By my admittedly rough count, I’ve hosted over 700 PC gaming sessions in my basement lab since I moved into this particular house in February, 1997. I began calling the game sessions “Friday Night Follies” since most of them run on Friday nights. The group ranges between two to as many as nine players, depending on the game played, the mood, and timing.
We’ve probably slain more virtual enemies over 700 game sessions that the population of Silicon Valley. Of course, some of those enemies wreaked their revenge on us. Good times.
I often had to babysit systems, particularly in the first decade, when the basement was as much a PC test lab as office. I became adept at cloning boot drives, updating drivers on the fly, and nursing beta hardware into a working state. I’ve never been a professional system administrator, but I played one on gaming nights.
One night, we hosted a potluck which included some PC gaming. My wife, Jan, later told me one of the other significant others asked her how she felt about having her husband downstairs gaming on a Friday night. Jan replied, simply, “Well, I know where he is.”
FnF’s attendee list varied over the years, but the core group has always been three plus me: Ron Talbot, Max Heim, and Scott Crandall. Lately, we’ve been frequently joined by David Bryant and his son, Michael. Eric Klein and Jeff Anthis occasionally drop in as well. We’ve also had lots of guests drop in over the years, some of whom (like David) have become regulars. Occupations vary quite a bit, though heavily skewed towards tech in some manner.
FnF has evolved over the years. As we’ve gotten older, the sessions no longer last until 2AM, which was common when we first started. Several years back, I converted one Friday a month to a board game meetup. Unsurprisingly, the board game meetup consists mostly of different folks from the PC LAN party group.
FnF will no doubt continue to evolve, but will likely continue as long as I’m living in this house. Gaming has been an inseparable part of me, since I first unboxed Avalon Hill’s Blitzkrieg as a teenager. My PC gaming experiences led me to wonder about PC systems performance in the 1990s, which let me to start writing articles on PC performance for Computer Gaming World.
So here’s my tip of the hat to the Friday Night Follies LAN party crew, and all the games we’ve played over the years.
Whoops, gotta run now. It’s time to make sure the PCs are updated and ready to go tonight.