Home Arts & Entertainment GrandLAN serves as home base for downtown gamers

GrandLAN serves as home base for downtown gamers

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The businesses on the other side of the chain link fence are still open. Photo by Jonathan D. Lopez

By Jesse Lawrence – Collegiate Staff

As a gamer, I know one thing that some gamers might be lacking: a community, or place that they can revel in their nerd- dom with others. Whether you play video games, board games, card games or role- playing games, GrandLAN Gaming Center is the place that has all of that.

GrandLAN is a local Grand Rapids gaming store that is right across the street from Grand Rapids Community College’s Main building, at 56 N Division and is open Monday-Sunday 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.

I was new to GRCC and had very few friends when I first heard about GrandLAN. I didn’t want to go at first. When the few friends I had brought it up in conversation, I had no preconceived notions about the place. I was just one of those anti-social gamers. I went anyway, and was glad that I did. From a business perspective GrandLAN offers a lot of what gamers want.

The store’s primary product is selling “Magic the Gathering” cards, which is a card game I play and maybe spend too much money on, but it’s worth it. They also provide 14 PCs and eight Xbox 360 and Xbox One gaming systems that you can purchase play time for. PC and Xbox 360 is $2 per hour and Xbox One play time is $3 per hour which is dirt cheap consid- ering it costs $3.50 to park in GRCC’s parking ramp. You can also buy a member- ship for $15 a month which gives you 50 percent off your play time and VIP invites to special events.

While GrandLAN is a gaming shop at its core, it is not just the products that make this place so enticing, it is the people you meet inside.

Whether it’s the friendly staff of five, the General Manager Brian Lenz or fellow gamers you will notice immediately that it’s a friendly community and inviting, too.

Just in case you’re calling into ques- tion the nerd credentials of the people that work at GrandLAN Lenz can testify to his gaming history.“I started getting into more hobby-style games [at a young age] like Avalon Hill and Dungeons & Dragons,” Lenz said. “It spilled over into comics, reading them, enjoying the art, and admiring the good story lines. It evolved over the past 30 plus years [and] whether I’ve been into athletics or scholastics, gaming has always been a part of me.”

If you have a question about a game or see a game that someone is playing, ask about it and chances are they will tell you about it or invite you to play with them.

Just recently this happened to four of my friends and I, we started up a weekly get together where we play tabletop
roleplaying games between our classes and we have already invited three more people to join us. Most other groups at GrandLAN will be just as inviting.

If you’re not into roleplaying games, but are more of a Magic the Gathering player feel free to ask anyone if they would like to play a game with you. It is rare that someone will turn down the challenge.

If you’re more competitive with your gaming or want to meet a bunch of fellow Magic players be sure to attend Friday Night Magic at 6 p.m. every Friday.

Personally, I went to a Friday Night Magic tournament. It was packed but packed with people willing to play Magic.

I didn’t participate in the tournament itself, I’m not the competitive type, but it’s a good night to go if you want to meet a wide variety of people and play Magic.

Maybe board games are more your style. On Monday nights at 6 p.m. West Michigan Tabletop Gamers (WMTG) host Bored Game Night. Be sure to check out GrandLAN’s website, grandlan.info, for a full list of events.