The World Series of Video Games kicked off in Wuhan, China in May. This month brought the action to the USA, with the first stop in Louisville, Kentucky, at the 6th annual MillionManLan put on by Lanwar, Inc.
Fortunately, TechRepublic was there to catch all the action. From the geeks to the tournaments, we saw it all. View this image gallery for a glimpse into what makes this such a great event.
The World Series of Video Games is a worldwide event that pits the best of the best in the gaming world against one another. At stake are gaming's hottest titles.
This year the competitions include Fight Night: Round 3, World of Warcraft PvP Arena, and Guitar Hero 2. Old favorites like Counterstrike 1.6 and Quake 4, the latest offering in the Quake series, round out the bunch.
This is the ring in which the major bouts in the Fight Night Round 3 tournament were held.
Computers supplied by Intel
Intel supplied dozens of computers for the World of Warcraft, Counterstrike and Quake tournaments.
This provides a controlled environment for the tournaments to take place, preventing cheating and leveling the playing field.
More computers by Intel
I said dozens didn't I? As you can see, there was plenty of competition for a piece of the tournament action.
The tournament area was pretty heavily guarded and I was chased off shortly after taking this picture.
Because Quake 4 was one of the featured events, it comes as little surprise to see it showcased on a very cool kiosk right in the middle of the event area.
Just like last year, several computers were set up for spectators to stop and play a few minutes of video games.
Quake is pretty ... in a manly way, of course.
The graphical performance on these laptops was very nice. I had to stop to watch this guy play for a few minutes.
Just after this picture was taken, he was obliterated by a competitor. He blamed my flash. (I didn't use one!)
More fun to be had
There was no shortage of fun activities in the World Series of Video Games event area.
These life-size Formula One simulators provided spectators with a realistic feel for open-wheel racing, without the terrifying crashes, of course.
Guitar Hero 2 stage
I've never played Guitar Hero but it looks like a lot of fun. This guy didn't look like he was having much fun as he stumbled through his set.
As if this game wasn't hard enough when playing in your living room, over 30 people were sitting and standing around, watching him. Talk about pressure!
Before there was the World Series of Video Games, there was MillionManLan (MML). MML is a mega BYOC (Bring your own computer) LAN party with consistent attendance of over 1000 gamers.
Last year, the WSVG teamed up with MML to create this awesome event, and they came back to do it again this year.
MML brings together gamers from all over country, and a few from outside the U.S, for a frag-filled weekend of mayhem. This year was no exception. Check out these cool and somewhat strange computers.
This box had a very sweet paint job in honor of the rock band Gorillaz.
There were hundreds of cool paint jobs on computers at this event, most of which were painted by resident airbrush artist Jeral Tidwell.
"This isn't a mod, it's a custom build," the owner of this creepy computer told me. Apparently there is a difference.
The actual computer is in the wooden base. The rest of it is obviously for show.
A closer look
Without my flash, you can see the lighting that is built into the computer. You can also see the guts of this fleshy beast through the radioactive sign cup in the base.
Believe it or not, there is a computer in there. You can even see the cables poking out of the bottom.
Inside is a rotating red light that spins constantly.
This is a cool mod but was unfortunately placed. I heard several complaints about it as it was right in front of one of the projector screens.
This little guy has some notoriety. I've seen pictures of it before.
It's a full sized R2-D2 look-alike with a computer built in. There was no one handy to show me if it did anything else.
I tried to get it to play back the hologram of Princess Leia, but had no luck.
Just as there were many cool paint jobs, there were also dozens of computers with a window mod and cool lighting. I decided to include just one.
I took this in the middle of the day. The lights are out in the BYOC hall from about 4 hours into the event on Thursday until Sunday afternoon when they shut down.
This wasn't a good sign at all. At first I thought someone's computer had crashed, but I soon learned from the owner of this mess that he was building a computer at the event.
These guys are even geekier than me.
I wonder if it makes popcorn? Somehow I doubt it.
This guy built a computer into an old microwave. This is not very practical obviously, but these guys enjoy putting computers in unconventional packages, or in this case, unconvectional.
At first I thought this was just another commercial clear plastic case, but after further inspection, I realized that it's a custom build as well.
Work smarter, not harder
These guys know what they're doing. Many gamers, including myself, lugged in huge desktop computers and monitors that take a while to set up.
These guys strolled in with no sweat and were gaming in minutes.
Now THIS is gaming
This was by far the coolest gaming rig at the event, and was owned by the most talkative man I've met in a long time. It may seem like an ordinary computer, but check out what I've highlighted.
His game of choice was a military flight sim called Lock On. He explained to me that he is a member of a "squadron" that stages large-scale aerial battles. The geek is strong with this one.
A: This touchscreen presents the in-flight controls just like you would see in the actual fighter.
B & C: The flight stick and yoke are modeled after the same flight stick used in an F-14 fighter. They are made of solid steel and weigh a metric ton.
D & E: Perhaps the coolest part of his rig is the infrared head tracking system. Using the the IR sensor on his monitor (D) and the reflector on his hat (E), his point of view follows where his head is looking when in flight. Meaning he can look up, down, left, and right by simply turning his head slightly. Very cool.
Now THAT is gaming.
I was very suprised to see several of these scattered around the BYOC hall.
This is where the magic happens. The core is where the technical staff are and they are working around the clock to ensure that everyone is experiencing as little latency as possible.
These guys work very hard for free so that every gamer that comes has a lag free frag fest.
As you can see it's a busy place.
I need a back rub
Just as at every LANWAR event, this lovely lady is standing by to give gamers a needed break from the action. For the low, low rate of $1 per minute, she will make you forget about that mean ole noob who totally annihilated you. She is a busy lady at these events and it's no surprise. Some of these guys don't get much action from the ladies.
Wrapping up this gallery is a shot of server row. These game and file servers are all brought in by attendees and get a serious workout through the course of the event.
This is LANWAR's 34th official event, and they have this stuff down to a science.
Having been to nearly every event since MML1 six years ago, I have to say this was one of the smoothest events yet.