HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: While playing video games meant getting stuck in stuffy and claustrophobic cyber cafes earlier, the advent of spacious and swanky parlours has taken gaming to a new level. Gaming zone owners are now upgrading their ambience and infrastructure to pull in the crowd.
One of these parlours is 360° Gaming Zone and Lounge, located at City Centre of Kamalpokhari. Aashish Shrestha, manager of the company, says, “It is no wonder that playing video games is the favourite activity of the younger generation, as games these days are technologically sleek and user-friendly.” According to him, this growing fascination with video games led him to establish Gaming Zone two years ago. Customers from all walks of life, with ages ranging from four to 40 years, visit the parlour. At any given time, there are approximately 40 players in the place, and the number increases even more during holidays and special occasions. Shrestha adds, “It is difficult for a person to afford original video games, as their cost ranges from Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000.” According to him, affordability and companionship are the two major reasons for people choosing to gather at parlours.
360° Gaming Zone and Lounge offers players the option of playing with oneself or with a partner, and charges Rs 200 to Rs 300 depending on the time. The lounge has 18 plasma TVs and imports its games from India, Hong Kong and Singapore. Among more than 25 games available at the arcade, Colour Beauty, Pro-evolution and FIFA Football are the most preferred ones. Shrestha
reveals that customer choice and market demand determine the number and variety of games.
Another popular gaming parlour is ‘The Game Station’,
established in 2009 at Pako of New Road. Binay Kansakar, owner of the parlour, says, “It is the first parlour in Nepal that offers full HD gaming.” According to him, although the parlour has the best games available in the international market, 70 per cent of the customers go for FIFA Football. The parlour also offers online facility, through which part-icipants can compete in games beyond geographical boundaries.
Game Station is equipped with racing, tennis, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii Consoles, et cetera. It has six Philips 32-inch LCD monitors, along with free Wi-Fi. According to Kansakar, his store is visited by around 12 people per day, and the number doubles during the holidays. Players need to shell out Rs 150 per hour if they play alone and Rs 200 if they play with a partner. He adds, “Customers play from one to three hours on average, while some of them even go on for five hours.” The parlour imports its game discs, priced from Rs 4,000 to Rs 6,500, from Hong Kong and Singapore.
Kansakar opines, “To ensure that customers revisit a parlour, owners must make
efforts to keep the ambience peppy and stock up on all the desired games.” Agreeing with him, Shrestha says, “A clean and friendly environment, relaxing couch and big screens are so comforting for customers that they lose track while playing.
To further facilitate our patrons, we have included a lounge where parents can relax while their kids are playing.”
For those who find gaming parlours a bit too expensive, the alternative are game CDs and DVDs. Anil Shrestha, owner of New Anikesh DVD Junction at Mahabouddha, says, “Kids and teenagers really adore games, and they ask for games such as Max Payne 3, Mass Effect 3, Battlefield 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Skyrim, Batman and Street Fighter VS Tekken.” The prices of the game DVDs range from Rs 50 to Rs 400.
Salon Maharjan, an avid video game player, says, “Earlier we had no option except going to cyber cafes, but now I love playing War Craft and Counter Strike on my computer.” According to him, he is also a regular visitor of video game parlours, and enjoys an
experience enhanced with all facilities and infrastructure.