The Unofficial Underground Training Center for LCS players of PAX

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By now, you may have heard of Generation Gaming Café, the unofficial underground training center for LCS teams. We were invited to an informal gathering this past Saturday night after the conclusion of LCS, and we were completely surprised by what we found: 30 iBUYPOWER systems back to back in sets of 5 and a surprising mix of players from Cloud9, Vulcun, Curse, Dignitas, CLG, and more. Possibly equally surprising: the gaming café was tucked away in what can only be described as a hidden “underground” gaming hangout. The Generation Gaming Café has already made appearances on Pro Players’ Twitters and in the latest episode GameCribs, and we wanted to tell the story of how it happened.

The Perfect Storm

Riot Games is responsible for housing for all the players and Riot employees who staffed or competed at its North American Regional finals at PAX. However, through a selection process only known to Riot Games, it chose the highly inconvenient Hotel Deca, nearly five miles from the convention center across a waterway. But because of Hotel Deca’s remote location, it was coincidentally located in close proximity to the unopened Generation Gaming Café, right around the corner.

The Generation Gaming Café is a virtually invisible PC Café sandwiched in between a smoke shop and a retro gaming shop. Its location is reminiscent of a Harry Potter hideout, complete with the fact that it’s impossible to find unless you already knew it was there. Even guided by the GPS, I circled the block three times before I realized that there was no large neon sign to point me to the business. Indeed, the front to the business is a single barely-marked door with the exotic address of 4341½ and nothing but a few printed signs notifying passer-bys of the upcoming opening. Behind the door: a flight of stairs which leads to an incredible setup of 30 iBUYPOWER gaming desktops.

In a perfect storm of circumstances, the obscure Generation Gaming Café wasn’t even scheduled to open until a week after PAX. As they were running a private preview, a friend tipped off another friend, who knew a manager of one of the teams. Next thing you know, players from nearly every team were showing up to play at the Generation Gaming Café.

The owners were two partners who generously offered their site, free of charge, as an unofficial training ground for the ongoing North American LCS Championships. When more and more players showed up, they offered food and drink to players vying to squeeze out every minute of playing time possible. The owners were more than pleasantly surprised to see so many famous players show up to their out-of-the-way establishment to play on the systems they had recently purchased from iBUYPOWER, and even got a large poster on the wall signed by those who passed through. Among the signatures: Doublelift, Bigfatjiji, Chauster, Wildturtle, Dyrus, TheOddOne, Meteos, Sneaky, Balls, Mancloud, Edward, Zuna, Bloodwater… the list goes on and on.

So there you have it. That’s the story as we know it of the Generations Gaming Café – the new underground of professional gaming. We thought it was a fitting coincidence that they were using iBUYPOWER systems, so I asked the owners to write a separate blog, to tell their story, and I hope to have more content about this improbable discovery soon. In the meantime, check out the Generation Gaming Café on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/generationgamingcafe.

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by Michael Hoang, on September 4, 2013