Remember the good ‘ole days when the only way to play with your friends was in-person via a local area network? While LAN parties aren’t as common anymore due to the advent of online gaming, there are still a number of reasons to play over LAN. Whether you’re seeking a more stable connection, enhanced privacy, or just those nostalgic vibes, the best LAN games are still the way to get your fix.
This article takes you through our picks for the top 5 LAN games on the market, including RPGs, shooters, turn-based strategies, and more. We’ll also take a look at the mechanics behind the genre for a more in-depth understanding of the technology and history behind the games. Are you ready to find the perfect LAN game for your next get-together? Let’s get started.
Best LAN Games in 2021
We’ve curated this list of the best LAN games of 2021 to help you find your next favorite multiplayer title.
1. Rocket League
Our pick for one of the best LAN racing games for PC
- Website: https://www.rocketleague.com/
- Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
- Genre: Racing, Sports
- Developer: Psyonix
- Release: 2015
If you’re looking for a multi-platform racing/sports crossover game that features LAN play, then Rocket League is the perfect option for you. Players assume control of a rocket-powered car and team up with three other people to battle it out against the enemy team. Your objective? Launch the ball into the opponent’s goal while protecting your own. Rocket League is incredibly popular among casual and hardcore players alike, and it’s managed to carve out its own niche with unique mechanics and fast-paced competitive play. Play over a local connection to test your skills against friends.
2. Left 4 Dead 2
Our pick for one of the best LAN party games
- Website: http://www.l4d.com/
- Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox 360
- Genre: FPS
- Developer: Valve Corporation
- Release: 2009
As the sequel to Left for Dead, there was a lot of pressure on Valve to develop an immersive and exciting game. The verdict? They delivered. Left 4 Dead 2 is a co-op FPS that’s set in a post-apocalyptic world full of bloodthirsty zombies. Players assume control of one of 4 survivors with only one goal in mind– survival. Navigate the main storyline and battle your way through hordes of enemies, abandoned buildings, and other challenging obstacles. To help you through, you can pair up with friends on Steam via local or long-distance LAN. But be careful! It’ll take a lot of teamwork to make it out alive.
3. Civilization VI
Our pick for one of the best LAN games for PC
- Website: https://civilization.com/
- Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, Switch, iOS
- Genre: Turn-based strategy
- Developer: Firaxis Games
- Release: 2016
When you think of turn-based strategy games, Civilization is probably one of the first to come to mind. And for good reason. The series has captured fans across the globe with challenging gameplay that requires players to take a fledgling empire and navigate their way through the centuries. Exploration and imperialism are the name of the game, and strategy is crucial if you want to become a global superpower and achieve victory. Civilization VI is an excellent game to play with friends, as it pits player vs player in a battle of wits and tactical prowess. Outmaneuver the opposition, build a dynasty, and cement your legacy as a master strategist.
4. Team Fortress 2
Our pick for one of the best LAN games ever
- Website: http://www.teamfortress.com/
- Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, PS3, Xbox 360
- Genre: FPS
- Developer: Valve Corporation
- Release: 2007
Team Fortress 2 is well-known for its optimized first-person shooter mechanics, action-packed gameplay, and playful graphics. The premise? Players take control of one of nine character classes to battle it out against the opposition. There are several different game modes, and players must use their weapons, gear, and special abilities to outgun the enemy team. The game is lauded as one of the best FPS games of all time, and its LAN capabilities make it the perfect game to play with friends.
5. Secrets of Grindea
Our pick for one of the best LAN multiplayer games
- Website: http://www.secretsofgrindea.com/
- Platform: Windows
- Genre: RPG
- Developer: Pixel Ferrets
- Release: Open Beta
Secrets of Grindea is a 2D RPG that’s currently in open beta. Gameplay revolves around exploration, as players assume control of a hero at the precipice of a grand adventure. Leave your small town, set forth with your sword and shield, and see what the world has to offer. You’ll go on quests, craft new and exciting items, solve hidden puzzles, and uncover epic loot. The game pays homage to old school RPGs and is the perfect title for you and up to 3 friends to roam and explore. If you’re looking for one of the best LAN multiplayer games, hop into the world of Grindea!
What are LAN Games?
LAN games are video games that can be played with others via a local area network. A local area network, or LAN, is a computer network that encompasses a small area, e.g. a large room or small house. LAN games are developed with local network access in mind, and players can join their nearby friend’s games to go on virtual adventures together. In addition, local area networks can be expanded with services such as Hamachi to give players access to friends and fellow gamers across the globe.
There are all types of different LAN games, but the most popular titles are indie and 2D video games. That’s because the majority of modern multiplayer or co-op games feature full online functionality, negating the need for local connections. However, LAN games are still great for players with poor network connections and those seeking enhanced privacy. Besides, who doesn’t love an epic LAN party?
General Thoughts on LAN Games
We’ve written our thoughts about LAN games to give you a comprehensive look at the ins and outs of local multiplayer gaming.
1. LAN parties are amazing.
A LAN party is an event where a large group of gamers play multiplayer titles via a local network. This is a common occurrence in school computer labs and everyday get-togethers across the country.
2. Co-op or competitive? Your choice.
There are many different types of LAN games, including those offering co-op and competitive play. This ensures the perfect gaming fix no matter which style you prefer.
3. Hamachi offers long-distance LAN.
While the service has come a long way since the early days of LAN networking, Hamachi remains an excellent choice for playing LAN games with your friends over long distances.
4. All major platforms support LAN play.
In addition to the PC, Mac, and Linux platforms, LAN play is supported on the PS4, Xbox One, and Switch thanks to their integrated local networking features.
5. LAN games are still popular.
Contrary to popular belief, LAN games remain a staple in game libraries across the world. Whether you’re looking to sink your teeth into an old favorite or play an upcoming indie or co-op title, LAN games remain an exciting way to play with friends.
Be sure to check out our other gaming roundups for co-op play on every platform: