— By BRIAN SMITH'
It’s a one of a kind facility ... and Weatherford is the first in the Metroplex to have it.
GamerTagz, located at 180 E. Interstate 20 (behind Whataburger and On the Border) opened April 13 as a place for gamers to experience games they were meant to be played. Owners Matt Jones and Jim Kelly came up with the idea for a high tech facility in June 2012. The location along Weatherford’s “Restaurant Row” was chosen for a reason.
“We’ve looked at it as parents can go to the restaurants, have some drinks and dinner, drop their kids off here and everyone can have a great evening, particularly on those eating out nights Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights,” Jones said.
Jones said a common misconception is gaming is a young person’s thing.
“The average age of gamers is actually 32 and he or she spends an average of two to three hours a day gaming,” Jones said. “We want to be known as more than just a gaming center or arcade, however.”
While the facility does offer 40 stations equipped with 47-inch flat screen televisions, all with custom made, ergonomically designed, built in Texas leather chairs and an audio dome that allows you to hear the music from your game and yet not disturb others directly next to you. The audio zone allows you to hear things programmers put into games that you won’t hear on your average set such as raindrops and crickets, Jones said. More than 150 titles and 600 copies of games are available on either Wii or Kinect.
“It’s not just a 27-inch screen at your home with a headset,” Kelly said. “We’ve gone all out to ensure our customers have the best experience they can have. You’re not going to have an entire audio system, you won’t have a leather chair, no 47-inch flat screen. There’s no way to even come close to the quality of play you’ll get here at home.”
The screens are the perfect distance from each of the chairs to protect from eye strain and also abut six feet away from the person next to you. “You’ll feel like you’re the only person in the room,” Jones said.
There are also two additional 80-inch screens for groups that want to play together.
The pair wanted to create a family experience that is much more than an arcade. The facility has party rooms offering birthday parties for $25 a person which includes two hours of gaming, free pizza and a T-shirt. A party technician ensures everyone is happy and parents have a chance to relax.
“We offer free wi-fi access as well and couches for the mom and her friends to relax,” Jones said. “Instead of trashing your home, parents are able to relax and let us handle everything.”
GamerTagz wants to open itself up to the business community and people who aren’t even game fanatics as well. Jones and Kelly have had discussions with Weatherford College about being an offsite facility to hold classes online. With its high-tech capabilities, the pair say they can be a training center for groups, orgsnizations or buisnesses who need a room with a lot of computers and space.
“We can have up to 60 people work simultaneously on the same message or completely different things in smaller groups if need be,” Jones said.
GamerTagz also offers professional disc refubrishing for compact discs or DVDs that may have become destroyed over the years/ To demonstrate, Jones took a new disc out of the package and scratched it up to show how the process works. Within less than five minutes, the disc came out brand new.
“We hope the public will bring us their used CDs and DVDs to refurbish,” Jones said. “For $5 and about three minutes time, we can restore a disc to like new quality.
Gaming customers will be charged $10 per hour or less if they purchase multiple hours. Once an account is set up, you never lose your time even if you have to leave early.
“Let’s say you purchase two hours and 15 minutes into your session you get a call and you have to leave. That’s no problem,” Jones said. “You will have your time the next time you come in.”
Friends and family had a chance to preview the facility last weekend. A video has been placed on the business website (www.gamertagz.net) to give the public more of an idea of what the place is like. In the short term, Jones and Kelly say they will gauge traffic flow before finalizing hours. Once school lets out for the summer, the pair are looking to be open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, visit www.gamertagz.net