The Stacks – Boston Stacks Up for September VA LAN Party!

Last Friday, the Boston Stack held its third monthly gaming event at the Jamaica Plain VA. With a relatively poor turnout for the July event, the Stack leads were a little nervous that their effort to publicize August’s event would be in vain. The leads took to Facebook and Twitter to help advertise, made posters to put up throughout the VA, passed out flyers, and even invited friends to the event. The sour memory of a nearly empty game room still fresh in their minds, the Stack leads and their VA contact Wes set up for the event, and waited.

To help spice up the game selections, the Stack picked a few brand new games along with some impressively old ones. Our friends at Team 17 generously offered the Stack four codes for their cooperative cooking game Overcooked 2, which had released onto Steam and consoles less than two weeks earlier. Guests and Stack members took turns playing the wacky cooking game on the big screen, working together and in two-player teams with…varying results. In the two and a half hours the event lasted, Overcooked 2 definitely got the lion’s share of attendee’s attention!

In addition to Overcooked 2, Stack Lead Ben Irr decided to offer an old school choice, and brought his original Xbox! Featuring nostalgic titles like Halo 2 and Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005), the dusty black console had to be plugged into the room’s projector because all the other screens and monitors used HDMI cables. Ron and Joe, two veterans of Operation Desert Storm, spent much of the time playing through the campaign of Halo 2. Watching the grainy gameplay while using bulky controllers to fumble through space brought back some great memories for much of the Stack. Nostalgia is one strange sensation…

All in all, the attendance had improved from last month, but failed to reach the same numbers as the June event. That said, none of the Stack Leads felt discouraged by this event, since there were plenty of firsts involved. The August VA LAN Party featured our first returning attendee (John), along with our first game promotion with Overcooked 2. The Stack even had their first Stack-Up Rex appearance; he took a few minutes out of his search for Bill Murray to play some video games with the attendees!

The Stack Leads learned some tough lessons from July’s turnout, and used that experience to improve how they advertised the monthly events. They settled on a specific date (every last Friday of the month) and a specific time (7 to 9 PM) so potential attendees will know that the events will remain consistent. They streamlined the way they spread the word about the event, even assigning different roles to the leads on what media to cover. It’s not a perfect science yet, but there are talks about how to improve their ability to reach as many veterans as possible. Here’s hoping September’s LAN Party will bear some fruits of that labor!