LAN Party for 8yr Olds
July 22, 2006 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I have 10 eight yr olds coming for my son's birthday party. I have five pcs running XP. He has heard the words LAN party. I am broke.

I have my son's birthday party coming up. We are going to see Cars at the cinema and then back to here. I have five PCs in the house all running XP. They all connect to the internet through a wireless router. They are not networked. Is there some fun game we could play with the children all on different PCs. My son has heard the word LAN party, but I dont really know what it is or how to do it. All the children are PS2/PC savvy. I am broke. Would prefer no death and gore, (unlike my son who would like nothing more).
posted by priorpark17 to Computers & Internet (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your computers are networked, as they all connect to the wireless router. So all you need is games. I've got no clue which games are popular these days, though.
posted by reynaert at 11:40 AM on July 22, 2006

hmm, well if they're all connecting through the internet through the wireless router, then they can easily be networked together just by changing the workgroup so that they are all on the same one...

but...for maximum LAN party effect, you should get a regular 5-port switch,then just put all the computers together in one room and connect them.

Still, I don't think you'd want to do this. For one thing, every computer that's going to be playing the game will need a copy of the game. That means buying 5 copies...Though I guess, you could theoretically just buy one copy and put it on 5 computers, just making sure that the computers are not on the internet.

Additionally, as a veteran of several LAN parties, I cannot think of one time where we played a "no death and gore" game. If you want to do this, your best bet would be getting a car racing game of some sort.

As far as other technical difficulties, it's relatively simple. I just googled "LAN Party setup" and the first 10 were all "how to setup a LAN party"
posted by unexpected at 11:45 AM on July 22, 2006

By the way, usually in a "LAN party" everyone brings their own computer. I suggest that you should try to avoid that this time.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:48 AM on July 22, 2006

I used to play Gunbound with several friends. I'm sure 8 year olds would love it. Tho you'd want to set up accounts before the party.

I would also suggest borrowing a multiplayer game from a friend or purchasing a single copy, possibly used. If you can't think of any multiplayer games, ask some local lan centers (gaming center, internet cafe) what games they offer.

Actually, I just checked a few lan centers online, and Star Wars Battlefront II looks decent for kids. You can get it for $20 at bestbuy. Tho I'm not sure if it will run w/o the disk.
posted by Sufi at 12:12 PM on July 22, 2006

LAN parties are usually hard to organize on short notice. You probably wouldn't have to make any changes to your network for most games to just work (assuming all the PCs are connected through the same router), but you usually need one copy per computer, and then some time to get everything set up and working. You can usually count on at least an hour to get everything working, maybe longer, so you'd want to set up ahead of time. And, of course, you still have to find a game... and I just haven't seen many kid-friendly multiplayer games.

If stores in your area rent videogame hardware, a much easier solution might be a Gamecube, four controllers, and a copy of whatever Warioware game is available. Warioware is a series of ten-second games. Rounds go by quickly, so you should be able to swap people in and out pretty fast. Mario Party could also work, although it takes quite a lot longer... if you're gonna do Mario Party, with 10 kids, I'd suggest two Gamecubes... one with MP and one with Warioware.

That wouldn't be ZERO cost, but I'd expect it would be $40 or less for one 'Cube rental.
posted by Malor at 12:26 PM on July 22, 2006

Eight seems a bit young for a LAN party, to me. That was more of a high school thing. In any case, it's going to be kind of a hassle for you.

I would suggest asking your son if any of his friends have Gamecubes, as you can play some games with 8-players. If you sprang for game rentals, popcorn, junior mints, and drinks I can't imagine how they'd have a bad time.
posted by sixacross at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2006

I agree that this could potentially be a hassle. Some lessons I've learned from previous lan parties is...

- Install the games you want to play and get them updated and working on all the computers before the day of the party, or you will spend all day doing this.

- Even doing this, you will likely encounter some problems. This results in the computer savvy party-goers trying to fix their own problems along with the problems on the non-savvy. At a party of 8 year olds this translates to you fixing everything. However, since they are all your computers and you have in the same house already, you can really do a lot of advance work to avoid this.

As for games, consider Starcraft - oldie but a goodie. Perfect for younger kids, I thnk. Also, will run on very old machines. Every computer can play at once and you could even do 4 kids vs 4 computers if they dont like losing to one another.

You can easily find this game for cheap or through illicit means. Make sure to patch it.
posted by utsutsu at 12:39 PM on July 22, 2006

Why not just take them all to an internet cafe that caters for this sort of thing? Save you a lot of trauma.
posted by zaebiz at 12:49 PM on July 22, 2006

Eight Year Olds, dude.

And go with Starcraft.
posted by spatula at 12:51 PM on July 22, 2006

There are many free downloadable games that the kids can play. I suggested these three in another thread because they're very popular with kids and teenagers around here:

Survival Project
Survival Project at Wikipedia.

MapleStory at Wikipedia.

Flyff at Wikipedia.

You would need to install the game(s) on each computer and when the kids log on, they can group up in the same area, play individually or alone, form guilds, and chat to each other in real time. You can get lots of other game suggestions here:

posted by LuckySeven~ at 1:43 PM on July 22, 2006

Hmm... I have pretty much no idea of non-violent game, maybe one exception, Worms. Per definition it should be called violent, but I guess I don't mind playing as an earth worm attacking another team of worms with a Banana Bomb or a Grandma. You can even specify which weapons are allowed (you could disable firearms).

Anyway, it's one of the funniest games ever. I have not played the 3D versions, but I suggest sticking to the 2D versions. Easier to master, and it has a more cartoonish style.
posted by a007r at 2:13 PM on July 22, 2006

Starcraft? For ten eight-year-olds on short notice? That sounds like a headache to me.

I totally second the "rent a GameCube, grab WarioWare" solution. It's a fucking blast, needs almost no setup or support, and EVERYONE will have fun.
posted by secret about box at 3:06 PM on July 22, 2006

I second the internet cafe idea. If there is one near where you live, it would be easy. The one near me charges $5 an hour per person and all the computers are connected together and preloaded with all the popular pc games.

Even though all my friends have good computers and we sometimes bring all our computers together and have lan parties. We usually just go to the internet cafe because it's so much easier.
posted by meta87 at 3:34 PM on July 22, 2006

Forth console gaming. That's definitely what you want for this type of situation.

Do you really want 10 kids that don't belong to you poking and prodding your various boxen? No. Hell no.
posted by Drunken_munky at 3:35 PM on July 22, 2006

Fifthing console gaming: 5 PCs x 10 8-year-olds sounds like asking for trouble. Also seconding worms. I think worms 3D may work pretty well, all sitting round one big TV, with a PS2. Fairly simple, fairly innocent and lots of stuff blows up. Does require an element of patience, as it is turn-based, but the game is pretty fun visually - making two teams may help get their interest and attention.
posted by MetaMonkey at 4:38 PM on July 22, 2006

I doubt if the computers you have at home all have the same performance -- which is going to cause difficulties with most multiplayer games.

Maybe use the best-matched for one game, and the others with different games.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:41 PM on July 22, 2006

Quake 3 is the classic LAN game for us (and it makes a hell of a drinking game). UT2003 with marginal success. I hear Battlefield 2 is big right now for LAN games.

And of course, Counter Strike & Day of Defeat. All sort of violent.. hm.
posted by devilsbrigade at 5:21 PM on July 22, 2006

We threw a lan party for my son when he was ten, and the boys (5) were computer savvy, and my husband is an expert. However, they were not savvy on the games that were available, and there was much misery with: but i can't play that game, how do i move my man/worm/character etc, that kid is sending me rude messages. I recommend against it until you've have smaller groups working well (and you've got the technology down pat).

Good luck. (oh and don't serve pizza at the same time. the keyboards results are icky).
posted by b33j at 5:34 PM on July 22, 2006

Don't forget if you put one copy of a game on 5 PCs, you would likely need either a no-CD crack (which can be difficult to find and can result in severe virus/spyware infections), or CD-copying software that can break the copy protection (not as difficult IMO).
posted by IndigoRain at 6:45 PM on July 22, 2006

If you're interested in a MMORPG, the kids I work with really dig Maid Marian. They seem to like Sherwood most, and it occupied them for absolutely hours for days at a time.

As far as using games on multiple PCs without the CDs, we use Virtual Drive, which rips the entire CD to the drive so it works just like it would if you had the disc in the drive. Of course, that would require an investment, but it's an option if you're interested.

There are also always the TONS of games available online. Nick, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel,,, and have lots and lots of games. is also pretty decent. Be wary of,,, and as they have far more inappropriate games than kid-safe ones. The kids love them, but it's not worth the effort of supervising them. For girls,,, and are very popular (and some boys actually end up going to them too, which is really great because I love seeing kids contradict gender stereotypes).

None of the online sites I mentioned provide you with structured entertainment, but they're free options. Anyway, good luck and have fun. Ten 8 year olds in front of computers will definitely keep you on your toes. ;)
posted by monochromaticgirl at 9:04 PM on July 22, 2006

The Lego Star Wars game was really great looking and simple on commands (move+3 action buttons), plus it has a cooperative mode where both players can share one keyboard.

It's not multiplayer, but it would get all 10 kids playing. And it's really fun! I burned through it in one six hour sitting.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:58 PM on July 22, 2006

I'd also go withe Gamecube recommendation -- you can also rent any of the Mario Party games and definitely Mario Kart.
posted by wubbie at 11:52 PM on July 22, 2006

Zap. The game you are looking for is Zap.

If you can afford $19.95/seat.
posted by Ptrin at 6:50 AM on July 23, 2006

A fun, simple game that I've really enjoyed with my friends is Microsoft's Motocross Madness 2.

It's 7 or 8 years old now, so it's cheap, runs on pretty much any recent system, and has fun gameplay options and cool graphics.

My favorite mode in particular is called Ball Tag, where all the riders try to steal a beach ball from one another (by simply driving through it), and you only get points if you have the ball.

The races are fun, require little to no skill, and you can choose whether you want them long or short.

Stunt mode is fun, but it does take a little practice to learn how to make a stunt work. If the kids are all learning together, though, that shouldn't be too bad. My friends and I just learned together without a manual.

The game is out of production, but you can get a used copy from Amazon or Ebay, (or you could Froogle it). If you can find as many copies as you want to use, then you could always resort to an alternate, temporary option like *cough* CloneCD.
posted by SlyBevel at 9:48 AM on July 23, 2006


...if you can't find as many copies...
posted by SlyBevel at 11:03 AM on July 24, 2006

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