A new gaming convention is turning fantasy – er, LANtasy – into reality for gamers across Vancouver Island.
This weekend, Pearkes field house will be taken over by LANtasy, a two-day LAN party, in which multiplayer video game competition occurs on “local area network.” More than 200 PC gamers are expected to bring their rigs to the rec. centre and play games against each other throughout Saturday and Sunday.
“Originally, we were a group of friends that got together and decided to throw small events,” said Jeff Pedlow, co-founder of the LANtasy Gaming Society. “We had 40 or 50 people playing Quake 3 – it was blowing people’s minds. Then we went off to university and life happened and we stopped doing that for awhile.”
The event is organized by the LANtasy Gaming Society, a non-profit group made up mostly of IT professionals who love video games. While this is the convention’s inaugural year, the members of the group have been hosting LAN parties since the turn of the millennium.
The event will feature such popular hits such as League of Legends, Team Fortress 2 and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
Pedlow and other members have previously worked with numerous conventions, including organizing the infrastructure, setup and design of the LAN parties at Victoria’s GottaCon, the popular event that ran from 2009 to 2015. But with GottaCon unable to return in 2016, the society formed with the intention of making a LAN-oriented event – hence the name LANtasy – but it expanded to include board games, role-playing games (RPGs) and tabletop minis.
There’s also at least one group that’s taking LAN parties to an entirely different level.
“We have a Commodore 64 group that’s coming up – they’re bringing a bunch of Commodore 64s and somehow wiring them up together so they can play LAN games against each other,” said Pedlow. “We’re excited to see that display.”
“…Gaming is a massive community and it’s very rare you see one person who only plays one thing,” said Justin Martyn, the society’s media relations. “I love my PC but I will throw down in a game of cards, in board games, in RPGs.
“Everybody’s going to find something to have fun. We made sure that we had a board game library that, even if you’re only familiar with Scrabble or Mouse Trap, or you’re all the way up to Twilight Imperium fourth edition, you’re going to find something in that spectrum that you like and you can play.”
LANtasy boasts dozens of games spanning all types of sci-fi and fantasy, including Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game (tabletop mini), The Settlers of Catan (board game) and at least 10 editions of Dungeons & Dragons (role player game). The convention will have about 200 seats for tabletop minis and 150 for board games and RPGs.
The LAN tournament has 200 seats, with teams of all ages and skill levels competing for prizes. There are also knockout brackets, so teams can still compete and have fun even if they’re out of the running for the top spot.
But LANtasy isn’t all about ‘PWNing n00bs’ – it’s about having fun and sharing hobbies with others.
“There’s something to be said about sitting down at a table, playing a round of RPGs and making new friends going through an epic quest,” said Pedlow. “The community embraces everybody, and every convention has their own flavour to bring to it.”
In addition to two days of gaming, the convention will have 16 vendor booths ranging from steampunk accessories to LARP groups (live action roleplaying), as well as a cosplay contest on Saturday night and food trucks from Taco Revolution and Coast Lunchbox.
The society is hoping to get 500 people or more through the doors over the weekend.
“This does not happen without the full support of an army of dedicated volunteers,” said Martyn.
“These people all have day jobs and they’re just doing this in their free time because they love the community and they love gaming,” said Pedlow.
LAN gamers will be required to own a legal copy of their games to compete in tournaments, which will be validated online through the developers’ existing systems.
Attendees under 16 require a parent or legal guardian to accompany them. Children under six get in free. For tickets, event registration, rules and a full list of games, check lantasy.com.