Video Game Center Spotlight: Crazy Penguins – Rockford, IL

Crazy Penguins Video Game Center

Crazy Penguins Video Game Center - Rockford, IL

After 3 days of being as sick as I can ever remember I am glad to be back with this Friday’s Video Game Center Spotlight feature.  I have known Eric Osar for almost 3 years and had the pleasure of visiting his store on a trip last winter.  I still remember when he first contacted me and wanted to come down to visit our store and check our our brand new location in Bloomington, IN.  He is a radical thinker in our industry and has a very unique style of center.

Eric is very opinionated and isn’t afraid to share what is on his mind with other game center owners, customers or other industry professionals.  He is extremely active in the iGames forums with nearly 3000 posts to date.

The one thing that sticks out in my mind that makes Crazy Penguins drastically different from other game centers is that they charge a facility fee.  Instead of logging customers in-and-out of consoles or tracking their unique time on a PC each person is logged in manually when they enter the center.  As soon as you are in the building and playing your time is running.  This works extremely well for Eric and his group since they also offer pool tables for players.

Here is a video I shot of Crazy Penguins about a year ago and this was obviously before they started moving almost entirely to PS3 systems instead of Xbox 360.  Once again Eric steps out of the boundary of game center comfort and leaves the RROD at the door.  However this will give everyone a good general idea of his store layout and some of his sweet concepts.

I hit Eric up earlier this week for some questions and facts about his center:

In one “tweet” describe your center (140 characters or less).
A high energy gaming facility that focuses on creating a fun, safe and affordable environment for teens and young adults.

Why did you get into the video game center business?
Our community saw a pattern of increasing crime with teens and young adults.  I believe that one of the strongest contributing factors to this is a lack of affordable and engaging activities for this demographic.  Our family wanted to find a way to help provide a safe and affordable atmosphere that enabled teens and young adults to choose to stay out of trouble.

What is one of the sweetest events you have had at your center?
Our annual Monster New Years Eve Party is always one of our most exciting events and really embodies what Crazy Penguins Gaming is all about.  There is nothing better than having 70+ guest from age ranges of 13-53 having fun gaming, staying out of trouble and bringing in the new year together.

Any example of a tough situation you have been able to overcome?
Our original landlord wound up declaring bankrupcy and Amcore Bank repossessed the building.  Amcore decided to ignore our lease and attempt to recover some of their losses from our business, which created huge financial and legal pressures on our young GC that was trying to focus on helping our community.

Name some other game centers you steal ideas from.
I would say many of our ideas are original, but there are certainly many centers around the country that have lended strong input to our business practices.  NetFragz and eBash are certainly two of the contributing centers who shared their opinions that have helped us shape some of our ideas.

What is a guilty pleasure game that you play?
World of Warcraft.  Always a die hard Unreal Tournament fan.

Some quick facts on your center:

Owner: Eric Osar
Age: 34
Center Facebook: N/A
City/State: Rockford, IL (about 1.5 hours west of Chicago)
Store Hours: M-Th 3PM-2AM, F 3PM-3AM, Sat 12PM-3AM, Sun 12PM-2AM.
Date Opened: 4/27/2007
Area Population (County): Winnebego (2008) 300,252

Cost to Play:
$1.50 an hour + $5 admission fee
Top 5 games played at your center: Call of Duty MW2, Left 4 Dead 2, World of Warcraft, MAG, FIFA 10
What type of music do you play at your center: Techno

Internet Feed:
Dual T1s+DSL
PCs: 21
Xbox 360: 28
PS3: 22
Wii: 3
Billiards: 6

Thanks Eric for spending the time to share some of the details about your center and keep up the good work!

One thought on “Video Game Center Spotlight: Crazy Penguins – Rockford, IL

  1. “Video Game Center Spotlight: Crazy Penguins – Rockford, IL – BoZack’s Blog” was indeed a very good read and also I really was pretty satisfied to locate the article. Thanks a lot,Roger

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