A new University-area business hopes to give gamers a destination while improving their image.
Left Click Lounge, Dinkytown’s first video game center, will open its doors on Friday, Sept. 15. The business, located on 14th Ave. SE between Tim Hortons and The Refinery, will offer various gaming platforms for local students and clubs to play on.
Left Click Lounge owner Ryan Christianson saw the business as a way to unite an often quiet community.
“I wouldn’t tell someone I’m a gamer, I kind of keep it on the down-low,” Christianson said. “I’ve got some friends that have been gaming their whole lives as well and they’ll tell me ‘I’m not proud to be a gamer.’”
Through the business, he said he hopes to dispel negative notions of gaming.
“It’s so beautiful because it shouldn’t be something people are embarrassed about but unfortunately it is, and that’s very … sad because there are people that are so good,” Christianson said.
The business will offer around 40 PCs and console systems, along with various games.
Left Click Lounge will also have food and drinks, VIP sections, couches and common areas for those not playing, Christianson said.
VIP sections will only be available to guests who make reservations, he said, but the areas won’t be ready upon opening.
Left Click Lounge will not offer alcohol, Christianson said, because he wants to maintain a positive, friendly environment.
No form of fighting or bullying will be tolerated, he said. Their motto is, “clicks without cliques.”
“That [slogan] really pinpoints what this broad plan is,” he said.
Left Click Lounge will also promote events where gamers can compete to win prizes. Sponsorship and recognition will be given to recurring guests.
“In [the] long-term, we would love to sponsor people with either free monthly passes or free [merchandise],” Christianson said. “You know, just things to give back and to say, ‘Hey, you’re very good at this game [and] we appreciate that.’”
Edward Anderson, president of the University’s Super Smash Bros. Club, said in an email he’s excited for the new business because of its campus location.
There’s no better audience for video games than college students, he said.
“Personally, I am pretty excited and curious about this venue. I've thought for a long time that it would be cool to have some internet cafes [and] gaming centers in Minneapolis, like you can find in many other countries,” Anderson said.
Randy Gast, president of the Dinkytown Business Alliance, said the gaming lounge is unique to the area.
“It’s different,” Gast said. “I hope it’s successful.”
Anderson said Left Click Lounge will provide opportunities for local gaming communities to network.
“It'll be another place where Smash Bros. events can take place,” Anderson said. “I think it'll really help with getting different gaming sub-communities to interact with each other.”
Super Smash Bros. club members are also interested in other games like League of Legends, Hearthstone and FIFA, he said.
But many clubs only have the resources to provide events centered on their games of focus, Anderson said.
Left Click Lounge will help bridge this gap, he said.
“Club leaders for various gaming clubs have been trying to find more ways to collaborate and interact, letting our respective communities branch out with each other even more,” Anderson said.