The Devil Plays Protoss: Saving LAN

BY Andrew Miesner / September 6, 2011

The Devil Plays Protoss: Saving LAN

by Jacqueline Geller

Any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of compLexity Gaming or its parent company.

LAN Center.

Before you look at the article title and think to yourself “not another whiny article about the lack of StarCraft2 LAN support,” let me assure you that this article is not about the lack of much needed SC2 LAN support. This article is about supporting a different type of LAN, specifically the LAN center. Gaming centers, as they are more commonly called these days, are necessary for the growth of eSports but are often under supported and required to close. Although gaming centers may seem like a frivolous waste of money, over the last year, I have become a real fan of supporting local gaming centers.

I love the social aspect of being involved with the gaming community. I love playing League of Legends with my friends after dinner. I love following dozens of pro gamers on Twitter. I love attending live competitive gaming events. As much as gaming is stereotypically viewed as a solitary activity, anyone involved with the eSports community will tell you that the community is one of the best aspects of being an involved gamer. Sure, it is entirely possible to be an anti-social gamer, playing Fable 3 alone in your basement, but if you play CoD with your brother or raiding in WoW, you’re a social gamer to some degree. Even the simple act of laddering in SC2 requires other people.

Despite being a gamer for years, I had never paid to play at a gaming center. I didn’t see the point in paying $4-$6 per hour to play video games when I had a perfectly good computer at home. What was the point? It seemed like a money sink, and I like to save my money. I could play WoW with my friends online, or when I did want to play in person, someone usually had a spare computer or a decent laptop. What would be the point in going to a gaming center?

What would be the point in going to a gaming center?

It wasn’t until I got involved with the local SC2 community in January that I started to go to gaming centers. At the time, my city had one, Absolute Power, which was in the far corner of the city. It was small and crowded, but it allowed the community to host meet ups and tournaments with minimal effort. Friends could meet up to game before GSL finals, and gamers could attend tournaments without the hassle of having to drag their PC with them to a gymnasium. More events, such as coaching sessions, were hosted at the gaming center, and our community grew. I simply cannot stress how much having a gaming center was crucial to the development of our local SC2 community.

When Absolute Power closed its doors at the start of June, the community was at a standstill. Tournaments could not be hosted, and meet ups were next to impossible. Who has room for dozens of computers in their living room? Aside from Evil Genuises, of course. Thankfully, a great new gaming center was opening up soon, and local gaming life would be able to return to normal.

OverKlocked Gaming Center. Courtesy of OK

OverKlocked Gaming (OK) opened its doors in Edmonton in July. The location is great: in the middle of the city and a mere 10 minute drive not even from my apartment. Not only is the location itself ideal, the center itself is stunning. The equipment is top notch and plentiful, and the space is roomy. Since it’s opening, it has become a home to my gaming group and other local gamers. The fighting community has moved its weekly fight nights to OK, and the centre is surprisingly busy each weekend I’ve been there. During MLG weekend, we took over the big screen TVs to watch games together on the Friday night. OK’s owner, Tim “Mystery” Cooper, is friendly, helpful and supportive. The staff is great, and everyone feels more than welcome hanging out there on a Saturday night.

As much as I dislike paying to game, especially on my current budget, I have been more than happy to pay for time at OK. I love that it’s become a home for the local community, and having a gaming center is crucial for the growth of a good local competitive gaming community. Thanks to both Absolute Power and OverKlocked, Edmonton has been able to develop a truly epic local SC2 community, and thanks to OK, we will be able to continue to grow and expand.

If you live near a gaming center, grab your friends and get out to support it! Not only do these centers provide a great place for like minded gamer individuals to meet and hang out, they provide places for eSports events to happen. Ever been to a Bring Your Own Computer LAN tournament? They are tons of fun but not convenient whatsoever. It is also difficult to host them more than every handful of months, but it’s simple to host tournaments on a regular basis at gaming centers. Attend a tournament at a gaming center or better yet, talk with a gaming center’s owner about hosting your own tournament. I’m sure the owner would be more than happy to help you out!

Paying to game at a gaming center may seem silly, but having pro-eSports businesses is important if we want the industry to grow. It is especially important to have pro-eSports businesses that are easily able to host and run their own tournaments. Take a look in your local yellow pages and find a nearby gaming center to support. It could be the start of something great.


About the Author – Jacqueline Geller

After years of playing World of Warcraft, a friend introduced Jacqueline to Starcraft early last year. Jacqueline’s relationship with Starcraft started out slowly: a handful of casual dates, a little bit of flirting but nothing serious. She took her relationship with the game to the next level after BlizzCon 2010 where she experienced eSports magic first-hand and realized that Starcraft was the one. Despite being a mediocre player, she has been clambering the ladder at a glacial pace and has spent more time watching Starcraft online than she’d like to admit. In March, Jacqueline made the leap from eSports fan to eSports professional when she was hired by the Handsome Nerd as their Art Director, combining her design skills with her love of Starcraft. Since its start in April, Jacqueline has been a contributing writer for the North American Star League, writing coverage for Division 1. Offline, Jacqueline is a bookworm, a runner, a freeride snowboarder and has a Human Ecology degree with a Clothing and Textiles major.

View Jacqueline’s profile here.
Visit @jacquelinesg on Twitter