Chris asked: “I used to play computer games over LAN networks. Now I’m playing with people in the same room, over wi-fi. But sometimes we lose the connection. Is there a low cost, almost free way for us to wire up together and play over a hard-wired connection?”
Chris, you can wire up the way you used to. If you want to go cheap, your WiFi is probably being broadcast by a router with network port you can use to plug in your computers.
Network cables are inexpensive, so that shouldn’t be a problem either.
Your main cost will likely be that many modern laptops don’t have ethernet ports, some are not even as wide of those ports are tall. If you’re using laptops, that may be a problem.
You can remedy that by using a dongle to add a port to your computer, but don’t go for the least expensive option, you want something that will give you a fast connection, if possible gigabit capability, and that may require a faster port. USB 3 or Thunderbolt are good choices.
If your router doesn’t not have the number of ports you need, you can buy reasonably inexpensive switches.
You really shouldn’t need much more than that, just connect your computers like you used to in the old days, and start playing.