Gaming Cafes and the History of the Business; “Game Pods”

Gaming Cafes and the future of high-tech arcades

Gaming Cafes are great businesses. They are not so famous over here in the United States, but I know over in other foreign countries like China, Japan, Hong-Kong they are pretty common. Gaming Cafes are turning into high-tech arcades.

Recommended Videos

In capitol city of Helena, Montana, United States, there was a small business that formed back in 2007/2008ish. They are not around anymore but they had a high-tech arcade. It was called Game Pods.

I wish I had pictures, but the guys who owned the business took down their website. It was a fantastic place to be if you were a gamer. When you walked in, all you could see was games on the wall. You could pick any game you wanted to play and bring it to the front desk. Much like Blockbuster, you’d walk to the front desk, they would give you the game and controller for that system (kind of like renting a movie). Then you would tell them how many hours you want to play; say you wanted to play 3 hours, it was only 3 bucks an hour to play but the more hours you wanted to play, the more of a discount you got. I played for 3 hours my first time there.

The most famous game of that time was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Boy, everyone was playing it when I got in to the main room. There were about 20-30 nice flat screen LCD TVs, a huge gaming chair, an Xbox 360 and PS3 at each TV with an inter-cooler hooked up to each gaming system. Each station was split apart by 4-5 feet so you had some breathing room. The owners of Game Pods put these huge black tarps over the windows so during the day there was no sunlight. The only light you had was coming from the TV screens of all the gamers. If there was a free seat, you could take it, just like a free game in an normal arcade.They also had two projectors with the same setup, and if it was free, you could use it.

A group of guys were playing some Call of Duty on the same system I was and they asked me to join them, so I sat between some pro-gamers and had the time of my life. Gaming is so much fun when you have other people playing right next to you–it’s more known as LAN parties but it was also across the internet of course. Whether we won or lost, I found myself becoming less frustrated with this game because the dudes next to me were awesome. After my three hours were up, they called my name on the overhead speaker and I returned to the front not to leave, but to pay for another two hours to go play on the computers.

The computers were two floors down in the basement. The first set of stairs I walked down was a huge area for parties. They had Rockband, Dance Dance Revolution and the Wii set up on a projector. That was the only Wii they had in that place, thank god. There was also a Dippin Dots there too! Boy was I excited to eat some dippin dots. I walked down the second flight of stairs into the basement, where you had to be at least 17+ to enter to keep all the little annoying kids out of there. It was nice and cool, little lighting, there were 10 more flat screen tvs with the same gaming setup as the first floor and then another room with the computers. When I walked into the other room, there were 5 Dell XPS top of the line gaming computers. The four guys that were down there were all on World of Warcraft! Although different servers, different factions and the cross-realm dungeoning/raiding was not out yet, we all engaged into some awesome conversations about the game and some cool debates.

These computers were awesome though, the game looked totally different from what it looked like on my computer back at home. Shaders, shadows, sun shafts and any detail that makes a game’s graphics look good was on the setting “Ultra” which was above the “High” setting and it was the highest setting you could go.

Game Pods also held all nighters every Saturday night. $20 to get in from 8pm till 8am; a lot of older guys about in their twenties came in during these nights. 20 bucks gave you the night, any game you wanted to play, a few slices of pizza and a drink you can refill all you want. They also held tournaments, on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The grand prize was $100, 2nd place $50, 3rd place $25. It would be all variations of game types too like Search and Destroy, Team Death and Capture the Flag. It lasted usually until 2 am. Those were some fun nights at the place. Sadly I live in Massachusetts and I’m visiting family in Montana for a short amount of time so I only got to go twice.

This place is no longer in business though, due to the wrong location and lack of advertising. Helena, Montana is not too populated with young gamers. It’s a city, yes, and it’s growing and yes the business was on the main strip of downtown, but it was the wrong area to do it. These types of businesses need to be placed in big cities and places where gaming is very common. For example, famous board walks, Boston, Downtown New York, Anaheim, CA… Also these Game Pods did not have the right target market. Their target market was 9 years old to 16 years old. Which I can see why they did that, but they need to aim for 13 years all the way to 23 years old because that is pretty much the age range of 80% of the gamers on the internet.

Also, what would have really helped them is to make a deal with Alienware, Microsoft and/or Sony to have them exclusively support the businesses with their products.

In conclusion of my topic, this is the next type of arcade but it has to start in the right areas of the country or world. Places like Game Pods and what I described exist but they are not in the US. We need places like this in the United States!


GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article 3DS Online Server Shutdown Makes These Pokemon Features Obsolete
Player enters Festival plaza in Pokemon Sun & Moon
Read Article Best Games for Godzilla x Kong Fans
Godzilla faces King Kong in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire
Read Article How Darkest Dungeon 2 Integrates Fan-favorites From the Original
Kingdoms crest for new game mode.
Read Article Top 10 Dungeons & Dragons 5e Spells We Need in Baldur’s Gate 3
caster casting a fire spell in baldurs gate 3 by the docks
Read Article 10 Game Modes We’ll Miss After the Nintendo Network Shutdown
Nintendo characters in fighting poses
Related Content
Read Article 3DS Online Server Shutdown Makes These Pokemon Features Obsolete
Player enters Festival plaza in Pokemon Sun & Moon
Read Article Best Games for Godzilla x Kong Fans
Godzilla faces King Kong in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire
Read Article How Darkest Dungeon 2 Integrates Fan-favorites From the Original
Kingdoms crest for new game mode.
Read Article Top 10 Dungeons & Dragons 5e Spells We Need in Baldur’s Gate 3
caster casting a fire spell in baldurs gate 3 by the docks
Read Article 10 Game Modes We’ll Miss After the Nintendo Network Shutdown
Nintendo characters in fighting poses
Author
Jay Yuh
False