Thursday, January 17th, 2019

HUD gaming lounge offers growing community

Bradford Spurr

Posted on May 04, 2017 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

Bradford Spurr
Bradford Spurr

By Dionne Smith, Staff Writer

HUD Gaming Lounge is a comfortable spot for people who want to enjoy playing games at a low price. It also turns playing video games into a social experience rather than just playing games alone at home. The atmosphere allows for people to relax, play games with their friends or make new ones while playing.

In the middle of Portland, not far from monument square, HUD Gaming Lounge has its doors open to anyone who has an interest in video games, are involved in internet culture or anything else. The owner, Gabriel Letourneau, who goes by Gabe, opened the lounge in Portland after starting one in Biddeford three years ago and deciding to change to a different location. His reason for opening the gaming lounge was to have a public community of video gamers, stating that there isn’t as much of a public presence for gamers in comparison to other communities such as gyms and golf clubs.

After taking three months to complete the setup in Portland, HUD offers four Playstation 4s, four Xbox Ones, one Wii U and 14 playable, custom-built PCs. Along with all of the playable systems, there are videos that are streamed and projected on the walls. There is always music playing inside the lounge, so if you’re a hardcore gamer, a casual gamer or just want somewhere to relax, HUD offers it all.

“It says gaming lounge, but the variety of people that come in here is really broad.” Letourneau said.

Sitting down and relaxing is completely free. For a casual gamer who wants to play for an hour, it would cost $6. For a more hardcore gamer who wants to play for eight hours, it would only be $24. If someone wanted to bring their own PC, it would only be $2 an hour. The snacks and drinks that are offered at HUD are about the same price as they  would be in a convenience  store. Letourneau said that he keeps his prices so low because he wants to focus on customers having fun instead of his making money.

“We’d rather have more people playing together [and] paying less, than less people playing together [and] paying more,” he said.

To make HUD a comfortable community space, things like bringing your own food and drinks are allowed, and anyone can request a specific song to have played. People can even go as far as ordering a pizza to be delivered to the lounge.

For many, HUD can act as not only a community space, but as an alternative to buying an expensive gaming console or PC, or dealing with slow internet at home. Instead, people who only want to play for a few hours once or twice a week can just go to HUD and it would be much cheaper than buying a console, and people who play all the time but have slow internet can bring their PC and play on HUD’s reliable network.

As a part of the HUD community, Letourneau expressed a desire to set up tournaments for hardcore gamers focused on certain games, and community events such as a table-top night, an anime night and more. Letourneau stressed that he wants to make HUD a community space for as many people as possible.

According to Letourneau, there has been a lot of positive feedback, and the lounge has many regular customers. “A lot of the people that come in all the time, we know their names, we hang out, we play with them, and it’s just trying to get that feeling that this is really a community space,” Letourneau said. He goes on to explain that HUD is always looking to upgrade and improve any way they can, and that they will take any positive and negative feedback.

“We’re not trying to change the way you game, we’re just trying to help you game better.”  he said.

For the future of HUD,  Letourneau said that he wants to make one lounge work for now, and will later try to branch out to different parts of Maine without becoming a corporate company. Each HUD would follow the same themes and work together, but each one would have its own personality.

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