“I think I think a lot about the early 2000s, like a lot of people, I think, are in their 30s.”
This is one of the writer, game designer, and streamer’s first things to do Merritt K He told me in early November. Right now, everything about gaming, and getting online in general, is basically easier than it was at the turn of the century. Now you can play intense 3D games on a cheap phone, with a cloud gaming subscription and a decent wireless connection. You can set up a chat room, build an online presence, and even post videos, instantly, for free. Performance-conscious and customizable PC gaming hardware is just a few clicks away and two days from showing up at your door.
However, we’re both super sad about something else entirely: LAN parties. Merritt K so much that she writes and collects and Crowdfunding a book: lan party. It’s a collection of original amateur photos—many upgraded through artificial intelligence—and vignettes in an era when multiplayer meant desktop towers, energy drinks, and being in some awkward places. It had been in the works for over a year, but she had been thinking about it for the longest time.
“Some of the reasons for that are just nostalgia, like, ‘Remember when you were a teenager, you used to listen to emo music, go to LAN parties and stuff. “But there’s another side of it, where the internet that I think is a lot like, Gen X, or older millennials, or growing up in mid-millennials, is basically collapsing,” said Merritt K. “We just felt like this thing was really important to me, the internet culture and being online and the technology and all that stuff — it was very challenging to grow, and it gave me a way to talk to people and make connections.
And now it seems the opposite. Real life is where you can have meaningful interactions with people, and online where you have to present this brand, this manicured identity. I think one thing that appeals to people, me, about LAN parties is that they kind of A symbol of this earlier era of technology, when things were a little rougher around the edges.”
From late night tweets to upgrading artificial intelligence
Actual consumer tech regression, the 20-year window of nostalgia, and the COVID-19 confinement — guided by some or all of them A late night tweet by Merritt K. in September 2021 to nearly 100,000 likes. Over four hard-lit photos of people in distinctly millennial-era clothing: “I want to produce a coffee table book that’s just photos of LAN parties from the 90s and 2000s.” Two minutes later: “Don’t steal this idea. It’s me. Someone please spread this.”
Someone is already posting this: UK-based video game history publisher Read memory only. Merritt K sought out original photos and heard from hundreds of ardent fans. Some have had to dig through ancient media in the hope that the entropy has yet to appear. And some still maintain folders of images on long-disused public web servers. Merritt K had seen many famous LAN party memes – the San Antonio Spurs play StarCraft On a plane next to the NBA championship trophy, the The guy that was ducted to the ceiling—but I was surprised by the richness of the lesser-known images she received.
Merritt K. said: “The fitting in some of these are, incidentally, pretty good.” “It says so much about that era in terms of fashion, food, drinks, and even interior décor. I think that resonates with a lot of other people, too.”
People who frequent LAN parties tend to be early adopters, and that has included digital photography—grainy, yellow time-stamped, single-megapixel, digital photography. Untrained photographers shooting with Y2K-era equipment in dimly lit settings have lent a lot of charm to the images Merritt K has collected, but also made many of them impossible to publish in high-resolution print.
Enters Gigapixel AI, a tutorial that can scale up photos by up to 600 percent. gigapixel 1896 famous films of oncoming trains were promotedAssist AI claims controversial win in art fairAnd the Further blurring the line between a digital image and an illustration. Some interesting photos had to be discarded because they were too dark or blurry, even with the help of AI. Others made Merritt K and her editors question the line between a dark basement reality and the need for images working in a physical book. It was a tricky balancing act, said Merritt K., but the general spirit was one of enlightenment and entertainment, not the subtlety of light balance.