Own The Night

Last Friday, Ignite held “Own The Night”, a Dying Light launch event. With over 200 participants coming through and over 50 separate games played, I would say that people were…dying to play it.

To start the celebrations, we added a few thematic elements to our space to create an eerie feeling throughout the facility: red dimmed lighting, chains hanging from trusses, our pod signs and desktops were Dying Light themed, all while the adrenaline pumping soundtrack blared over the house speakers. We wanted to the attendees to feel like they were in an abandoned building in Harran.

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Red lights dimmed, chains hung…now we wait…

For the main event, we focused on the Be The Zombie game mode. In this mode, four human players go head to head versus one player as the zombie – called the Night Hunter. While you might be saying, “That doesn’t sound fair at all…” the Night Hunter just so happens to be zombie Spiderman. The infected swings from building to building with fleshy tendrils shooting from his hands. It also has an array of grenades, such as an EMP-like phosphorescent grenade that disables the players’ anti-zombie UV flashlight and globular grenades that attract zombies, similar to Left 4 Dead’s Boomer vomit.

Whether they played co-op or as the zombie, everyone was having a blast! Some groups of four came in ready to take on the zombie, but solo players and smaller pairs united to take on the infected as a team. We even saw a group of friends travel over an hour from Naperville and a handful of individuals off of Meetup.com, well, met up. For us, having events is important because they do exactly that: bring the gaming community together. It’s events like these that make me realize the thrill of gamers coming together and enjoying themselves; even if it’s a game that everyone’s learning for the first time.

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Full house! Teamwork vs Spidey Senses…who will win?! Just like on Oprah, everyone!

We gave away a bunch of prizes as well! Who ever won, either the four person team or the zombie, received a super extremely rare (not really) raffle ticket that was added to the pot in order to win the night’s grand prize, one of three Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics cards! By the end of the night, many people had won multiple times, some even walking away with dozens of tickets. We had other prizes that participants could score too, from t-shirts and mousepads to copies of the game. The prizes didn’t stop at the door, as participants also had a chance to win a GeForce GTX 980 or two GeForce GTX 960’s online through Alienware Arena instant win codes.

nVIDIA graphics cards, the big prize of the night!

nVIDIA graphics cards, the big prize of the night!

For everyone to come out and just have a fun time means a lot to me, and to Ignite. At the end of the day, I really felt as if this event connected differently with our community. For starters, it was our first game launch event! We worked directly with the developers and emphasis was placed on discovering the game’s mechanics, surviving a Night Hunter’s assault, and playing cooperatively with friends. If you’ve been following our events over the years, you’ll know that we typically focus on intensely competitive games with high stake payouts. I really liked the pace, feel, and response we’ve received from this launch party. My hope is that you’ll continue to see an eclectic variety of events around games that might not have the most obvious competitive scene…you know, throw in some curve balls and get everyone hyped up! In the months to come, we’ll do what we can to really broaden our spectrum by introducing more games into our arsenal and coming up with fresh ideas for events.

For those that don’t know me, my name is Chris and I am the Gaming Events Manager here at Ignite Gaming Lounge. Gaming is my passion and I love interacting with the community by putting together fun and exciting events for everyone to enjoy. I’ve got my eyes on the global gaming scene and would love to bring the growth we’ve been seeing as an industry right to our backyard. Hit me up at Chris@ignitegl.com, or twitter @TheStormbeard for any and all your gaming questions, events suggestions, or if you just want to talk about whether Han shot first.

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Noob Diaries: Day 1- Intro to Halo

We have a wide variety of gamers who come to Ignite. Each day we see our PC and console stations constantly filled by both casual and competitive gamers. Some gamers are dedicated to mastering their craft at one game, some play whatever they’re in the mood for, and others are trying out games for the first time. Some customers are even taking a crack at gaming in general for the first time! We love to see the variety of gamers playing alongside each other, showcasing the gaming community at its best.

The same absolutely rings true for our staff! Some of our staff have been with Ignite for forever, having spent many after school hours as loyal customers chatting with the staff and downing Swags. Others found us online or through friends and started their friendship with Ignite as staff members. No matter how they came to join our team, they’re here and we love what they bring to Ignite. Some of them are veteran gamers who love to be right in the middle of the competition, while some like to play more casually. At Ignite, we like to celebrate both the casual and competitive gamers, so no matter what you play, you’ll find your place with us!

To really push this idea and not get too cheesy with the love we have for you guys, we’re going to have a recurring diary-like entry once a month to showcase how awesome having a variety of gamers creates a really cool and welcoming atmosphere. This month, we have long-time gamer, Ignite customer, and new Snack Bar staff member Fluffy introducing casual gamer and Ignite’s Social Media Coordinator, Alisha, to the original Halo (from the recently released Master Chief Collection). In this entry, Fluffy and Alisha will give you a little bit of play-by-play and some personal thoughts on what it was like to experience the game together! Fluffy has played and finished all of the Halo games and Alisha never plays any First Person Shooters (FPS), so Halo is extremely foreign to her.

Our journey begins with Halo’s opening cinematic, seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwuoTueSR7k

Fluffy: I was watching Alisha the whole time. I’m used to playing with people who have played Halo before, so no one pays attention to the cinematic. She was so intensely concentrated on understanding everything. It was cool to see her show the interest that my friends and I had back when it first came out.

Alisha: Fluffy told me about Halo’s story line a couple weeks ago, but he tried to tell me about all the games at once, so I had to focus in order to know what was happening!

Right after the opening scene, the players have to navigate the ship, called “The Pillar of Autumn”, to find the bridge where they receive their first orders and weapons from Captain Keyes. Fluffy lingered behind Alisha, letting her try to find out where to go. She was running in circles quite a bit.

“Ughhh! How do we get to the bridge?”

“…There are signs on the floor.”

“Oh.”

Fluffy: I had very little hope for Alisha at the start, haha. She was running around barely able to use the controls and totally ignoring the very obvious signs telling us exactly where to go. I just let her run around…

Alisha: I don’t play console games, so I was pathetic in my attempts to move and look around at the same time. Logic wasn’t an option, haha!

Fluffy was supporting Alisha in her attempts to learn a new game, but she seemed (comically) hopeless! After Fluffy pointed out the signs on the floor, our duo made it to the bridge. Where Fluffy’s favorite moment of the night happened.

Fluffy: Oh, dude, this was SO good. So funny, oh my god. So Alisha runs onto the bridge, we FINALLY made it after she used her freakin’ brain, and immediately runs into a guy and says,

“Are you Keyes?”

-random dude walks away-

“Guess not.”

The timing was perfect and I almost missed her finding the actual Captain Keyes from laughing.

Our team then watched a cinematic with Captain Keyes and received an unloaded pistol with the instruction to “Find more ammo around the ship.”

“Are you kidding me? You’re gonna give us a pistol without any bullets?! Wow, thanks Captain. That’s super productive.” 

Alisha: Dude, seriously. Who says “Go protect the ship!” and then gives you an empty gun? Send people on missions ill equipped….THAT’S HOW YOU GET DEAD PEOPLE.

"Hello! I'm Captain Useless."

“Hello! I’m Captain Useless.”

Fluffy: Alisha was too busy criticizing the Captain to realize that we were going to get ammo in about 3…2…1…

AH!! OH MY GOD! WHAT THE…! Oh my god, Fluffy! That scared the crap outta me!!!!”

Alisha turned to look at the screen just as the animation of her new pistol loaded and set itself up in her sight line.

Fluffy: She literally freaked out at her own gun. I made a bet with myself at how soon and how many times she would die. Hint: Very soon and a lot.

Alisha: Pfffttt….maybe.

Alisha regained her calm and the pair went off through the rest of the ship. Alisha managed to pick up a plasma pistol, how she did not know, and fell in love with it.

Fluffy: She literally liked the weakest weapon in the game…I pretty much gave up all hope.

Alisha: 🙂

The duo continued running around the ship, and Alisha was somewhat successful at killing the Covenant aliens. Though she still didn’t have a good grasp of the Xbox One controls.

Alisha: I was trying to look and run at the same time, but my fingers were doing all sorts of funky things. It felt counter-intuitive to move the joystick up when I wanted to look down. I couldn’t move and shoot, because I couldn’t move and aim, so I was taking a lot of damage. I wasn’t dying!! But I definitely wasn’t doing super great, either.

Fluffy: She started running into people and blaming them for being in her way, haha.

Alisha: SOME OF THEM WERE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Fluffy: Whatever, nerd! ANYWAY, after she ran in to a few more guys (and blamed them), I asked her to show me what she was doing with the controls to see if I could help her. Turns out she’s awesome like me and needed inverted controls!! We are a special few, we inverted controls people!

Alisha: It makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE. Oh my god, I could look and move at the same time! I was still a little off because I’m clueless on consoles, but it was much more comfortable than before. Seriously, if you’re new to consoles and it’s not working out, test out inverted. Life. Saver.

Once Alisha found the right setting for her controller, the two got back into the mission. Alisha was taking slightly less damage now that she could move and shoot and she was doing more damage by being able to actually aim at the aliens. Things got tough again in the ship’s crawl spaces, though.

Fluffy: Another hilarious Alisha moment…she cannot crouch. I mean, she physically can as a person, because she kept crouching in her seat when attempting to crouch in the game, but she could not get the crouch function to work.

Alisha: Oh my god, I did not.

Fluffy: Yeah, you definitely did! You kept sinking into your seat every time you were trying to crouch. I’d hate to see you play a racing game, haha. You’d probably fall out of your seat every time you’d crash!

Alisha: Pfffttt, no.
…maybe. I gotta put my acting degree to use somehow!

Fluffy: Is your acting degree the reason why you make up names for the Grunts and Elites?

Alisha: I’m sorry…the what now?

Fluffy: Haha! The “short people” and the “tall people”…

Alisha: Oh! The aliens! Well you never told me what they were called and neither did Captain Useless. I had to call ’em like I see ’em!

Short people, aka Grunts

Short people, aka Grunts. Image from the Halo CE wikia.

tall people

Tall people, aka Elites. Image from the Halo CE wikia.

Our duo continued on killing all the “short people” and “tall people” they came across. By the end of the first mission, Fluffy was shocked…

Fluffy: She was doing better than I thought! I bet myself that she would die a lot and she hadn’t died at all in the first mission. I had to change that. However, right as I thought that, she fell off a cliff.

“Oh my god, Fluffy. I just fell off a cliff.”

Indeed, Alisha had fallen off a cliff.

Alisha: I didn’t realize there would be planes attacking us. FROM THE SKY. I knew the ground wasn’t level and I should be cautious (I have a habit of falling off cliffs and edges in the PC game Guild Wars 2…), but I felt like I was bending my head all the way back in order to shoot the planes. Clearly, I wasn’t bending it far ENOUGH back because I didn’t see the cliff and I backed right off of it.

Fluffy: She survived a Covenant assault on the ship, but she walked straight off a cliff. I just…oh man. It was too good. I had to make sure she experienced virtual death a lot more.

Our duo headed into an underground compound, after killing several more grunts and elites, in a vehicle found outside. Fluffy was at the wheel and Alisha manned the gun. They made it inside and Fluffy told Alisha to go look around.

Fluffy: We were in the underground leverage area…

Alisha: It’s basically a big silver and blue-ish room with a bridge…kinda Star Wars-y? I don’t know if that makes sense, but as soon as we got in there it made me think of Star Wars. I was looking around expecting some aliens to pop out, but nothing was happening. I thought maybe a cinematic was about to happen…?

Fluffy: My time had come! Anyone who has played Halo before knows there’s a glass panel in the floor to the left as soon as you enter the underground area. I told Alisha to go stand on it and look down through the floor.

Alisha went over to the glass floor and looked down, trusting her companion.

Alisha: Then he SHOT THE FLOOR.

Fluffy shot the glass panel Alisha was standing on.

Fluffy: Hahaha!! It was THE best. She was looking down and then BOOM. Dead.

Alisha was dead.

Alisha: I was doing so well with the whole not dying thing after the cliff incident and he has THE NERVE to kill me?

how rude

Fluffy: It was the greatest. I killed her a couple more times throughout the mission after that, too.

Alisha: A COUPLE?! More like SEVEN more times. Of the NINE deaths I had in the 2nd mission, EIGHT of them were your doing! Moral of the story kids, come have fun and play at Ignite where everyone is supportive, except Fluffy!

Fluffy: Nahhh c’mon. You love me!

Alisha: Alright, fine. Moral of the story is friends are awesome…but can’t be trusted!

Fluffy: I’ll take it!

END OF NOOB DIARIES: DAY ONE

Even though it is obvious Fluffy can’t be trusted, Alisha had a great time learning a new game! In last week’s blog, Ignite Co-Owner and Operator, Sam, wrote a blog about reasons why people should come to a LAN center to play games as opposed to staying home and the biggest point was the people! Whether they’re new gamers or seasoned pros, Ignite cultivates an environment of encouragement and fun! Our staff and our customers come in at all skill levels and there is no reason to be afraid! It’s okay to not be good at a game, you can still have fun while learning. So, gamers new and old, come pick up where you left off on your favorite game, or come in and try something new! We’re ready for you!

Want to put some faces to those names? Here are Fluffy and Alisha:

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Fluffy looking fluffy in the Snack Bar where he CAN’T KILL ANYONE.

Alisha and Master Chief are best buds now. Master Chief is super excited about it!

Alisha and Master Chief are best buds now. Master Chief is super excited about it!

More Noob Diaries next month! Should Fluffy and Alisha play more Halo?

Or do you want to see Fluffy teach Alisha a different game? What do you want them to talk about?

Let us know in the comments below!

Why play at a gaming lounge?

Day in and day out, for over a decade now, we open our doors to hundreds of guests that make their way to our lounge to play games.

 

Some come alone.

Some come with groups of friends.

Some come on dates.

Some come for birthday parties.

Some come with teams to compete in tournaments.

Some come to watch professional eSports athletes duke it out for fame, glory, and millions.

And some come to play a game of League but end up finding their new duo queue partner because well…they’ve never seen a support LuLu get played like that.

 

But to this day we still get asked, why would someone go out to play video games? Better yet, why would someone pay to go play video games? Can’t they just play online at home? Doesn’t everyone have internet at home? Who doesn’t own a computer, Xbox, or Playstation nowadays? It costs what an hour?! Where are your restrooms? (Question has nothing to do with this post but we do get asked this a lot.) Now, if you don’t mind, we’d like to share with you why we think people choose to play local. To be clear, this won’t touch on reasons why people choose to  play games in general, as there are countless articles and studies that outline the social,  emotional, and cognitive benefits of gaming. (You can read some of that stuff here, here, and here.) This will focus more on the reason why people go over to a friend’s house, a giant LAN event like Dreamhack, or a game lounge to play games.


The central reason is the fact that games are innately social.
They are designed with the purpose of bringing people together. From First Person Shooters (FPS) and Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBA) to Real Time Strategy (RTS) and Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games, each game is built to immerse players into multiplayer landscapes. In some scenarios you’re working cooperatively with your team to fend off hordes of flesh-eating zombies while in others, you’re going head-to-head versus an equally matched opponent. According to ESA’s Essential Facts of 2014, about 77% of gamers play with others either in-person or online.

Co-op zombie games like L4D2 and Black Ops II are still some of the most popular games around Ignite. Photo credit: kevinjameswong.com

Co-op zombie games like L4D2 and Black Ops II are still some of the most popular games around Ignite. Photo credit: kevinjameswong.com

We like to believe that even single player games are social. Much like a movie or book, we can’t help but talk about a rich, character driven storyline that toyed with our emotions with a friend. If you didn’t have at least four conversations about the opening scene in The Last of Us, you might need more gamer friends. Just saying. Regardless of the situation you are almost always playing or enjoying video games with others. There is a reason why Dreamhack’s yearly LAN’s attract 10,000 unique players, why South Korea is home to nearly 25,000 game lounges, and why gaming conventions like E3 can see upwards of 48,000 visitors. It’s the reason why we’ve been able to do business for 13 years – because gamers are social and they want to play together. Now take the social aspect of games and give players the opportunity to share them in-person,  and you have a truly visceral experience. There is a much different form of social connection that is had when you are sharing space with someone who is taking in the joy and camaraderie that games have to offer. Which is way more fun! (Though we may have a slight bias…)

Thousands of gamers lanning in Dreamhack Winter 2014’s BYOC section. Photo credit: Dreamhack.se

Thousands of gamers lanning in Dreamhack Winter 2014’s BYOC section. Photo credit: Dreamhack.se

If being social is peanut butter, then environment is jelly. They go hand in hand. The atmosphere compliments how a player feels when they are gaming with their friends. It enhances and heightens the experience. When going out to game locally, there is a persistent thought that says ‘I can’t game like this at home’.  It comes from the energy of getting together with a group of friends or large crowds, the amenities offered, the equipment and technologies available. It can be achieved through lighting, music, art, decor and extend all the way to the customer service. All of these come together to create the environment. It’s right along what we believe anyone seeks when going out – a unique physical environment where they can socialize with their friends. Bars, concert halls, and sport arenas are all great examples of venues that bring enthusiasts together using both elements.

A group of friends hanging out after a match of Dota 2.

A group of friends hanging out after a match of Dota 2.

And finally, gamers are competitive. It’s another driving factor that brings players out locally. Getting to witness the excitement of your team’s success face-to-face is much more exhilarating than hearing their shouts arguably too loud in your headset at home. Also, you know, seeing the look on the faces of the team you just totally dominated is pretty fun, too. Countless gamers have come through our doors and exclaimed “There is nothing like stomping your opponent and immediately seeing their reaction.”

This reaction.

This reaction.

There is undoubtedly high levels of stress and anxiety when competing, but much like the social aspect, it gets much more intensified when in-person or on stage. Higher stakes, crowds watching your every move, and your opponent sitting across from you elevate the competition to its rightful place.

We think it is safe to say that Ignite and other gaming lounges offer a unique experience hardly emulated in the comfort of your home. The friends are livelier, the place has all the tech you need, and the stakes are higher; which all compliment each other to create a space perfect for the gamers of today.

So that was our perspective on the big question: “Why LAN?” Now we want to hear from you! What gets you out of the house and into a gaming lounge?

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