Since UTD is a fairly young college, the city of Richardson hasn’t really developed into a college town, leaving many students with very little to do after about 9 p.m. on any given day.
One new local establishment aims to change that – at least for the local gaming community.
ShadowLan Gaming Center (www.shadowlangaming.com) – located at 300 N. Coit Road, Suite 175 – offers several computers networked together with a large selection of games available to play, as well as console games (Playstation 2 or Xbox) hooked up to either a large television or the wall projector – a 14-ft. screen. Customers can bring in their own console games as well. The customer pays an hourly rate and plays until time is up.
“They have really good equipment and newer games for PC,” junior computer science major Ryan Kim said, “It’s a pretty good bargain to play a game you like – or even try out a game without resorting to piracy.”
Gameplay costs $5 an hour Sunday through Thursday, and $6 an hour for Friday and Saturday. Playing on the wall projector costs an extra $1 an hour and memberships are also offered for frequent customers.
“If they don’t have any games you like, or ones you already have, it’s not really worth it,” junior computer science major David Drennan said.
However, Drennan sees virtue in playing with friends.
“It has potential to be a place to go with a bunch of people,” Drennan said.
The staff also made an impression.
“I would expect them to be real hard asses, but they’re really cool,” Drennan said.
That makes sense, given how enthusiastic the staff is about the center.
“To me, it’s the next phase in entertainment,” ShadowLan President Thomas Radecki said.
One step inside the center and you’ll understand. All of the computers are displayed with transparent panels and the entire shop is very dark with blue lighting. The lighting and cool interior provide a perfect environment for playing games or just hanging out with friends.
“It’s a really nice place…air conditioned and they have all kinds of black lights,” Drennan said.
The computers are up-to-date, running all of the modern games very smoothly. Headphones are provided at each station, to keep the ambient noise level down.
“Here it’s more like an amusement park,” Radecki said. “We wanted to make sure that when we brought ours to the market that it was different to see.”
This is especially true of the ShadowLan server. This beast of a computer looks like it comes from a 50s science fiction show, with tubes and lights snaking everywhere. Seeing this machine alone is worth the trip.
The founders designed ShadowLan in this image to cater to gamers.
“We wanted to create a place where people would come to play,” ShadowLan Co-Founder David Thurman said, “Other places were going for an internet cafÃ© kind of feel, that didn’t seem to cater to gamers too much.”
The founders of ShadowLan used to set up networks for various groups, which is where they found the inspiration for this center.
“It seemed we always ended up playing LAN games after the network was set up,” Thurman said.
However, video games aren’t the only things that Radecki has planned for the center.
“In the fall we’re going to be doing math tutoring,” Radecki said.
Several of the founders of ShadowLan are former math professors, so they plan to tutor up through Calculus I or II. However, Radecki realizes some might be skeptical of the quality of tutoring they might receive at a gaming center.
“We really are intent on having a full-fledged tutoring operation here,” Radecki said.
Radecki also plans to sell the pre-modded systems on display, host video game tournaments, hold business meetings and offer the center for business training for software.
As far as running the place, there have been few hitches so far.
“The biggest difficulty was getting in here,” Radecki said.
ShadowLan is located in an area in which zoning laws allow a maximum of four public computers for rental. Radecki had to obtain a special zoning permit to operate.
Many students may be wondering why they should go somewhere else to play video games when they can just do it at home.
“At home you don’t have this atmosphere,” Radecki said, “I think there’s something to be said for sitting next to your friends.”
<em>300 N. Coit Road, Suite 175. Just south of Arapaho Road in the Promenade Shopping Center under the Compass Bank tower.</em>
<em>Sun-Thurs. 1 p.m.-11 p.m.</em>
<em>Fri. & Sat. 1 p.m.-1 a.m.</em>
<em>Non-member $5 / hr. Sun.-Thurs.</em>
<em>$6 / hr. Fri.-Sat.</em>
<em>Membership I $1 off / hr.</em>
<em>Membership II $2 off / hr.</em>
<em>Level I $50</em>
<em>Level II $100</em>
<em>Memberships good for oneyear from purchase date</em>