The story of one of the most infamous LAN party pictures on the Internet

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Hang around the Internet long enough and it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll see certain images crop up from time to time. The photo you see above is a perfect example.

You’ve probably seen it dozens of times by now and may even have a copy or two stored somewhere in an old archive. But do you know the true story behind the image? Thanks to the detective work of the crew over at Kotaku, we got to know the true history behind the photo.

As the publication highlights, the image originated from Mason, Michigan, where a group of friends would regularly organize LAN parties. Before the Internet made long-distance connectivity trivial, it wasn’t uncommon for hardcore gamers to bring their computers to a central location, link them together and play games for hours – sometimes days – on end.

That’s how the events of this particular summer 2002 day unfolded. It was an ordinary LAN party until one attendee, Tyler, looked around and said, “I think you can duct tape someone to that I-beam.” So they did.

What’s really funny about the whole story is that the now iconic photo was actually their second attempt at suspending Drew Purvis. The first time up, he went without any pillows for padding and only lasted about 10 minutes before being asked to be cut down as the tape was digging into his sides.

Once suspended the second time, someone else had the idea to set up his computer so he could game while in the air. The infamous image was snapped on a digital camera that someone happened to have on hand (those weren't very common back then, either) and the rest, as they say, is history.

It’s a neat memento for a group of friends, especially considering it happened before smartphones and social media were ubiquitous. For the rest of us, it's a fun reminder of simpler, perhaps more carefree times.

All images courtesy Kotaku

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psycros

TS Evangelist
I wonder how many modern games actually allow LAN play anymore since most publishers are all about making $$$ and thus force you to be on the internet and use their services to play multiplayer.
LAN support is very scare although lately its seen a minor renaissance. I think its mostly driven by the retro craze that's dominated indie gaming for a while now. Modern games with dedicated server modes will sometimes also allow LAN play with only a tiny bit of tweaking. Forums will usually provide the info you need to make it work :)
 
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Shaitan

TS Enthusiast
I just decided I'll skip the next Diablo/whatever-Call-of-Duty-comes-this-year...
NO LAN play
NO dedicated servers
If I could try to understand the diablo as linked to the game servers and thus needing a ton of map customization and items via the servers (Although Diablo 2, AFAIK, is much more complex than Diablo 3), there's absolutely NO REASON whatsoever to buy COD.
I've skipped this year's CoD, played for a bit at on a friend's PC. Meh. Much meh.
Warcraft III reforged and maybe some Starcraft co-op characters. Blizzard is but a carcass of its former self :( :(
 

Malakai2k

TS Enthusiast
I've been to some private LAN parties with friends lately, I even built a sweet ITX 1080p system just for travelling and gaming away from my main rig. We just play the games online like you would any other time at home except that everyone is there in the same room, having fun, talking trash to each other and there is a lot of hilarious screen sniping oportunities too. It's great fun. It's just like gaming on the internet except it's actually social.
 

elementalSG

TS Addict
I still remember doing LAN parties, lugging my bulky 17" NEC CRT and original slot A AMD Athlon 650Mhz (in an all-steel mid-tower) to a friend's house in the early 2000s to play Quake lol. Fun memories!
 

Hexic

TS Evangelist
TechSpot Elite
I still remember doing LAN parties, lugging my bulky 17" NEC CRT and original slot A AMD Athlon 650Mhz (in an all-steel mid-tower) to a friend's house in the early 2000s to play Quake lol. Fun memories!
Quake... Those were the days. I still have custom made decals that we'd slap to the 40lb steel monsters of PC cases we had back then. Quake & Duke Nukem were the games. Redneck Rampage if we were drunk enough.
 

Suisam

TS Enthusiast
Quake... Those were the days. I still have custom made decals that we'd slap to the 40lb steel monsters of PC cases we had back then. Quake & Duke Nukem were the games. Redneck Rampage if we were drunk enough.
Quake, Duke, Decent, Doom2, Hexen, Heritic, Half A$$(Half Life) just to name a few... and your friends were always in punching distance if they were kicking ur butt :D I really miss those days!

Occasionally we crack out the old games for a LAN when the old crew gets together. Always good fun