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

Recap: This early 2000s era image – “as old as the Internet,” some might say – was a hot commodity in the forum era. It depicts one especially dedicated LAN gamer that was clearly willing to go to extreme measures to game with his compadres.

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 now 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