Retro-Gaming Makes a Comeback in Glendale

Jonathan Williams

GAMES TO GLORY: Owners Terry Chiu, left, and Robert Cron enjoy a cup of coffee at Gamehaus. The painting, above, represents the worst Scrabble letters a player could draw.

Nikki Nagrone, Staff Writer

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Shouting and laughter fill the air as a group huddles around a table, watching closely while someone pulls a piece from the neat tower of wooden blocks. Facial expressions turn tense as the tower shakes from the movement. Crash! Laughter and excitement fill the air as the tower falls and someone yells out “Jenga!”

Scenes like this are what have made board games popular for thousands of years. While commercials on television usually show children enjoying board games, adults have played them for as long as they have been around.

Unfortunately, many adults do not play games anymore because they feel too old or have no time. Furthermore, adults who do play are often deterred by the gaming locations themselves. With scornful and impatient nerds, stuffy locations, and uncomfortable furniture, it is hard to find comic/game shops attractive.

This is why two game enthusiasts in the Los Angeles area created Gamehaus, a cafe devoted to making the love of board games comfortably accessible to all. In an increasingly technological age, Robert Cron and Terry Chiu are taking a more social and personable approach to the popular pastime.

Gamehaus is unique because it offers no Wi-Fi, now ubiquitous among cafes.This is to encourage and allow people to connect with each other and the games without any distractions. Whether challenging the intellect or just looking for some lighthearted fun, the memories and friends made playing games can last a lifetime.

“When I see someone’s face light up because of something they have found in a game, it makes it all worth it,” said Chiu.

People from all walks of life, sometimes not even looking to play, have stumbled upon this treasure chest of games. With more than 700 different titles from around the world ensure there is something to fit anyone’s taste, Gamehaus is becoming very popular, and for $5 to play all day, most people can afford it.

Since the financial crisis of 2008, people have looked for less expensive ways to entertain themselves. Many had to choose between entertainment and hobbies, and gaming can be both.

“Family game night made a real comeback [in 2008],” said Cron.

This revival of board-gaming, combined with the newer, more strategic-style games from Europe, inspired the duo to start a game club. This group would meet at comic shops or restaurants to play their favorite games for hours.

“The only problem with playing at Denny’s,” said Cron, “is that after two hours they are kicking you out because they have got to turn a table.”

When their game club went to restaurants, they had more than 40 reservations and 20 on the waitlist. It wasn’t practical, and the alternative comic/game shops rarely offered anything besides chips and soda.

Their experiences, combined with their personal collection of more than 300 games, came together four months ago to help create their ideal gaming atmosphere. With a spacious design, wood decor, and warm lighting, the place feels more like a big living room than a coffee shop. The space is so inviting that a writer that lives above the cafe comes down to do his work.

Whether you are looking for a fun and easy party game, like Cards for Humanity, or to challenge your intellect with Terra Mystica, there are endless benefits found at this Gametopia.

There are fresh scones daily and homemade pies on the weekends. Not to mention sandwiches, personal-pan pizzas, desserts, and of course, coffee. Everything is made fresh, in-house, and to order. Anyone looking for a new adventure, maybe even on a first date, can be sure to find something unique at Gamehaus.

Gamehaus is located at 1800 S. Brand Blvd. 107. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

A special $2 cover charge is offered to those who arrive before 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. For more information visit www.gamehauscafe.com or call 818-937-9061.

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