Looney Labs Rabbits Mailing list Archive

[Rabbits] About an ADULT vs FAMILY FRIENDLY venue aka, gamer bar, was RE: no more hobby store.... I am sad

  • FromCheryl Orosz <cherylo@xxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 07 Aug 2007 12:50:25 -0400

As you no doubt expected, you have touched a nerve.  I normally just lurk, but I cannot let your anti-family side shots go unanswered lest you think you are "correct" and agreed-with.

As a parent of two quite well-behaved kids who play games way beyond the recommended ages (e.g. my eight year old has played Robo Rally for over a year and her current favorite board game is Betrayal at House on the Hill), I take exception to some of your statements.

First, you are conflating a "family friendly" environment, which has freedom from sexual innuendo and four letter words, with a bad-behavior zone.  Being "family friendly" has very little to do with keeping kids from seeing alcohol, as you should very well know.  It has to do with the sorts of adult behavior that often happens around alcohol, including suggestive sexual language and swearing.

Kids who behave poorly should be instructed in correct public behavior or shown the door, preferably by their own parents.  I have left public places in the middle of activities with my kids to show them how important this is;  they will not be allowed to behave badly and retain privileges is my message to them and it works.

Secondly, as an adult with kids, I am much more likely to patronize a game venue if (reasonably well behaved) kids are not banned.  I like my kids, they are cool people.  I want to game with them, and teach them to be good gamers and citizens.  Your strawman argument of adults vs. kids is a non-starter:  you seem to be assuming that adults are all singles or child-free types--or perhaps that the ones that have kids that wish they were child-free.  We are not all child-free wannabees.  Yes there are more adults than kids.  But do you think I, as a parent, "side" with you in wanting a venue to which I can't take my kids to play a game of Volcano?

Of course a table-top game Chuck E Cheese is not going to work: "kids" games are fluffy and vacuous.  CEC is built on a model of keeping the (young) kids mesmerized with pretty-shiny.  Board games literally cannot fill that niche as the median age at CEC is probably in the lower elementary ages.  I'm not going to any venue where I have to rent out Pretty Pretty Princess to play it with my four year old, and neither is CEC's actual target demographic, albeit for different reasons than mine.  And (especially single, childless) adult gamers, as you have correctly analyzed, are often cheap bastards (e.g. nursing the $2 coke): that's the real problem with a gamer restaurant venue.

IF and WHEN you start a GAMER BAR, good luck.  Even bar patrons often, apparently in an extended fit of madness, tend to have kids eventually.


rabbits-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
Message: 1
Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2007 08:14:34 -0700
From: David Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: RE: [Rabbits] no more hobby store.... I am sad
To: Rabbits Discussion List <rabbits@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Content-Type: TEXT/plain; CHARSET=US-ASCII

Maybe the game store could have a front room (kid-friendly) and a back room
(for alcohol) with an option of a separate entrance. And there needs to be
Exactly what I said, if I recall correctly. I may have omitted the
"separate entrances" part, but that's generally true of a golf clubhouse
(or of any business which expects to have varying hours for its "zones,"
which I also mentioned).

Anyway, to clarify, the three zones (ignore the kitchen for the sake of
argument, not being public space) are interconnected and can be
independently closed, to control access at various hours of the day.
Once could walk into the Pro Shop, browse and buy, then go into either
the Restaurant or the Bar to sit and play and eat or drink. Likewise,
one can easily wander between the Restaurant and Bar.

As the Restaurant will serve alcohol, there is not, in fact, a totally
alcohol-free zone in the triad, though I suppose there could be, much
like there will be a non-smoking area in the Restaurant. There is a very
real business fact again cropping up (which, IIRC, started all this):
kids don't spend Real Money.

I've worked in restaurants, bars, and retail at various times in my
life. In general, kids have little money but have no compunctions about
occupying space in a business for hours on end (not even playing games,
just talking!). Yet every seat in a bar/rest is, in a way, like a
revenue channel: many servers rely upon a steady stream from every
table, often in the neighborhood of $5 an hour each, to make a living.
Free refills on $2 Cokes (with no tip, typically) don't cut the mustard,
nor do they pay the electric and water bills for the business owner.
Couple that with the aforementioned tendency for some folks not even to
buy the games they play there... and this business model begins to look
shakier. Couple to THAT the fact that many teen and older folks won't
want to put up with younger kids' noise at all... and, well, it might be
that the concept MUST have a segregated kids area, with only counter
service and no smoking or alcohol, in addition to more adult-friendly

Heh. That statement just hit me, and while it's a bit philosophical for
this discussion, it seems germane. Why does "kid-friendly" always get
some kind of trump status on "adult-friendly"? We outnumber the buggers,
some of them don't deserve one bit of friendliness in their worst
moments, and would it *really* kill them to learn something about
decorum and respect for others by being in an environment where their
outbursts wouldn't be tolerated? (*Now dons triple-redundancy flame
suit*) Not being a parent, I haven't fallen in mind-flushing love with
kids yet, so I don't generally grant them "Favored Nation" status. I
adore the nice ones, and I give the evil eye to parents of the snotty
ones and strive to ignore them. But I can't help but wonder if MAYBE,
just MAYBE the entire hobby of gaming could finally grow up if it tried
to target grown-ups, at all levels. Fine, there's "mature theme" games
and there's "dark" games and what-not. But they're a niche; every
mainstream game has to ask the questions "What will the parents think?
What will this do to the impressionable (apparently poorly supervised)
kids?!?" I say Bah! I say adults have as much right, more buying power,
and more likelihood to form long-term interest in a particular game;
think of them FIRST, and only then ask yourself how you might extend
into younger markets, with their mercurial passions.

And I'd be inclined also to say that this about the *Gamer Bar*. It's
not Disneyland; it's not Chucky Cheese (a kiddie bar, right?). It's a
Gamer BAR. Kids can come buy, they can go sit calmly and play in the
Restaurant; there might not be any real business incentive to section
off a chunk of real estate to protect them from the mere presence of
folks who happen to be drinking. Why should I, if I'm the operator? I am
already committed to protecting EVERY customer against harassment,
aggressiveness, over-loud boisterousness, and excessive inebriation: why
should I spend yet more money to protect children's mere VISION of a
substance which humans have consumed for time immemorial?

Bah, I say. Open a Table-top Game Chucky Cheese (i.e. remove all of the
quarter-eating stimulators THEY call "games") and see how well and long
it flies.

(Kimberly, this is NOT "targeted" at you AT ALL. I get ranty, as you
probably know by now; and you just happened to voice the catalytic
point. You are not the "indefinite you" in my writing above, and you
have every right to want to shelter your children from some of the worst
behavior in which humans routinely engage in public, even if I don't
really think it's a "bad" thing 9 times out of 10.)