This is Liza Langkasuka‘s firsthand account of her experience in South East Asia’s largest LAN party – Cyberfusion 2015 held from 13 – 15th November. Want to read the Bahasa Malaysia version from this guest-writer of ours? Click HERE!
2 weeks before Cyberfusion 2015
It was late afternoon and I’ve checked my inbox for the fifth time since morning. And there I found it. In between emails from LinkedIn contacts and Soulfeel jewelry, was the confirmation email I had been waiting for!
Hi Norliza Aini binti Abd Samad a.k.a Langkasuka,
We have received your payment and approved your registration.
Thanks for participating in the Cyberfusion 2015 LAN Party!!
With a permanent grin on my face, I hopped, skipped and jumped my way home that day. The hard part came when I explained to my less than tech-savy, conservative parents. They thought a LAN party was an annual company dinner and I would be back by 10pm.
“No, it’s a 3day-2night experience. Non-stop. And I’ll be spending the nights at MMU (Multimedia University).” I said.
“Organized by the company?” asked my dad. “Are you in a group?”
“You’re going there alone?” Alarm bells from my mom.
“Ihsan works in MMU, will you sleep over at his place?”
Abang Ihsan is my cousin who lives in Seri Kembangan. I thought about the event’s back-to-back activities and replied, “No, I don’t think so.”
The Q&A lasted a while but eventually I managed to get their reluctant approval. Granted, they looked at a lone single girl, going to an unfamiliar place, and with heavy expensive equipment to set up. I was essentially in charge of my own health and security, in an event stereotyped as a massive, no-holds-barred, bachelors party for sleep-deprived game nerds.
All I thought was YOLO 🙂
Mind you, I did have some reservations of my own. Where would I sleep? Is that place safe? How would I take care of my personal hygiene? Emergency contact person?
I added these questions earlier to my gaming community online, where I first heard of Cyberfusion2015, which was organized by Cyberview Living Lab | Talent this year. One kindly fella who attended last year described his experience; large crowds, limited parking spaces, and lots of dudes napping with headphones still on.
“Were there girls at the LAN party?” I asked.
“Not sure. Maybe twenty or thirty?” he replied hesitantly.
Twenty or thirty girls in an event for 300 gamers was slightly enough to suppress my concerns. At least I would not be alone in the semi-public places, such as the ladies’ washroom or the surau.
Cyberfusion 2015 – Day 1
That morning I packed up my PS4, my needs-to-be-bigger TV monitor, and the necessary essentials for two nights (clothing, personal artifacts, favourite pillow, etc). For good measure, I also brought along a HDMI-DVI cable, since updates on Cyberfusion2015’s Facebook mentioned that PS4 players also have the option of borrowing one of their MyCore monitors.
As I packed, I also replied to some well-wishing office mates via WhatsApp, as they knew I was going on an adventure. Was I nervous? Heck yes. Did I have a padlock on my PS4 bag? Nope, will fix that, good tip. Would I explore Cyberjaya, the place I used to work at? Yes, there was a restaurant with awesome vegetarian tom yum beehoon soup I sincerely missed.
I arrived at MMU around 3pm, just as the counters was opening up. After registering and gathering my devices, I walked into the main LAN party area and was flanked by colourful banners and booths of its official core partners; HyperX, Hotlink Game Reloads, Asus and Cooler Master. The interior of the hall was huge, big enough for several badminton courts and a ceiling just as high. The space was filled with rows and rows of cloth covered long banquet tables, each marked with a printed alphabet. PS4 table was marked with the letter ‘K’.
There were already a few PS4 gamers who had already set up their spot. The closest sitting next to me were Melvin, Azmi and AB. AB also brought along his Wii U. They were friendly and polite, and thus, helped calm my remaining reservations about sharing personal space with strangers. While I assembled my set up, I felt more and more at ease.
Soon, more PS4 gamers came and took their places, including fellow Destiny player Kei-End and aYUSmi. I interacted with the guys around me and got to know the games they mostly play on (Call of Duty: Back Ops 3) and the latest games they look forward to the most (Star Wars Battlefront). Some were avid Destiny players like me but now preferred other games. Most of them came as a clan, or through mutual friends. Many were yearly attendees of Cyberfusion, either with a PC or a console.
After a group dinner of chicken rice, it was the official opening ceremony of Cyberfusion2015. The host and event manager, Rinie Ramli, came on stage with as much aplomb and flair as an Indian movie hero. Unfortunately, his dramatic John Cena entry music was slightly hiccuped by technical error and much laughter from the crowd, which had gathered closer to the main stage. Oops! So they did a take two on the introduction for good measure.
After the slight hitch, the ceremony went by smoothly. This year the overall affair was managed by the gaming media group Spotgamers and they were running two kinds of events; the 48-hour LAN party and the e-sports tournaments of DOTA2, CS:GO, FIFA16, and Ultra Street Fighter 4. Overall, they had managed to gather around 600 players for Cyberfusion2015, a proud new achievement!
There was also a live-stream with friends all the way in north of Asia, about the upcoming Cyberfusion2015 Japan edition. Their Japanese host, nicknamed Solomon Freeman, described his excitement in anticipating their own non-stop LAN party. Granted, sometimes he was mostly speaking in Japanese or the live-stream video accidentally became stalled, but his happy grins and expressive voice managed to get through to the local gamers’ hearts.
After the ceremony were some ice-breaker events. Groups were based on chair rows instead of table rows, so gamers were encouraged to mix across platforms. Unfortunately, some of this information was lost in the PA system, and many were confused which team was what and belonged where. The environment was not at all serious but in great silly fun. Prizes were awarded to the team which had completed first on all the challenges.
The meet-and-mingle activities ended at around 11pm, and everyone returned to their set ups and continued playing their games. Naturally, mine was Destiny by Bungie, a first-person shooter mixed in as an online role-playing game. As the player-versus-player game mode were loading, I kept track of my connection level and was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the Internet speed was. Often a bit of lag, but no worse than at home while I’m gaming and my mom or my occasionally visiting sister was doing a download.
But as should have expected, there were a number of downtime or sudden disconnections that pricked under my skin. As I was pulled out from a particularly good kill streak (10 kills no death!), I sighed to myself that for an annual event that had won a Guinness World Record, this year’s first night did not start well enough on the Internet connection front.
It was later found out that there were players who were secretly doing multiple torrent downloads even though organizers has specifically asked them not to, as this action hogs their bandwidth resource. A new warning was issued over the PA and the disconnections became less frequent.
By 2am, the air-conditioned hall was freezing and the lights were still very bright. Yet many gamers were only still warming up. I, however, was exhausted. I gathered my essentials and said my thanks to the guys as they continued to race, shoot, slash, and smash to the highest score. Some of them said they would be spending the night right at their stations, so they offered to keep an eye open on my PS4.
Really, they were not going to retire to sleep? That was my last thought before I dozed off on my makeshift bed in the ladies’ surau.
Cyberfusion 2015 – Day 2
Apparently the gamers in Cyberfusion2015 do sleep. In fact, they snore, grunt, yawn and even rolled over yet somehow managed to stay fixed in their chairs without straps or seatbelts. Even their hands were attached like glue to their mouse or keyboard or controllers. And at odd moments, they became wide awake and continued their game mode like they had not paused. I thought about the notes I got on corporate power-napping in my company and wondered if these gamers wrote the book.
Of course, not everyone where doing the literal 48-hour non-stop route. As I went for a light snack before breakfast, some Peppero chocolate sticks I kept at my station, there were some gamers who had opted to camp / bed up right next to their expensive rigs, wrapping themselves in a mummy-blanket. Particularly for those who brought along their nice comfy gaming chairs from home.
Others, were doing the literal camping. I meant literally camping. Cyberfusion2015 had attracted people from as far as Kuantan and Johor, so the organizers made a nice corner just for gamers to set up their dome tents. Wow, that’s convenient and hard-core.
Breakfast that day consisted of nasi lemak, sugary donuts and potato curry puff. I eagerly continued on my multiplayer session soon after.
I was halfway through a 6v6 multiplayer mode when two guys from JOMGaming made a surprise visit! Among other things, they were both familiar Destiny players throughout the gaming community. I was surprised, happy, and a little nervous, especially when they took a seat and watched me get rekt’d when earlier I was doing just fine!
Ok, so I might had been a little bit more than nervous.
The highlight of that day was when my regular Destiny mates, Eddy, Sham, Aie and Badd, stopped by for a visit. I did not know how they managed to make it pass security without passtags but if anyone have enough oozy charm and could pull some tricks, it would be them. Sham lived nearby and JOMGaming invited all of us for a Cyberjaya lunch at a nearby Arab restaurant.
It was one of the treasured moments of being able to meet and laugh with fellas in the flesh when we had mostly danced, dodged, ducked, shot, sniped, and teabagged in the game world.
The icing on the cake was when Sarah, aka Akirien and fellow girl gamer, joined us for a post-lunch chat. After lunch, I went back to the Grand Hall with Sarah, who was curious about the event. There I introduced her to some of the other PS4 gamers and their preferred games. Sarah even found an old friend here!
“Are there other girls playing?” she asked.
I had not thought about that in ages. Sure, there were other girls around the area, but only one or two girl gamers and not the twenty or thirty estimated to be playing. Most were the gamers’ family visiting for a short while or committee members at work. Last night, it was just me and one other girl camping to sleep in the ladies’ surau.
Sarah and I then closed the visit with finding a really nice spot the hall for an awesome duo selfie.
As it was a weekend, Destiny’s Trials of Osiris game mode was on. It was a highly competitive mode in Destiny which demands excellent communication and great attention. Unfortunately, I was unable to properly utilize these two factors while as a participant in the Cyberfusion2015.
With around 300 LAN party gamers on the floor, the event was not a quiet thing. There were lucky draws at regular intervals, the winners’ names called out excitedly through the PA. There was a speed assembly competition for the fastest and most correct way to put together a gaming CPU.
There was also some mini tournaments live on stage. Players compete for fun in various types of co-op games such as Rocket League and their total game was projected onto the hall’s large screen sheet for idle gamers to see.
Although I expected the noise, I did not realize how not having proper USB headset would affect my gaming experience. Granted, it was not as noisy as a U2 concert. But with my cheap two earpieces and no noise-cancelling technology on my microphone, my online fireteam were having trouble hearing each other over my background noise, much less able to hear me at all.
To preserve their sanity (and their best interests), I opted out of my clan’s party chat and offered my apologies via group’s Whatsapp. For the rest of the night, I continued practice on my 6v6 multiplayer mode, in anticipation of the Destiny’s upcoming Iron Banner event.
After a late supper of keropok lekor and tasty chicken satay (four stick per person only!), it got too cold to hold the controller, so I watched my PS4 neighbours play an exciting co-op COD: BO3 Zombies. Eventually, I myself turned dead on my feet and called it a night, dreaming of a 1940s zombie apocalypse.
Cyberfusion2015 – Day 3
After a late breakfast of fried noodles with a hot dog slice, I took some time to walk the length and breadth of the hall and observe other gamers.
Since PC gaming is huge in Malaysia, and being curious and the scrub I was, I also observed gaming rigs of those in the LAN party. These guys were on some of the biggest and meanest gaming rigs I had ever seen outside Instagram. Huge bulking CPUs with coloured casings, CPUs with clear casings and glowing cooling tubes, CPU with aerodynamic casings and flashing LED lights, etc. There were monitors big and sleek, some from brands I had never heard of nor able to pronounce. Call me impressed, the display was a huge example how serious Malaysian gamers are on tricking out the best gaming devices.
It was the last day of Cyberfusion 2015 and much of the action was centered on the final rounds of the Tournament. The organizers have had their own equipment set up in the right corner of the hall, so Tournament participants did not need to bring their own devices like the LAN party participants. Instead, rows and rows of PC stations with ASUS monitors were arranged and chairs were provided for the teams to be on stand-by before it was their turn to compete.
The Tournament semi-finals went on throughout the day and continued after lunch (chicken rendang with white rice plus blackcurrant or orange juice drink). The finals then were shown prominently on stage screen for the large audience’s benefit. It was an exciting time as there was a 12-year-old FIFA finalist and there were also a Singaporean team and an Indonesian team had come to compete.
Eventually the Tournaments closed with a cheer and a bang. During the closing ceremony, winners were assembled proudly on stage as they receive all kinds of well-deserved prizes from Corsair Gaming, Cudo technologies, Razer, and TECH Armory. Their delight was clearly shown as they stood to be photographed for Cyberfusion2015 history.
For me and my other LAN Party participants, it was nearly 6pm and was time to pack up. Devices were turned off, monitors unplugged, and USB cables disconnected. Bags were repacked, blankets and towels wrapped, and rubbish collected into convenient plastic bags held out by the two kindly cleaning ladies. AB managed to find an unused push trolley, which was not an easy feat. We rolled out the heavier equipment to place them the front entrance where our parked cars were there with open booths ready to store our precious devices.
We stuck around for the rest of the closing ceremony as the host and the organizing committee gave us, and their official endorser Esports Malaysia (ESM), a big thank you speech for being a part of a very significant convention in Malaysian gaming society. During the time, I exchanged PSN IDs with several of the PS4 guys and promised to purchase COD:BO3 to join them for some game time. They cheered and looked forward to when I next get online.
I had an amazing experience in Cyberfusion2015. I interacted with a gaming community that was bigger than my own Destiny clan. I watched the newest and most exciting games players were on right now. I discovered different add-ons to my equipment and improved my limited peripheral knowledge (aka must get Razer Kraken!). I even worn down the KontrolFreek sticks on my Dualshock 4!
Will I be back for Cyberfusion 2016? Heck yes. And Call of Duty players better watch out!