Specialized arcades offer alternative to PC entertainment

by Dora Galván
Staff Writer

Instead of playing computer games on their home computers, more and more people are frequenting specialized arcades which offer a wider variety of such games.

These arcades are popping up across Southern California, including Pomona.

“I used to go to places like this so I decided to open one up,” said Yong Lee, a former coffee shop owner, who now runs a Fullerton-based Cyberzone, which operates numerous Southern California arcades.

“I’ve lived in Fullerton for 14 years and there was nothing like this until I opened Cyberzone,” Lee said.

Roughly 300 people visit Cyberzone’s 40 computer arcades every day Lee said.

He said, however, that the increase in popularity of such venues throughout the area has actually hurt his business.

Although Cyberzone began generating an immense amount of business when it opened in December of last year, the May opening of I-Network in Fullerton took many customers from Cyberzone, Lee said.

“I used to have a 20-person waiting list all of the time, but now I don’t have a waiting list anymore,” Lee said.

Still, Lee said, he is not discouraged.

Such venues, which became popular during the past five years, should continue to attract teenagers.

Cyberzone attracts teenagers during the day and college students at night, he said.

Lee’s site, which is open until 4 a.m., sees most customers between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., he said.

These types of arcades charge their customers by the hour.

Cyberzone charges $2 an hour, which includes Internet access along with access to the various games.

“Counter Strike and Diablo II are the most popular computer games right now,” said Kenneth McCay, an industry expert.

Counter Strike’s manual reads, “Counter-Strike provides the player with an experience that a trained counter-terrorist unit or terrorist unit experiences.”

This multi-player game allows players to compete with one another in the following scenarios: hostage rescues, bomb diffusions, escapes and assassinations.

Each player has a specific purpose within these scenarios that must be accomplished through violent battles, McCay said.

Diablo II is a 99 level game that allows the player to strengthen their powers and obtain better weapons with each conquered level.

“An advantage to these arcades is that you can play against other players through the Internet,” McCay said.

Ground Control, Tombs, Sewer, Rogue, Mephisto and Leoric are just some of the numerous other games that can be found in these computer arcades.

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