. Hopefully those who participated will check out Shogun Gamer's Facebook page, and tag themselves in the galleries there to get a bit of the respect they so rightly deserve!

The show has a whole lot of potential, and hopefully the event organizers not only noticed all these problems… but made note of them so they could make changes when they move forwards. This is definitely an event that Shogun Gamer, and more over myself, would love to continue supporting to see it build up to something the likes of our own home-grown PAX.