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June 3, 2010

Spending the night of their lives logged onto a virtual world

by Gardi Royce, Page Editor
As Blazers' Facebook walls have begun filling up with a multitude of prom photos and comments, senior Kamal Ndousse's wall remains empty. No pictures of his date smiling as she fits on the $30 dollar corsage, no parents glowing with pride over their grown up boy. Instead, the pictures were replaced by memories of the "most epic" night of his life: a Local Area Network (LAN) party where he and his friends connected their computers and played video games for 28 hours straight.

While this night took place on Montgomery Blair's prom night, the event had been devised two years ago by Ndousse's friend, senior Roger Curley. Curley, like Ndousse, had not ever intended to go to prom due to the "awkwardness" of school dances. A regretful Ndousse groans as he recounts his scarred past. "I made the accident of going to a middle school dance once and was affected for life. I promised I would never put myself through the trauma again," he says.
This comic by Randell Monro was the inspiring factor for Curley and Ndousse
This comic by Randell Monro was the inspiring factor for Curley and Ndousse

Two years ago Curley was surfing the internet when he came across the web site www.xkcd.com/422 that contains daily updated comics pertaining to "a website of romance, sarcasm, math and language." The sites creator, Randell Monro posts comics daily that Curley and his group of friends followed with religious like dedication. One comic that attracted Curley's interest was of characters skipping prom and having a LAN party with their friends. As Curley read the comic, his imagination started turning this idea into a feasible and realistic plan. Now both Curley and Ndousse believe Monro's comic was a message fated for them to get. "We have faith in our prophet (Monro) and as willing servants we executed his will," he says.

As the initial excitement of the idea started to die down, Curley remembers pondering over the realistic potential for such a night. "I wasn't really sure if enough friends would want to come but in the end it just motivated me more," he says. The idea stayed with him through the year and served as something to look forward to. As sophomore year progressed, Curley researched the necessary equipment to pull off such an event. They would need a vacant basement, a switchboard to connect the computers, and a solid group of friends that were willing to sacrifice their sleep and sanity for a night of "awesomeness" and video games.

Though initially he was afraid his friends wouldn't like the idea, after telling Ndousse of his plans, he was delightfully surprised. Ndousse immediately loved the idea and began developing his own take on the issue. "I realized that we could wear tuxes and dress up just to show the ridiculousness of prom's traditions," he says. "Instead of mindlessly dressing up for prom, we got fully dressed up to just play tons of video games."

Starting on Saturday, Curley and Ndousse began preparing for the highly awaited event. As the people started filing in, they carried a multitude of objects. Most had lap tops, a necessity for the night. But others brought pizza, birch beer and snacks. As they began connecting their computers to one another, the buzz of excitement and anticipation filled the air.
Blazer partake in a 28 hour Local Area Network marathon as a substitute for prom
Blazer partake in a 28 hour Local Area Network marathon as a substitute for prom

With the video games Crisis Wars and Defense of Ancients in hand, the night was shaping up to meet all the expectations and plans. With an average of six people present through out the night, the friends engaged in competitive video game wars for 28 straight hours. As people became tired, they would take small power naps and then wake up for more gaming and fun. "I dozed off for four hours but I made myself stay awake because it's not everyday that you can have a LAN party as successful as this," Curley says.

However, despite the success of this LAN party, both Curley and Ndousse believe that with better planning and communication, another party could rival their first try. "We had a lot of logistical errors in the whole process concerning how people got there and if we can fix that I'm sure the next one will be even epic-er," Ndousse gushes.

If everything worked out perfectly, the pair believes they would have upwards of 20 people all connected together for an event that would span 72 hours. "Initially we'd planned on starting Friday night and going to Sunday night, but as it turns out, people like sleep," Curley laments. However, if their plans work out, they can see having LAN parties through out the summer.

With both friends graduating this year, this summer presents a perfect time for the experienced pair to throw another marathon LAN party. Although at some point they say they may feel slight touches of regret from missing prom, they'll always have their night "where dreams came true.”



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  • Susie on June 14, 2010 at 11:46 AM
    Wow, this is a great idea!
  • Bill on June 14, 2010 at 11:46 AM
    Awesome idea! I wish I had participated!
  • Tom on June 14, 2010 at 11:47 AM
    I went to a lan party once, but I didn't have enough balls to skip prom!
  • Robert on June 14, 2010 at 11:47 AM
    Although I am only a sophomore, I definitely plan to follow in the footsteps of these amazing visionary people!
  • Beth on June 14, 2010 at 11:48 AM
    Long shall the tale of your epiqcx amazingness be sung!
  • Amanda on June 14, 2010 at 11:49 AM
    I think the school should formally get rid of prom, and make lan parties mandatory! They are much more fun!
  • Parent '12 on June 14, 2010 at 11:51 AM
    This is a great idea! I am going to encourage my kids to do the same! What heroes!
  • Participant on June 14, 2010 at 11:54 AM
    Thanks for your support! This event was tons of fun and gee, I hope you all get to do similar things!
  • Sebastian on June 14, 2010 at 11:56 AM
    As a recent graduate, I lament that nobody in my class was so brilliant as to enact such a fantastic plan. Good job, guys!
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