PC gaming is great fun, and gaming with your friends makes it even better. Online play, gaming headsets and webcams have come a long way but nothing beats being in the same room while you team up to destroy the bad guys (or each other). While we certainly grab our rigs and head over to a mates place, if there are a few of you this can become quite the mission, especially with everyone needing to plug in their monitors and PC in, and then there’s that having everyone connected to same home WiFi thing 😛
Thankfully the internet cafe has evolved into the modern gaming lounge, and the best one in Auckland is Pixel Lounge. It hasn’t been around that long either, but that’s one of its biggest strengths – everything in the cafe is modern, you’ll be able to play comfortably on deluxe Corsair gaming chairs, treating your eyes with ultra fast 240Hz LG monitors while powerful ROG / Ryzen builds push out all the frames you could want 🙂
Having the best components and gaming gear certainly helps, but the Pixel Lounge team has gone above and beyond to add in all the little things too, making the total experience you’ll have a good one. The environment they’ve created is rather brilliant, with a combination of decals and canvas that line the walls of the primary gaming area, which seats up to 20 players. There is an additional chill out area that has couches, coffee tables and a dining too – making it perfect for taking a quick break to talk tactics while enjoying a cappuccino and some tasty snacks – and I’m very happy to say that this isn’t just a cup of instant either, Pixel Coffee, a real standalone cafe, is right there too!
Casual gaming aside for a little bit, another thing that Pixel Lounge does really well is competitive gaming. If you enjoy a bit of PVP, or you would like to get involved with the New Zealand eSports community and join a local group, then you should look out for events posted on the Pixel Lounge Facebook page – just last week they were hosting the UoA University Rumble finals and it was a good time had by all, with live streaming and plenty of action as the teams smashed each other in League of Legends with tonnes of Riot points up as prizes for the event. You don’t need to be a pro, it’s totally fine if you’re wanting to get involved but would like a little help getting everything together first, the Pixel Lounge team can even coach you along with pro tips and training sessions available should you want them.
Now onto the most important stuff, and it’s going to get pretty technical 🙂 How do they give so many people in one location such a smooth online gaming experience? Well, Pixel Lounge run a pretty ridiculous IT infrastructure. CAT6A network with 10GB switches, very high tier Voyager business fibre & their very own Bootserver. Essentially all the gaming machines boot via the network and only use the internal M.2 as cache, so everyone gets their own fresh image of Windows paired with an 8TB gamedisk. It is seriously cool stuff and keeps everyone’s sessions instanced, with no retained data 🙂 Brilliant!
The Pixel Lounge is located at 342 Great North Road, here is a google maps link to get you there, and once you’re close you really can’t miss the glowing sign pictured below!