Southland is the place to be
By KEVIN NANCE
You can work up a pretty good appetite, playing video games for hours on end. And what are you hungry for? You wouldn’t turn down a slice of pizza, obviously. But what you really want, if you’re totally honest with yourself, is a nice bowl of Cap’n Crunch, maybe with a little Count Chocula thrown in, just for the hell of it.
If this is you, you’re in luck. Game Warriorz, a new gaming lounge, eSports arena and cereal bar that opened this month on Southland Drive, offers not only the latest video and virtual-reality games, computer monitors with high-speed graphic cards that can show up to 240 frames per second and other eSports bells and whistles, but also an impressive selection of sweet and crunchy cereals to be mixed, matched, slurped and snacked upon while killing a few thousand orcs, or whatever, on the screen.
“Cereal just goes with gaming. People that game … eat cereal,” owner Patrick Taylor says in an interview at the cavernous, 9,000-square-foot facility next door to Good Foods Co-op. “When people are gaming, they want to be focused, know what I mean? So they want cereal and energy drinks — things that get you hyped up a little bit. Plus, there’s no other cereal bars around.”
At the Game Warriorz bar, presided over by Taylor’s partner, Lauren Whittamore, patrons can choose from dozens of popular cereal brands and toppings. Whittamore and her staff are also whipping up signature bowls — most with names that feature nifty bits of gaming wordplay — such as Smores Nite (a mixture of graham-cracker cereal, chocolate and marshmallows), the Minecraft Muddy Bowl (Rice Chex, Cocoa Pebbles, Reese’s peanut-butter cups) and the Rainbow Road (Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, Skittles, whipped cream and a drizzle of strawberry sauce).
And if you’re really finding your groove with those orcs, or whatever, you can order a bowl of cereal from your computer terminal — and a Red Bull to wash it down, if you’re so inclined — and have it brought to you.
Not that eating cereal is the main order of business at Game Warriorz. That would be playing video games by yourself, with your friends or co-workers — Taylor says the facility is already booking birthday parties and corporate team-building events — or as part of eSport tournaments in which contestants will compete for cash prizes. (First-, second- and third-place finishers will receive 25 percent, 15 percent or 10 percent, respectively, of the tournament pot.) “You can bring your whole company here and you’ve got 15 to 40 stations where everybody can play the same game at the same time,” says Taylor. “You’re not just talking to somebody through a headset. You can actually see them.” Computer terminals also have stat-tracking software which records each player’s results in particular games, allowing them to see how they stack up against other players locally and nationally.
Even non-competitive gamers — including, presumably, older patrons who come in to play retro games on classic platforms like Nintendo, Sega and Playstation 2 consoles — are thirsty for the social aspects of the gaming community that can’t be entirely slaked by playing with others remotely over the internet.
“What we’re offering is a chance for people to get out of the basement, to get out of the bedroom, to just get out and socially game,” says Taylor, a Georgetown resident who also owns and operates three locations of Foam Warriorz — indoor Nerf combat arenas — in Lexington, Louisville and Florence. “This is where you can learn from other people, and you can watch them play, share playing techniques and so on. Gaming is definitely a community-type deal, but there’s not a lot of places where you can do stuff like this.”
Game Warriorz is observing and enforcing the CDC’s Covid-19 health guidelines, including mandatory mask-wearing (except while eating cereal, of course), Taylor says. All play stations are at least six feet apart, and all surfaces in the facility — including the red and black leather chairs and sofas, selected for their ability to be wiped down — are being disinfected after each use. Even so, extra-cautious players can bring their own controllers, keyboards and mouses if they choose.
Admission to Game Warriorz starts at $8 for an hour and tops out at $30 for six hours, with the paid time rolling over to the next visit if the person leaves early. After dark, the lounge will be dimly lit to reduce glare on the monitors. “It’s like a club in here,” Taylor says.
And when they get hungry, players will have no shortage of cereal choices. If they become extra ravenous in the midst of a marathon gaming session, for example, they can opt for the Wonka Flocka Flave bowl, which has, well, “a ton of stuff in it,” Whittamore says. “It’s like a Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory bowl.”
This article also appears on page 7 of the November 2020 print edition of ace magazine lex.
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