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The time has come to yet again become one of the collective and connect to a local area network at the world's biggest LAN party - Dreamhack. Sweden, Winter, 29th of November - 2nd of December. Four days of LAN gaming, competitions, freebies, Jolt Cola and loud music.


At DreamHack, like always, the fun is on the inside, so I took a quick snapshot of a cool looking Bionic Commando car parked by the main entrance and ran for the doors. It was raining cats and dogs, but who cares? Once you're in, you're not going to leave for quite a while.


Being a world record holding event, DreamHack is a force to be reckoned with. Over TEN THOUSAND computers connected to one network is something you certainly can brag about.


DreamHack is held at Elmia Exhibition Centre in the city of Jönköping, Sweden. To make it possible to host the world's largest lan party, the premises have been modified to suit our needs, with electrical installations for example.


The cooling system of Elmia utilizes the cold water from the lake Vättern nearby. Even so, it is getting warm inside during DreamHack. Thousand of computers and lan participants form a gigantic heat source. About 3 MegaWatts of electricity is needed to run the place.


So how can a DreamHack participant go for four days without sleep? They can't. Despite the large quantities of coffee and Jolt Cola the gamers still need their beauty sleep, and since we don't want anyone to be stealing our shit, what do we do? That's right. We sleep on the keyboards.


Believe it or not, DreamHack is responsible for about 30% of total Jolt Cola sales in Sweden. People down this stuff like crazy. Some say it's an addiction, some call it tradition. I'd call it the latter, since it doesn't stop at drinking. Jolt Cola cans are traditionally used to build towers and randomly shaped sculptutes. Anything is possible with duct tape.


So what was happening this time anyways? Like always, it's mostly about LAN and Quake World, Counter Strike, Quake 4 Deathmatch and Unreal Tournament. I've heard some people say there were a few dudes playing Warsow but I haven't seen it, so I don't believe it.


An event this big is also a great opportunity for hardware developers to show off their new technologies and brag all day long why you should choose them and not this other company. Symantec was there, Intel was there, Microsoft was there. All giving away freebies and tempting you with their promises.


You could play the newest games at the most powerful machines. Ever wondered what Crysis would run like with everything set on max at some crazy high resolution? I'm not really sure what Intel put in the machines running the Crysis demo, but take my word for it. It ran smoooooth.


The best freebie award goes to Intel. At their booth you could make a video / fool of yourself while you're dancing with some nice, green background behind you. Intel people had two cameras pointed at you and what they recorded, they mixed together into a nice video of your person, multiplied. This was to show you how fast the Core 2 Duo processors are. The movie was mixed in just a few seconds and you were given your very own copy on a nice Intel pendrive.


DreamHack isn't all about computers. If you got tired of your keyboard, muse, and the fact that you were getting your ass handed to you all the time, you could dance your sorrows away at the arcade corner. Beatmania was there, Dance Dance Revolution was there, both in various editions.


After playing both PC and console games [especially Guitar Hero, which was really big] it was time to drive back home and count the freebies. So here they are, starting with the DreamHack handstrap.


Three sets of WoW cards, some straps, Intel's Pendrive, vitamines and condoms. This, plus current issues of the bigger gaming magazines on the market. That's right. They're actually giving you back your ticket money.


While entering the event, everyone was given a nice box containing the starter deck of "World of Warcraft: Heroes of Azeroth" card game. You could play it with the WoW people at the Blizzard booth. I didn't, shame on me.


Since there are so many visitors at DreamHack, you're bound to bump into someone willing to have sex with you, and when that happends, it's best to have a condom ready. If you haven't thought about buying a pack of condoms before you got to DreamHack, you didn't have to worry. The organizers did the thinking for you and free condoms [with a small baggie of lubricating gel and a MANUAL] were given away to all who needed one. As you can see, I needed three, even though I haven't used them. Yet.


Last but not least, a pair of Warhammer t-shirts that were given to me by some nice guys at their booth. I felt really bad since I haven't even played through one whole game [I left in the middle, or actually I was dragged away, leaving my team one man short. Nice].

PR

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