Ever wish you could sit on a nice soft leather couch while playing PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox on 2000 Lumin Mitsubishi 84" high-definition projectors? How about game on one of 34 Pentium 2.4 Ghz Windows XP Pro computers with 512 MB of Corsair DDR RAM with Radeon 9700 video cards on perfect flat 19" Viewsonic monitors with a dedicated T1 line on a 100MB switched network? Unless you are something, your answers to these questions are a definite YES! Welcome to GameWyze, a new way to look at gaming.
Recently I had a chance to go to the first GameWyze store in Plano, Texas. The owner, Daniel Powell, showed me around the store. While this is the only store that is currently opened, a Houston branch of GameWyze will be opened in the next several months--with more locations opening up all across the country in the future.
Walking into the store, the colors are very pleasing to your eyes. And once you get a look at all the PCs and four different gaming stations, you are just itching to go play. I started off on the couch with an Xbox and a little DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball. If you thought that this game was fun on your puny TV sets, just wait until you see it projected on to a 84" screen. Now I know why it got a mature rating!
On the PC end, I participated in some LAN games of Battlefield 1942 and Unreal Tournament 2003. I also jumped in and tried out the Internet connection with some games through GameSpy. The action was fast and furious and only a couple of times was there a hiccup in the gameplay. Also, I need to mention that the chairs for the PC's are super comfortable. So comfortable that I contemplated rolling out of the store on one!
In addition to the super-fast computers and great console setup, there is a DDR Max arcade setup in the back room. For two players to dance to five songs, it is a very reasonable one dollar. After ten songs, my legs had enough and it was back to computer gaming for me!
After I played games until near the closing of the store, I sat down with Daniel Powell, the President of GameWyze, and asked him these questions.
CVG: Where did you get the idea to start this up?
DP: I had seen several "LAN Centers" pop up and they all were doing pretty well. However they all had old equipment, poor facilities, and overall were started by spending as little as possible. I wanted a game center that was first class. Great computers, a true T-1 internet connection, and most importantly an atmosphere that was memorable. And thus GameWyze was born.
CVG: How fast do you think GameWyze will grow?
DP: We want to open three more stores this year and depending on the overall success franchise as many as possible across the US.
CVG: In the limited time the Plano Store has been opened, how has the response been from the public?
DP: The public has showed an overwhelming support for our store. But more importantly, true Gamers love it. As a long time gamer myself (I started on the first Atari) I wanted something that the true, hard-core gamers would like as well as the first time kid wandering into our game center. I think we've achieved that.
CVG: Can you tell us a little bit about the different events that go on at GameWyze on a regular basis? In addition, can you tell us about some special events you have run or are planning to run soon?
DP: We have monthly all-night LAN parties and weekly console or PC based tournaments with cash prizes. Intel, one of our official sponsors, provided cutting edge processors and motherboars as prize givaways too. This month we are going to hold open try-outs to build our own in-house Counters-Strike team. This chosen elite will represent GameWyze at local LAN tournaments and at national events. In addition, we have several showcases coming up for several new PC & X-box games where customers can come and play them for free. Details will be posted on our site shortly.
CVG: How often do you plan to add new games for both the PC and consoles?
We try to pick up the "good" console games right when they come out (There's nothing like playing DoA Beach Volleyball on 84" DLP projector TVs!!!). As for PC games we focus mostly on multi-player games and test them on one or two computers before rolling them out. There seems to be a lot of bad games out these days so we really try to listen to our customers and see what they want. Our biggest release to add to the center will be the new Battlefield 1942 expansion "Road to Rome" which releases shortly. We are a qualifying center for the new nationwide Battlefield 1942 tournament starting this month and are very excited to be showcasing this product pre-release.
Thanks for your time, Daniel. We wish you much luck in this new venture. I am sure you will be seeing me a lot at GameWyze! For those of you anywhere near the Plano, Texas area, be sure to stop by GameWyze. You can check out their website for more details on where it is located. I know for the majority of you out there, visiting the store isn't possible because of where you are located. However, be on the lookout for a GameWyze to pop up near you soon!