Em noted a while back that she is the happy [?] neighbor of Versus, a new video game "bar" that has opened up on the 100 Block of Gay Street. I had the opportunity to go there last weekend. My brothers were in town, the youngest of which is 10, and I made the mistake of mentioning Versus's existence to him. Ethan pestered me for two days until I finally relented and took him and my other brother, Duncan, on Saturday evening.
I'll start this out by saying I am not a video game guy. I don't own a game system, and I never have. I have, however, had many friends how have had the latest cool video games (especially in college) so I know my way around the gaming world a little.
That being said, Versus IS COOL. It's the just the right thing for the silent majority of us who think that $500 is a bit much for something that will rob you of all your free time and give you nothing but thumb reflexes. But sometimes all of us just want to veg out and play a silly game. Preferably with some friends. Versus provides this, at a mere $5 and hour.
They have a nice clean space, with white walls and a hardwood floor, modern furniture and chrome everywhere, and big windows facing out to Gay Street. They have BIG TVs, with all the different cutting edge systems: Wii, XBox 360, PS3. They also have iMacs in the back and and old wooden console TV with old school systems like Nintendo and Sega Genesis. They have tons of games that are updated regularly.
I played Guitar Hero 3 for an hour on Wii. Ethan played Rock Band and Duncan played Call of Duty on PS3. It was satisfying- you walk in, order a game, they set it up, you sit down on a cool modern love seat in front of a huge TV, and let your brain detox. Pick your poison: kiddie Wii games, intense zombie combat, fantasy dragon fighting, or watching those maddening circles move down the escalator fret board.
I would recommend Versus for the casual gamer. And even if you have your own game system at home, this place gives you a chance to try other systems and games that might not be available for yours. It also gives you a place to go out and meet up with friends late at night that doesn't involve a loud smoky bar. Versus is a welcome addition to downtown: a cool new idea for a business, the likes of which I hope to see more of in Knoxville.
Rating: 8 out of 10 wigs on the Wig-o-Meter.