Comments: 276 • Responses: 79 • Date: 2014-07-07 15:22:12 UTCsource
jfbarnes528 karma2014-07-07 19:26:40 UTC
Holy shit. I work down the road from you! I'm coming by after work today. Y'all open after 5, right?
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rsteele198125 karma2014-07-07 19:28:15 UTC
psilontech26 karma2014-07-07 15:34:59 UTC
How do you charge, hourly or by the day? How much per unit of time?
What game systems do you have setup? About how large is your total game library at this point?
Roughly, what would you estimate the population of the are you operate out of as being? I'm curious as to if this is a business that could survive outside of a large city.
How many 'regulars' would you estimate you have? You know the type, the people who just hang out all the time.
How do you deal with the stench that invariably arises with large numbers of sweaty nerds being packed into one place for too long?
rsteele198137 karma2014-07-07 15:50:35 UTC
We have door fees that range in price from $3 for 1 hour up to $100 for a month pass of game time.
We have a lot of systems at this point:
10 PC's and space for another 10+/- PC's that have yet to be built but a lot of customers bring their own setup.
Augusta, GA has a large metro area ranging from Grovetown, Harlem, North Augusta, SC, and Aiken, SC. Total there are about 600,000 people in a 30 mile radius here.
Regular customers are the lifeblood of Level Up. We have a group of about 50 that I would consider regular as in the store at least once a week if not more often. That number grows on a regular basis.
Honestly outside of the smash brothers tournaments and perhaps 1 or 2 individuals smell is a non issue. We clean the place, keep it as cool as possible and I've never had a large group of smelly "nerds" in the store before.
chasmoffaith18 karma2014-07-07 17:49:11 UTC
Smash brothers tournaments smell?
rsteele198130 karma2014-07-07 17:52:38 UTC
Well some of the players most definitely more so than other groups.
tomutwit13 karma2014-07-07 19:57:44 UTC
/r/smashbros working itself into a nerd rage now...
rsteele198144 karma2014-07-07 20:00:22 UTC
I didn't say all of them stink. Just that crowd has a lot of people that don't tend to get out much..and last time I swear the dude smelled of ass and onions before he got in the door...people complained to me. So when we do smash tournaments we have to mention hygiene every time.
Sorry smash players help your peers tell them to bathe regularly.
COMMANDER_THROATFUCK11 karma2014-07-07 22:56:07 UTC
This is just hilarious, but I appreciate your honesty. I hate when people sugar coat their AMA because of PR reasons.
im_always_fapping6 karma2014-07-08 00:53:51 UTC
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-08 02:30:26 UTC
Flapping and throatfuck...now that's a pair...of aces...
YourFavoriteMuffin14 karma2014-07-07 16:20:08 UTC
If you had to compare your patrons to a type of muffin, which would you choose and why?
And on a more serious note, that's a sweet setup you've got. Major props.
rsteele198121 karma2014-07-07 16:38:41 UTC
Banana Nut. Fruity and nutty but really really good over all.
YourInnate12 karma2014-07-07 17:07:39 UTC
What do you think the hardest part is about setting up a place like this is?
I've wanted to do it for a very long time, but have never been able to figure out how I approach the bank for a loan and say "I would like a loan to open up a place for people to play video games they can play at home for free, but I'll charge them money to play it here."
For the PC players that bring their own rigs, do you still charge them?
Have you been able to secure any sort of sponsorship deals (or other kinds of deals) with suppliers such as sony or microsoft or even PC builders? What about deals with Gamestop (like a discount for buying 10 copies of every major game that comes out or something like that)?
Have you tried selling food on premises also? Small stuff of course, like you could/would get in a billiards type environment (chips, maybe hot pretzels).
Do you think traditional arcades on on their way out and this is the way of the future?
Would you be interested in franchising? Setting up similar shops under your brand in different cities?
Do you test the waters with different consoles? Try stuff like setting up gameboy's/vita's and find that nobody plays them, so you get rid of them and make room for more played consoles?
If/when you hold tournaments, how does that factor in to gambling laws?
Edit: With everything being online multiplayer now instead of couch multiplayer, you must have a decent internet connection to be running all of these. What kind of connection do you have? Also, how do you deal with PS + subscriptions and MS Gold subscriptions?
rsteele198120 karma2014-07-07 17:17:21 UTC
The hardest part is choosing where you invest your time, energy, and money, for the biggest reward. It's an evolving business model that changes with new tech and new customers very often.
In order to get a business loan you'll almost have to attach the lan side to electronics repair (like TV's PC, console, tablets, phones, ect.) or retail sales of video games and accessories. When you tell them that video games did 15 billion in sales last year and you want a place that sells and acts as a modern day arcade that focuses on social interaction between peers rather that say "They can play at home but I want to charge them to play here" it gives you a bit more solid ground to stand on.
Anyone bringing in their own rigs console or PC is charged a discounted rate after all still using my power, space, and internet service.
Sponsorships are hard when your not a large company. It many depends on contacts. BAWLS energy drink is always willing to send us swag to give away, gamestop gives a lot of their throw away media, posters, standees, ect. Other than that I have seen Riot support LOL tournaments with free riot points for winners, steelseries also supports some active centers. Beyond that it's up to your contact list and networking skills.
Prepared food even in a microwave requires a full health inspection and counterspace, sinks, ect. It's not cheap and I honestly do well enough with the prepackaged snacks and drinks we offer.
I think franchising is a big step. I'd much rather consult and get paid to help others get started. Offer things like set up, cable networking, floor plans and lay out designs, ect.
Yes. We have always been of the mindset the more you offer the more people you can draw in. So we offer as much as possible and add to that list whenever we can. I have rares like 3D0, turbographix 16, super famicon, ect.
Thoughtlessx12 karma2014-07-07 17:10:28 UTC
In Minneapolis a few years ago,I would frequen a similar louge called "The Monster Den" Had some of the best times in my life there playing Halo 1 in a LAN. Glad to see your business is thriving!
One question, what brings you more icome? PC or Console
rsteele198110 karma2014-07-07 17:21:52 UTC
Depends on the players that week. League and the other free to play games are great because they cost me nothing to install. But their player base is extraordinarily sensitive and can cause real problems. Console players can be just as bad but in general they have access to the entire store so they can play anything while here.
Certain markets do better with PC's and certain ones do better with consoles. It really depends on your target demographic, and while some people/owners disagree your location does play a part in whether PC's or consoles are more or less popular.
Berserk29083 karma2014-07-07 21:07:06 UTC
I hope you have installed SC2 too. Spawn function allows you to install on all the PCs with one license.
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 21:08:10 UTC
Yeah the client is free to install for most blizzard games.
nidens11 karma2014-07-07 16:18:34 UTC
rsteele198114 karma2014-07-07 16:39:56 UTC
CRT / Tube Tv's are the only way to go for the older games.
Games like Duck Hunt only work with CRT's also old games on new screens look awful. They get stretched out and distorted and just don't play as nice as they do on the older screens.
PM_ME_Y0UR_ABS11 karma2014-07-07 15:33:36 UTC
How did you build your clientele? And are they mostly local or do you get people from outside of GA?
rsteele198116 karma2014-07-07 15:53:09 UTC
When we first started I did mid night launch parties for gamestop every Monday night at midnight. This happened for games like COD black Ops, Borderlands 2, Skyrim, BF3, and many many more. I handed out fliers, held tournaments, and basically sold this place as THE PLACE to play with your friends online, lan, whatever you wanted we could provide.
I have visitors from all over Augusta is a military city, we have soldiers here all the time from all over the USA and they usually frequent Level Up as much as possible. I've made lasting friendships with a lot of these people.
Leokul10 karma2014-07-07 15:50:35 UTC
I have had the dream of doing something similar to this since I was in highschool. Kudos to you for making it a reality for yourself!
Question, if you're brave enough to answer:
What was your rough start-up cost for a store that size? Including all hardware, materials, building supplies, labour, etc.
rsteele198112 karma2014-07-07 16:04:48 UTC
We spent about $150k including everything we did.
L-Carnitin5 karma2014-07-07 19:48:25 UTC
rsteele19814 karma2014-07-07 19:49:05 UTC
My wife is listed at the owner and I am her manager.
mstrblueskys4 karma2014-07-07 20:03:23 UTC
Nice! Does she also work there?
rsteele198112 karma2014-07-07 20:04:26 UTC
She runs a clothing alterations shop next door. She makes dresses (up to $10k a dress) she's also done cosplay out fits for some locals for momocon and dragoncon in Atlanta.
mooseroast4 karma2014-07-07 20:33:54 UTC
This may be a little off topic but I'm wondering how came into 150k for startup costs. Especially since it sounds like it was out of your own pocket. Good at saving those pennies?
rsteele19816 karma2014-07-07 20:36:43 UTC
Robbed banks in another life...(j/k)
SmiIeyMcgee7 karma2014-07-07 17:50:26 UTC
You have done an excellent job of your place. Absolutely incredible! If I lived anywhere remotely close you could guarantee id be there regularly just based on the photos. So my biggest question is how did you take the whole concept of doing this and make it a reality? Did others advise you agaist it? Again, great job and goodluck with your business!
rsteele198112 karma2014-07-07 17:56:47 UTC
The concept to opening was very rushed less than 3 months and I wish we had more time to plan and create a buzz about the business in other parts of the city. It was just an opportunity that we couldn't pass up.
We didn't really have anyone close to us say "That is a horrible idea" But plenty of people ask me "why should I play here?"
My response is always the same. Why do people go to bars, out to eat, anything that they can do at home cheaper? Because people are social creatures. We all long for a connection even the people playing on line games have guilds and clans that they are a part of. Gamers a even more social than most people give them credit for. We prove this every weekend when we fit as many people as possible.
BigGreenYamo6 karma2014-07-07 17:00:50 UTC
Congrats! We had a place like that open up around here in the summer of 2006. I don't believe they were still open by fall 2006.
I think mainly it was because the owner's shitbag son would bring all his friends to play Halo 2 and, even if they all were paying, they were such obnoxious assholes to everyone (the son thought of himself as a MLG just on the verge of being discovered and sponsored, and would legit start screaming anytime someone killed him) they drove everyone else away.
It was pretty cool that after the opening weekend, my friend and I had gotten along with the owners well enough that they let us in after hours and allowed liquor. Then the owner kicked my ass in Guitar Hero.
I don't have a question. Sorry.
Actually, I do. How do you deal with the unruly types?
rsteele198153 karma2014-07-07 17:06:51 UTC
Zero tolerance. One warning then they got to go. You can't let a group or even 1 person act out, break things, start fights, if you get that reputation then no one will want to play. Focus on fun and safety and the people rejoice and have a good time with their peers playing.
I've had parents tell others in front of me "this man doesn't put up with any bull, and that's why we know Jr/lil miss is ok here."
Again some people don't like it but they don't have to pay my bills or run my business. We've done very well so far and hopefully we get to keep doing it!
TJ_McWeaksauce5 karma2014-07-07 17:02:09 UTC
What do you think has been the best source of marketing for your business? Do you rely mostly on positive word of mouth? Do you do a lot on Facebook, Twitter, and such?
rsteele19815 karma2014-07-07 17:04:27 UTC
Social media is by far the greatest tool for advertising for a small business. It can be a double edge sword too (Amy's Bakery or whatever from that TV show).
I've done paid radio ads, signage, ect. But facebook events, contests, and cross promotions with gamestop, pizza places, and related businesses are the best things to do. Most of the time there's no cost involved other than giving away some free time. If your customers love you they will sell the business for you no problem!
TJ_McWeaksauce7 karma2014-07-07 17:14:34 UTC
Man, a lot of respect for you in having a successful small business. I tried it, but I hated doing the things that entrepreneurs need to do. One of them being reaching out to prospective clients using social media. Kudos to you for being able to do that, well!
Would you say that social media marketing takes up a big chunk of your time, week-to-week?
rsteele19817 karma2014-07-07 17:19:09 UTC
Yes. I try to always post pictures of events, and cool things that happen at the shop. Last week a Delorean pulls in to our lot its a customer of my wife's. I grab my Back to the Future model and run outside to ask the guy for a picture. Throw that up on facebook, instragram, reddit, and get real time interaction with several 100 people. Nothing else out there that I can pay for offers that type of response.
Damanta2 karma2014-07-07 17:13:20 UTC
Do you have a twitter?
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 17:19:30 UTC
I do although I don't update it enough. I think the next big one will be reddit and/or instagram.
DimlightHero1 karma2014-07-07 18:08:25 UTC
Both of those are already pretty big.
rsteele19814 karma2014-07-07 18:10:21 UTC
I mean in the way that myspace was years ago and with facebook in decline with the younger groups reddit and instagram will be the next social media platforms that businesses can use to reach their customers directly. Not that either isn't already pretty popular.
HIPPO_BLOWJOB5 karma2014-07-07 15:32:18 UTC
What do you think of MLG? Do you think it should be considered a real sport?
rsteele198112 karma2014-07-07 15:55:18 UTC
The dedication it takes to master some of these games is definitely a real thing. Some of these players put in countless hours of practice and training in order to have their minds and muscles in their hands be nimble enough to pull off what they do. I believe it can be a real sport if they would lose some of the toxicity and negative stereotypes associated with some communities.
omfgforealz5 karma2014-07-07 16:24:37 UTC
Were you a gamer as a kid? What were your most played games back when? How do you feel the cultural image of video games/gamers changed since those days?
rsteele19817 karma2014-07-07 16:37:37 UTC
I have always played games. Video games, card games, board games, I love the culture, I enjoy the imagination that it takes to get really involved in these types of things.
Games are more violent and realistic now. I think that creates a stereotype that is a negative image of games and gamers. If a book or movie is violent people cry out but when a game that you can actually control takes that same violence and puts you at the helm they have a more serious issue with it. No one cried when you shot the ducks on duck hunt, but Call of Duty is supposedly creating murders. I don't see it that way but that's the stereotype that some people believe.
It's unfortunate and I do what I can to educate that most of our customers are straight A, well behaved, and well mannered, but the loud and obnoxious ones make that a hard sell.
shmedic4 karma2014-07-07 16:57:34 UTC
Is this a popular business? Do you have new people come in all the time, or do you mainly have a steady basis of clients?
rsteele19817 karma2014-07-07 17:02:14 UTC
We stay pretty busy. There's an ebb and flow to our business like many others. We have peak and off peak hours. Doing so many different things keeps us pretty busy. Speaking of I have a disc drive to repair today!
Jaypillz5 karma2014-07-07 20:21:29 UTC
Wow that seems like a busy day!
rsteele19818 karma2014-07-07 20:23:55 UTC
Well the disc drive replacement in a 360 only takes about 30-45 minutes including testing. But there are also 5 or 6 people here playing which means game changes, snack and drink purchases, ect. The the phone rings every 5 minutes with questions about when we close, how much for this, and when our next all nighter is. So it does stay busy most days.
mandlar1 karma2014-07-07 21:24:29 UTC
Do you have a website? Some of the common calls might be handled by a simple website with your hours, prices and FAQs.
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 21:25:08 UTC
That exists..on google, yahoo, facebook, and our website...
ReverseSolipsist4 karma2014-07-07 20:37:39 UTC
I only have time to bring my godson in on Saturday night, but that group buys the whole place out every time. He's 11, so it bums him out seriously, because his mom is single and doesn't have time to take him. Is there anything we can do?
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 21:13:40 UTC
What time on Saturdays? It isn't always packed but that is our busiest time. So there isn't much we can do about it.
koruwa3 karma2014-07-07 18:11:20 UTC
Could you give a rough estimate on your hardware and software numbers? How many PC rigs, consoles, and games do you guys have?
Reading all your responses in here really makes me want to quit my job and start something similar :D
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 18:18:53 UTC
Right now in the shop we have:
1 Pool table
1 Foosball tables
2 NES (one is CIB and stays behind the counter with me)
1 Atari 2600
1 Sega Genisis
1 Turbo Graphix 16
1 Super Famicon
1 Multi Cade 60 in 1 arcade cab
1 Xbox One
1 Wii U
10 Xbox 360
Extra Screens for up to 10 more players to BYOS.
Games list is going to be difficult because we buy new and used games often. My best guess would be 750-1000 unique titles on everything from Atari to PS4. The selection changes week to week because new games come out so often, and we purchase older games if we don't have them already as well.
If we have every single space used with multiple players on the big screens we max out around 80 players. That's with the BYOS stations and all the retro systems being played as well. The only time that many people are here is for special events and Saturday night all nighters.
koruwa3 karma2014-07-07 19:16:02 UTC
OMG I wish I were in your area so I could check it out. Definitely sounds like an awesome place to work.
Were the retro systems your personal consoles or did you guys go out and find them?
Thanks for posting those pictures! I hope I can do something similar. I wish you the best of luck!
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 19:32:04 UTC
Some were mine but most were purchased or donated to the shop from/by customers.
tomutwit1 karma2014-07-07 20:04:17 UTC
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 20:10:26 UTC
I have a Vita that we use with the PS4 sometimes. I have several tablets but mainly use them to watch netflix or fly my drone.
dUFTE3 karma2014-07-07 16:37:01 UTC
Do you think PC gaming is dying?
rsteele19817 karma2014-07-07 16:42:21 UTC
Not at all I think MOBA's have made it a mainstay in today's gaming world. PVP and perhaps one day cross platform play will continue to make to grow and flourish.
Steam, (EA's origin Sorry I threw up a little), programs like that help the PC gamers outpace anything on console, the games are more diverse. I mean you can be a goat... I think gaming as a whole is on the rise, tablets, phones, consoles, pc's, VR, all of it is going to be a on a new level in the next few years.
mstrblueskys1 karma2014-07-07 20:07:12 UTC
Do you see the steambox coming up as the future of console gaming, or do you think it's not where we are going anymore?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 20:14:39 UTC
I think the consoles will have to be upgradable like PC's at some point. With Alienware producing a Steambox for $550 next year they will have to find a way to be competitive. I'd love to get my hands on several steam boxes for the shop they are ideal.
mstrblueskys1 karma2014-07-07 20:17:29 UTC
You sparked another question! What about a steambox makes it 'ideal'?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 20:20:23 UTC
Cheaper than building PC's out right, steam's operating system, hopefully a large enough hard drive to handle the number of games people play.
I like things to be as simple as possible to use that way I don't have to spend time getting people accustom to using them.
_Just_Because3 karma2014-07-07 17:20:55 UTC
What's your favorite kind of sandwich?
rsteele19816 karma2014-07-07 17:23:22 UTC
There's a place here in town that does a pulled pork shoulder with paper thin cheese. they call it a PBR. It's tastes wonderful. We only get them once or twice a month because the place is only opened late night weekends.
Un1c0rnzz3 karma2014-07-07 18:40:27 UTC
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 18:43:49 UTC
100% personal. The bank wanted too much equity in the physical building and just wouldn't budge. I understood because electronics depreciate so fast.
tomastaz2 karma2014-07-07 20:43:58 UTC
Terran, Zerg, or Protoss?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 20:47:13 UTC
Zerg Rush right? Sorry don't play that either. I wish there was more time.
blargennflargen2 karma2014-07-07 15:48:40 UTC
Have you gotten any backlash? Really love this idea btw!
rsteele19819 karma2014-07-07 16:03:15 UTC
Yeah I mean sometimes people have bad days and I am no different. In the same breathe some people look for reasons to complain and I get that too. And then some people shouldn't be allowed in public at all and I get those too. Dealing with the general public on a daily basis can be a challenge but I have to say 95% positive results here on my end. I wouldn't have it any other way for now.
LegendaryEnigma2 karma2014-07-07 15:48:05 UTC
That is really cool, i want to ask is this a place where its pretty dead during the weekdays but on the weekenes its packed or does the clientele constantly come in?
rsteele19815 karma2014-07-07 16:04:18 UTC
Weekdays are slower but then again everyone has to work/school, summer time picks up several notches. The repairs and private bookings carry us through some of those slower times so we try to cover all the bases so there's never a big drop off in profits.
koruwa3 karma2014-07-07 18:55:29 UTC
What kind of repair services do you offer? Is it strictly PC repairs or do you guys do console repairs/modifications too?
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 18:56:41 UTC
I work on consoles PS3's and 360's mostly. Straight up hardware repairs. I have local contacts that can work on everything from tablets to TV's and we all network and send customers to one another.
DimlightHero2 karma2014-07-07 18:07:17 UTC
What do you reckon is the game that people enjoy most in your establishment?
rsteele19817 karma2014-07-07 18:11:54 UTC
PC players stick to League of Legends or Minecraft.
On the console side it's pretty much Call of Duty (various titles but all pretty much the same, shoot, respawn, kill zombies, shoot, respawn)
manuryan111 karma2014-07-07 19:20:14 UTC
Does anything ever get stolen? I could also imagine people getting virus's and what not on the PCs, maybe by accident or intentionally. How do you stop this? Obviously anti-virus etc but it wont stop everything.
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 19:31:30 UTC
I haven't had anyone try to steal anything in a while. I have had the cops here before but not for that reason.
I have clean images of all of our PC's anything pops up that doesn't belong we just reimage them.
TheGreekSandwich1 karma2014-07-07 19:25:38 UTC
How are profits after 4 years from that 150k start up? Only thing close to that is Insert Coins in Vegas but they do not do PC gaming but it is a fun bar to play many games at!
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 19:30:38 UTC
We did close to that number last year. This year if we keep this pace we'll do at least $200k. It's all a very slippery slope when projecting numbers though.
ACatInAMicrowave1 karma2014-07-07 19:30:49 UTC
Do you ever get so many people at once meaning people are just sat around bored waiting to play? Do you have plans to expand (new machines, more space etc?)
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 19:35:30 UTC
We do have to start waiting lists most Saturday nights. If they leave us a contact number we call or text them when spots open up. We've grown from 35 stations to 80 at capacity now.
lanidroid1 karma2014-07-07 19:34:30 UTC
Do you have any kind of security on the pc's? Or can your customers download/install anything they want?
Also what are the hardware specs of the computers?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 19:37:39 UTC
I let them download games and apps as they want. If anything gets buggy we reimage. $600-$1000 on a PC is about standard depending on what the crowd really plays. No reason to go high end if all they play is minecraft and league. As long as they aren't file sharing or doing anything illegal we are pretty relaxed about what they do/play.
lanidroid1 karma2014-07-07 19:41:43 UTC
That is very nice! giving your customers some freedom.
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 19:43:09 UTC
As long as they don't abuse the equipment or any other customers we are pretty chill about what they do here. We have rules in place that everyone seems to follow and if they get out of line we warn first then boot them. It's a nice thing to have so many people in town like and respect what we do.
WaterStoryMark1 karma2014-07-07 19:44:37 UTC
Are you hiring? I don't live anywhere near you, but I will relocate.
rsteele19814 karma2014-07-07 19:47:01 UTC
I get this question almost as often as if I serve beer. My standard reply is that we hire from with in the existing customer base. I want to know the people that work here before I put them in charge of my lively hood and let them handle money.
A week or 2 ago I had a woman call me and ask a lot of questions about working here. She then told me "I'm not really an arcade type of person, I mean I don't play games." my take on that was she wouldn't care about the place and just wanted a job. So that conversation ended quickly after that.
tomutwit1 karma2014-07-07 20:00:30 UTC
Well, do you serve beer?
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 20:02:29 UTC
Not at this location. We have talked about opening an adult version 21+ nothing to report about that happening yet.
TheCatSnatch1 karma2014-07-07 19:47:21 UTC
Random question: Do you ever find yourself crashing for the night at your business? If it was me, I'd probably be doing it a few nights week.
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 19:48:31 UTC
I have in the past. If my wife takes the kids some where for a weekend and I don't get to go then I definitely spend time here. Plus we are open all night every Saturday night so it happened regularly before I was able to get more help at the store.
decentlyconfused1 karma2014-07-07 19:52:55 UTC
What type of marketing did you do in the beginning to get the word out. After four years is it mostly word of mouth or do you still try to market the game lounge?
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 19:55:59 UTC
We spent a lot on radio ads at first thinking that it would bring more people in. In reality doing the midnight releases and rewarding customers for referrals and bringing new people in works better than any paid ads. Social media is huge for us as well.
Grimant1 karma2014-07-07 19:57:07 UTC
What's your favorite Pokémon?
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 20:00:53 UTC
Pikachu (but I don't play it)
mstrblueskys1 karma2014-07-07 20:04:38 UTC
What's your favorite game to play?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 20:06:11 UTC
Right now I'm playing sniper elite 3.
NorbitGorbit1 karma2014-07-07 20:07:21 UTC
which mistakes have you made that you would advise others not to make if trying a similar venture?
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 20:13:33 UTC
I was overly protective of the shop for a long time. I put so much work and effort into it I took anything negative personally. I grew out of that for the most part. I think it's hard not to do that if your passionate about what you do.
tomutwit1 karma2014-07-07 20:06:42 UTC
What's the male-female ratio like?
rsteele19816 karma2014-07-07 20:15:18 UTC
We host ladies night every Friday so on Fridays its like 5 females to 1 male. The rest of the time the opposite is true.
jellyberg1 karma2014-07-07 20:09:18 UTC
How has hosting Level Up impacted on your personal gaming habits? Do you play different sorts of games, do you spend more or less time playing?
rsteele19814 karma2014-07-07 20:11:56 UTC
Way way way less now than ever before. I used to log countless hours and now there's always something else I should be doing. The price I pay...
Thoughtlessx1 karma2014-07-07 20:26:59 UTC
Hi me again, couple more questions for you. Thanks in advanced for answering.
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 20:35:04 UTC
Alanis001 karma2014-07-07 21:24:32 UTC
I will piggyback off of this comment. How do you keep track of how much time everyone has left?
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 21:25:47 UTC
Cafe management software handles all of this stuff.
mikayakatnt1 karma2014-07-07 20:31:18 UTC
What type of hats do you like to wear?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 20:36:21 UTC
I wear many hats. My favorite for now is a brown baseball cap that I've had for a while.
mikayakatnt1 karma2014-07-07 21:05:52 UTC
That's nice :) Do you wear it during work?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 21:06:15 UTC
wearing it now!
browjose1 karma2014-07-07 20:33:48 UTC
Do you do any sports game tournaments like Madden, Fifa, or NHL or are the tournaments more COD, LOL, WaW? If so how many people normally show up for the sports tournaments?
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 20:35:55 UTC
Tournaments depend solely on the organizer. If the organizer knows their players then they can go as big as you have room for.
mooseroast1 karma2014-07-07 20:38:27 UTC
What's the square footage it takes to house all that gaming goodness?
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 20:42:41 UTC
We have 3700 sq ft here including storage and bathrooms.
devilbones1 karma2014-07-07 20:40:10 UTC
I want to do this around my area. Would you be willing to let me come down and check your place out? I have been following your work for a while and I am very interested in starting soon. Where do I begin?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 20:42:07 UTC
Come see us. Get a plan in motion, write a business plan.
Lakth1 karma2014-07-07 20:43:06 UTC
How do you enforce time limits? Do you use some sort of color band to know someones time or what?
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 20:45:31 UTC
We have management software that handles all of that. It's like an egg timer with station numbers.
Godofallu1 karma2014-07-07 21:24:11 UTC
So do customers pay to use one specific machine for X amount of time then? Or is it you pay for time in the place and can play anything open while there?
Not quite understanding the business model.
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 21:25:24 UTC
Door fee gives them total access to open stations.
Shevy211 karma2014-07-07 20:54:21 UTC
What kind of steam license do you have. Do you have to buy 10 copies of a game so everyone can play at once or do you only buy 4 copies and allow 4 users to run the game at once?
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 21:05:23 UTC
Steam urges all players to use their own account now. This changed first of this year.
Azzwagon1 karma2014-07-07 20:58:49 UTC
With all those people in your store, how strict do you have to be about people potentially damaging equipment? Does it happen often? What is your policy about broken goods? I was nervous just seeing that pool table... I play pool in bars and people hit the balls off the table all the time.
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 21:09:07 UTC
Very strict. People have to sign equipment like pool balls and cues out with an ID.
preludeofme1 karma2014-07-07 19:06:14 UTC
like most that are asking questions here, i've been interested in setting up my own shop as there isn't anything like that around. a couple of unknowns for me have been:
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 19:23:07 UTC
monkeybrains12121 karma2014-07-07 18:55:10 UTC
What are the most popular games that get played?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 18:57:33 UTC
Call of Duty, League of Legends, Battlefield, FIFA, Madden, NBA2K, Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros. The list goes on and on.
Arthane1 karma2014-07-07 18:48:45 UTC
Really interesting read here, thanks for posting!
I am quite curious, since this is obviously an all ages kind of joint, what are your policies on smack talking/foul language?
I know as an adult gamer, some words just do not do my feelings justice, but I don't know how I'd feel using them with kids around.
Also, how are noise levels? I would imagine getting more than say.. 20 gamers into a heated match would be difficult to control even if everyone was using headphones.
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 18:55:34 UTC
When there aren't kids around I don't say too much unless someone gets nasty.
When there are many people here including families and my kids. It's a no go. It isn't acceptable to yell out "F%FACE" in the middle of the movie theater so it isn't acceptable to do it here either. I have a hard time myself because a lot of people cuss. When it's an adult I try to get them to look around at the kids and I'm like come on really...If a kid does it I talk to their ride and tell them if it keeps happening they can't stay alone at the shop.
Noise levels are loud...explosions, ect. If they have a headset they can use it, if not enjoy the noise. Think of how loud a bowling alley or arcade is when they put music on and screaming kids running around.
We also don't allow screaming or people to run around bumping into things I have reasons for every rule we have in place and most everyone is understanding of those rules. Those who aren't simply don't come back. Understand that these places aren't for everyone completely get it if someone comes here and doesn't enjoy the setting.
Still the fact that we are regularly booked and full during our peak hours means that I'm not offending everyone with the rules we have set forth so we're doing what we have to to make in an enjoyable experience for the people that do keep coming back!
tomutwit1 karma2014-07-07 20:02:22 UTC
Do you seperate the kids and adults at all?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 20:03:12 UTC
Sometimes. Like when the adults want to play cards against humanity we have a retro room that we close off so the little ones don't repeat some of what is said then.
macfearsome1 karma2014-07-07 18:32:27 UTC
I would love to open up a combination bar/modern arcade in this style.
What is the typical age of your customer base? Does it seem feasible to serve/do you serve alcohol at your establishment?
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 18:35:31 UTC
Not at this one. We opened all ages but the main demo is male 18-24. Perfect for a bar setting. Dave and Busters is all ages and serves alcohol it's just a big deal to get a alcohol sales permit even for beer in our county. Some places it's much easier so it really depends on what your local regulations are when it comes to things like that.
If I opened another location 21+ with just beer for sale I think we could double or triple our profits very quickly. But you also have to consider more equipment damage, issues with people getting too tipsy. If you sell liquor those problems increase with the crowd it brings and how much they drink.
macfearsome2 karma2014-07-07 19:08:26 UTC
Do you think protective equipment such as plexiglass would help with damage? In my mind, it is kind of like Dave and busters, with screens sort of out of reach and consoles and the like hard to reach. That would make changing games tough, but I imagine a door with a lock would be fine. Bartender supplies key to customer, provided they aren't falling over themselves.
That in mind, how does the changing of games work for you?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 19:34:02 UTC
It can be hectic when we are packed but with the consoles all in one spot it's very easy to keep up with if you know how the numbered stations work.
SaladFury1 karma2014-07-07 18:23:28 UTC
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 18:26:25 UTC
1/2 are old ones with MSI mobo's and 250GTX cards. The other 1/2 are Newer Gigabyte mobos with 550ti cards.
All are set up the same one hard drive for operating systems one drive for games files.
There's no reason to max out specs on public use PC's Minecraft and LOL don't require a lot of power. The newer builds have played every thing from Elder Scrolls Online to Battlefield 3 with perfection.
tomutwit1 karma2014-07-07 20:03:25 UTC
Do you do Minecraft Lan-pvp stuff?
rsteele19811 karma2014-07-07 20:05:51 UTC
I'll try anything but I only play a select few games.
The Last of Us
Borderlands (1 and 2)
I'm really into the new sniper elite game.
Favorite game of all time was Warhawk on the PS3. I was a zones mainstay for several years wrote strat guides for it and all.
NeonFeet1 karma2014-07-07 18:18:51 UTC
What do you think draws people into playing at your lounge when the wide majority of multiplayer gaming is done online nowadays?
rsteele19813 karma2014-07-07 18:21:20 UTC
Social interaction with others that want to play that same game. Not to mention if a team of players plays here sitting next to one another they usually wreck opposing teams. There's a huge difference in being beside your team mate and helping each other vs. being on line and having to communicate over headsets. I've seen some impressive wins from full teams that play here on all games.
RageInf3rno1 karma2014-07-07 18:22:35 UTC
A good friend of mine is wanting to open a gaming store (He has a date set for October 1st.) and is wanting to do a lot of tournaments. Do you have any games that bring a bigger crowd than others?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 18:27:37 UTC
Smash Brothers, League of Legends, Call of Duty, always draws crowds here. But different area's have different games that do well. Some places stick to just LOL or just fighting games so it's very important to know your local players and host for the games they want to play.
RageInf3rno1 karma2014-07-07 18:42:50 UTC
Sadly I think only fps games would do well in this area. Have you ever had a games start out small but then got a lot of attention?
rsteele19812 karma2014-07-07 18:44:59 UTC
Some games we've had come through: SMITE, Path of Exile, Mostly indie titles I mean the mainstream games always have a following and it's difficult to get people to try something new when they have things they already love to play.
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