Take off that headset and get off the couch because gaming in South Lake Tahoe just got a whole lot more social.
A small gaming lounge has opened in South Lake Tahoe thanks to a partnership between two local businesses, Alpine Computers and The Warp Zone.
Located on the second floor of the Sierra Shops center next to Alpine Computers, the lounge features three desktop computers for online games, a flat screen with multiple gaming consoles and an area for magic card games.
"Two months ago I went through Facebook, all the different groups, and did a poll: Do you think it would be beneficial to have a gaming lounge?" said Keely Grider, marketing manager for Alpine Computers. "We got a ton of amazing responses from people who wanted a spot for gamers to be more active and social."
The technology repair shop partnered with The Warp Zone, a video game, DVD and gaming console retailer, to get the equipment and games for the lounge, which had its "soft opening" a month ago.
"We built this area so that gamers can play face-to-face instead of online," said Luis Posada, computer technician at Alpine Computers.
Gamers can choose from all the free games on the online platform Steam, as well as play games they purchased through their own account. Multiplayer games are also available to play through the Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis consoles.
"We've got a table right now for magic games, but we'll get more if we have bigger magic tournaments, which will probably take over the entire room because magic is really popular," explained Posada.
They also plan to hold other tournaments for games like Super Smash Bros. and GoldenEye 007.
The lounge has a membership fee of $25 per month, which includes five hours of playtime and a rate of $5 an hour for additional hours. Non-members play for $7 an hour.
"We think that's a great value compared to the arcades where you can easily dump $20 an hour on one machine," said Posada. "And you're also away from the casino area, which is a very grown-up area. We want kids to be able to have a safe, fun place."
The gaming lounge is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., but the hours may be extended depending on demand, noted Posada.
Alpine Computers and The Warp Zone plan to bring the gaming lounge to the Tahoe Chamber's Business EXPO on March 30. There will be prizes for game winners and other giveaways.
Alpine Computers and the gaming lounge are located at 2717 Lake Tahoe Blvd.