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Pimp my PC! Portrait of a LAN Party

From: Aaron Henkin
Length: 09:33

This story answers the burning question "What's it like to hang out with a bunch of guys at a fourteen-hour video game marathon?"

Supercomputer1_small Fourteen hours, thirty guys, and a room full of custom-modified desktop computers that look like they belong screaming down the street doing wheelies in a "2 Fast 2 Furious" racing video. This story is a humorous portrait of a LAN Party, where hard-core gamers meet up and wire their computers together for intense multi-player death-match tournaments in "first person shooter" games like CounterStrike and Desert Combat. Xavier (who is pictured) was one of the highlights of the day. He talks at length about "modding out" his computer to intimidate other gamers.

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Piece Description

Fourteen hours, thirty guys, and a room full of custom-modified desktop computers that look like they belong screaming down the street doing wheelies in a "2 Fast 2 Furious" racing video. This story is a humorous portrait of a LAN Party, where hard-core gamers meet up and wire their computers together for intense multi-player death-match tournaments in "first person shooter" games like CounterStrike and Desert Combat. Xavier (who is pictured) was one of the highlights of the day. He talks at length about "modding out" his computer to intimidate other gamers.

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Review of Pimp my PC! Portrait of a LAN Party

I think Aaron's best trait as a producer is to find unique yet not all that funny situations and to flesh them out, in a patient fashion, to a compelling finish. His timing is great, and he has a good sense of how to edit his work down. Here he takes a slice of dweeb culture and allows the story to run with itself. This is an example of the new flexible public radio that would sound at home in variety of programs.

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Review of Pimp my PC! Portrait of a LAN Party

Lan parties! Man, I am getting old! This sounds so foreign to me. BYOC means bring your own computer, so that you can hook up to a computer network and play an interconnected video game with thirty co-horts. Aaron Henkin does a great job of capturing the sense of the what these gamers are seeing, hearing, and doing.

It's an odd conflagration of gleeful kill-or-be-killed game playing and my-computer-is-faster-than-yours computer geekdom.

This is a terrific longer-form news feature. Henkin acts as our tour guide, stepping into this alien,sci-fi, world bravely talking "some serious smack" with this new breed of video gamer afficianado. As an uniformed onlooker, I loved this piece. It did that thing that Public Radio is supposed to do. It educated me on something I would otherwise have no reason or prediliction to learn about. Do your listeners a favor and find a nine minute block to slip this into. If you don't, may they find talk some serious smack about you! Cheers Aaron, great job.

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Review of Pimp my PC! Portrait of a LAN Party

Aaron Henkin is out the gate with a Joe Frank deadpan intro, finds a tone somewhere between Weekend Edition's Scott Simon and Weekend Update's Dan Aykroyd, and never gives up his fresh, upbeat journalism in this look at Nerds Gone Wild.

Gaming organizer Bob Keller comes across with perfect interviewee candor -- as if he were standing on the other end of a beer pitcher, pouring, not on the other end of a microphone, talking. And in sum, Henkin's crisp selection of "talent" -- the voices he lets advance the story -- insures the human and humorous impact of "Pimp my PC! Portrait of a LAN Party". Precise FX support but never steamroller Henkin's storyline, and he engages reportorially on-mic precisely when the listener is itching with a question.

Smart, fun writing and spotless production make "Pimp" an exemplary long-segment feature story. Aaron Henkin serves a vignette that vibrates beyond the video game environment of his protagonists. Fun!

PDs, if you don't see "Pimp my PC!" in the DACS rundown of a network magazine soon, grab it yourself and lay it in over any ATC segment (you'll have to plaster on a music bed to fit it in B or D) on rollover that dogged first time through. Your listeners will fill your PC with appreciative TKUs.

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Broadcast History

This story is slated to air on 11-19-04 on WYPR's local arts program "The Signal."

Related Website

http://www.baltimoregamers.org