SOCAL LAN 2k9 at Howies Review
INSIDER ESPORTS – Insider Head of Features, Jon “Portland” Higginbotham attended the Socal LAN 2k9 at Howies Game Shack in Moreno Valley. Now he’s back with his thoughts!
First, let me tell you that I was both a competitor and a spectator. For those that don’t know, I sometimes play Counter-Strike: Source for fun, so when I saw this tournament I thought it would be a great chance to take some pics for IE as well as win back my gas money and then some (if only that plan panned out...).
Howie’s Game Shack has five locations, four of which are located in the Southern California Area. I have never seen any of the others besides the one in Moreno valley so I can’t really compare, but I’d imagine they’re all very similar. The location SOCAL LAN 2k9 was held at was nice. I’ve provided a chart of the pros and cons below:
LOCATION: This place is pretty much apart of the Moreno Mall. It has it’s own entrance, and although it’s apart of the mall, it’s still separate, which allows for the gaming to go on past the Mall’s closing time.
FOOD: Another plus about being in the mall is the FOOD COURT! It’s literally 50 yards or so across from the center. My team and I could walk over to Sbarro, grab a slice, and return to the “shack” in less than 10 minutes, talk about convenience. (Only downside: One of the few malls without a CinnaBon to accommodate the hungry gamer looking for a fix in the early hours.)
NO SHORTAGE OF ENERGY: Howie’s Game Shack comes stocked with countless cases of Energy Drinks which you can easily walk over and purchase at any time. There are also, a variety of snacks for sale. Similar to what you would at a movie theatre. With a food court 10 feet away and a candy store not too far off, go figure, but hey I’m not complaining!
SET UP: The layout works. They have it set up with a console section (with what looked like lazy boys) and a PC section. Both arranged well, with an ample amount of room to lean back or walk around, so you’re not bumping elbows with anyone. Although, at the peak of their rush hour, it did become a little difficult to reach some a lot of areas without bumping into someone but there isn’t much they can do about that.
PERIPHERALS: The computers are about 10 feet above you head on sitting snugly on a rack with usb ports running down the back to make switching our keyboards/mice a snap. But in order to change your headset you can’t use those, or at least we couldn’t. So you have to get up on the table and plus it in the computer directly 10 feet overhead and if your headset chord isn’t long enough, then well, that sucks. Fortunately for me and my team ours were fine, however, our hanging headset chords sometimes became annoying. Not a huge issue but an issue none the less.
Besides the hallway traffic problem and the headset problem there isn’t much to talk about. It’s not in a basement, how much more can you ask for??
The teams that showed were decent. Mostly pugs, but that’s how these relatively small tournaments are I suppose. The management was great. Howie’s staff and the event organizers where all very helpful and approachable. The tournament went smoothly without any hiccups. All in all I think everyone had a great time. Even though my team got knocked out at 5th, I still enjoyed being there and watching others play.
The prices were not bad. I forgot exactly what it was but I guess if I don’t remember then it must not have been a problem. The prizes were good, some hardware and around a grand is not bad at all. If more teams had shown like planned I’m sure I would have been playing for some big bucks (get off your ass source teams and show up to these things!!).
The only downside was the computers. I only got around 100 fps, and 60-80 fps in a firefight. The registry took some getting used to needless to say, which really presented a problem for someone who hadn’t competed at a LAN before that wasn’t BYOC.
For more photo's head over to my profile: HERE
Or check out LAN 2k9's gallery: HERE