When you live in a city you forget about its good points and focus mainly on the bad. For example, how packed the public transport is, how covered in rubbish the streets are, and how grumpy all the people seem to be. However, when you go on holidays to a new city you only seem to see great architecture, interesting locals, and a wealth of cultural things. With this in mind, I'd always failed to appreciate Dublin (where I lived for some time) as a city with anything to give. But now as a visitor and not a local, my views are beginning to change.
I recently discovered that Dublin was chosen as the city to test run the McCafe idea to attempt to boost McDonalds' profits a few years back when we all realised how horrid McDonalds interiors were. It was claimed to be an amazing city for such marketing runs due to the population mix and urban lifestyle developing there. Now Dublin is promoting another first, which I went to visit last Saturday.
The Xbox Live Gaming Centre is a rather large property just off of Dublin's central Grafton Street, consisting of three well decked out areas filled with leather swivel chairs, Xbox 360s, and huge plasma screens. It really is a gaming heaven just off the well-beaten shopping path. Apparently it is a favourite place for booking in your moaney boyfriend while you get down to some serious shoe appreciation, or getting rid of those pesky kids for a few hours of parental shopping bliss. I had to ask about their female cliental and I was assured that they had a good proportion of female members with about 5 girls who were considered proper regulars - nice to hear.
So here we have a playpen for adults, a little gaming oasis in your inner city day. It is regularly booked out for company team building and hosts a range of competitions and events. I have been told that they are going to branch out all over Europe next year. I personally can't wait to see it hit streets. What a great way to remind us all that gaming when you're out doesn't just have to be cigarette burned arcade floors, but can in fact be a relaxing escape.
(above: with Official Xbox 360 Magazine Community Editor Ben at the XBLGC)