Many old multiplayer computer game titles command small, but dedicated fan followings long after their publishers end support for them. To the companies behind these titles, these pockets of support aren’t enough to justify the expense of keeping an Internet multiplayer support system running. These games do offer multiplayer action on local networks without support from the publisher, though. If you have a bunch of friends over at your house who like the game, they can all connect their laptops to a network and play together. What do you do if you need to play with friends who are all over the world, though?
A virtual private network could be the answer
Some old games without Internet multiplayer support can be made to connect players together on the Internet in this way. This requires some difficult tinkering like port forwarding, though.
An alternative exists. A virtual private network is a system that is able to connect computers to one another over the Internet in such a way that they see themselves as part of a local network. While an old LAN-capable game may not be able to directly connect players over the Internet, it can be fooled into doing it on a VPN.
Connecting players through a VPN is never as good as it would be if the players were on an actual local network. Some latency does show up when players are all over the country or the world. Nevertheless, the latency delays are no worse than they usually are on any multiplayer Internet game.
How do you set up a VPN?
Windows offers inbuilt tools to help you set up a VPN server on your own. These tools tend to be difficult to set up, though. If you need an easy VPN experience while gaming, it’s a good idea to choose a product like Hamachi that’s known to work well for gamers.
Many players prefer Hamachi because it requires no tech knowledge, whatsoever. It is also free if your gaming group has no more than five members. If you have more people on your game, you need to upgrade to the paid version.
Firing up a VPN
Getting a game started on Hamachi is easy. Every member of the gaming group needs to download and install the software. Once it’s installed, one member of the group needs to click on Create a new network and set up a network ID and password. This user can share these login credentials with other members of the group. When they enter these credentials into their copy of Hamachi, they are logged on to the private network. As far as their computers are concerned, they are all on a local group.
Once everyone’s on the same virtual network, getting a game going is as easy as turning it on in local network mode.