Sometimes you just feel like blowing off some steam and playing a video game in the dark at home, just you and the comforting glow of the screen. But sometimes you get the urge to play with others. Hopping online with friends, you can connect with people miles away while you lay snuggly in bed, a book as your mousepad. But sometimes you get the wild urge to leave the house, and that’s where gaming lounges come in. Gaming lounges are a unique place. You don’t have the dissonance of playing at home with a bunch of peers far away– you take comfort in being in the same room as your comrades, not to mention you also meet new people.
Last week, I went to a gaming lounge with my husband and his little brother, and we played Left 4 Dead II for several hours. Since there were only three of us and it’s a four-player game, the fourth player was the computer. So, when zombie hoards ripped us apart, we used all our med packs, unlabeled pills, and healing supplies on ourselves, leaving the computer to fend for itself, since it wasn’t a real player. However, sometime within the 3 hours we played, a fellow comrade from the gaming lounge joined the game and we hadn’t noticed the name change. So, we’re not exactly sure how much time passed while we left the poor guy mangled and bleeding alone before we realized it was no longer the computer but an actual person! Once we realized our mistake, I called out, “Sorry, dude!” and healed him with a med pack, and a guy from across the room looked up and said, “Thank you!” And the four of us banded together and were a much stronger force with the computer player out of the picture.
Our new comrade had played the game a lot more than we had, and he was gracious when we messed up, helped us when we were on the verge of death, and schemed with us for our next moves. We became friends. And as I revelled in our gaming friendship, another guy across the room bought pizza for everyone who was still at the lounge at midnight on a Saturday night. There were no jokes about noobs. There were no socially awkward remarks for my being the only woman in the place. There were no angry yells. And there was free pizza for all. This is one pretty cool gaming lounge– a place for human connection, in addition to virtual connection. Call me sentimental.
You can check out the gaming lounge we frequent here. It’s called Gamerz Funk. Don’t judge it by the name.