Ready, set, game
Gaming havens around the city
Streaming and e-sports are big nowadays but gaming has been around for years. You've got boardgames, which evolved into something a little more complicated like Dungeons & Dragons. You've got your arcades, which then became consoles and handhelds. Now we have PC gaming that's continuously being pushed to the limit. Like that time Polish hardware retailer x-kom made Doom Eternal run at 1,000 fps by pouring liquid nitrogen into the computer. Even if you just play on your phone during your commute, that pretty much makes you a gamer of sorts. Whether you're just a casual gamer or you live and breathe games, these places in and around the city are gaming havens that are worth a visit. You've got your classic arcade place, which is rare to find in Bangkok, a shop that sells classic games and consoles, and a legit e-sports studio to hone your skills by yourself or with your e-sports team. Buckle up, it's time to game.
7th Floor, MBK Center
One of the most atrocious things about Bangkok is its lack of good arcade places. There might be some of you who are scoffing and say something along the lines of "We've got PCs and consoles now". I do love gaming at home but going to an arcade is completely different. While PC and consoles allow you to game with friends even if you're in different places, arcades are a collective experience where all of you gather and hang out. That being said, it sucks that Bangkok has a severe lack of them, and even those that exist are "meh". Hero City at MBK, however, is one of the very few exceptions, if not the only one. On the same floor as the cinemas, the arcade is spacious and offers a variety of games that can entertain kids and older players. This already sets it apart from most arcades in the city since they mostly just have games that cater to the young ones. Shoot some hoops, speed down on a motorcycle or hop into one of the fully-immersive games based on movies like Transformers or TV shows like The Walking Dead. You and your friends can spend hours on end here but be aware of how much you're spending. One token is B10, the norm for arcades around Bangkok, but some games will cost you three tokens.
(Photos: Hero City)
If you have a console and you live in Bangkok then there's no doubt you know about Nadz Project. This shop with the giggle-inducing name (no, just me?) is your one-stop shop for everything you need for your console. Granted, they do sell PC gaming items, as well but there are many shops you can go to for your PC needs. Nadz is the best place for anything having to do with consoles. Whether it be a PlayStation, Switch or an Xbox, you can visit one of their many outlets around the city or visit their website to see what they have and do your shopping online. They've also got a Line account that regularly sends updates about promos, upcoming titles that you can pre-order or other new products. Nadz also sell collectibles like figurines, accessories and shirts inspired from your favourite games. Unless you just buy online and you're willing to shell out the cash to pay for product and the shipping, Nadz is possibly the only place here in Bangkok to buy gaming collectibles like those.
Bang Bua Thong fb.com/RetroworldShop
We now live in a world where when we talk about gaming, stuff like frames per second, lag, downloadable content, motion capture and voice acting are also part of the conversation. Gaming has come a long way and though all gamers are grateful for the leaps and bounds this entertainment form has achieved, there are also some of us who are nostalgic for the old days. A few may reminisce about the thrill and excitement of the heavily-pixelated Tomb Raider on the PS1 while others would go way back and enjoy the simplicity of Battle City on the Family Computer. If you want to go old school, Retroworld is where you can go as old school as you want. This is not a museum where you just look and appreciate at old game cartridges (man, remember when game cartridges were a thing?). This is a full-fledged shop. Depending on what the store has in stock, you can buy yourself a classic Family Computer or an old but beloved GameBoy Color. Discover or rediscover classic games like Super Mario Bros., Contra, Ninja Gaiden and if you're lucky, some classic Pokémon titles for the GameBoy. Basically, you're going to be travelling back in time when you shop here. You can shop online or visit their store in person to do your purchases. Plus, if you've got your own pre-loved classic gaming titles or consoles, they can also buy them from you.
True Digital Park Visit fb.com/Bootcamp101TDPK
It's hard to imagine that Player Unknown's Battlegrounds started off as a mod to another game and is now the granddaddy of all battle royales. Whether PC, console or phone, you can play PUBG whichever way you prefer. Bootcamp 101 at True Digital Park, however, is offering PUBG Mobile players a place to gather, play and hone their skills. Bootcamp 101 labels itself as a community space and welcomes all PUBG Players to sit back, relax and play a round or two... or 10 or 20. Need some tips or someone to coach you on your gameplay? The staff are actually experienced players and their coaching may be what takes your skills to the next level. If you're someone who wants to play competitively, be sure to follow their page on FB to stay updated on any upcoming tournaments they're going to hold.
(Photo: Bootcamp 101)
AIS ESPORTS STUDIO
Samyan Mitrtown Visit AIS.co.th/esports-game
You know how in inspiring sports movies there's usually a montage of the young would-be star athletes practising into the dead of night, like a kid shooting hoops or kicking goals in the dark well past midnight? That can be you, except for PC gaming, which is technically known as "e-sports" so don't let your mum tell you that your gaming will get you nowhere. The prices they offer are a steal -- B25 for members and B30 for guests -- considering the equipment you're using. All their gaming stations are decked out with gaming keyboard and monitors, a Razer Kraken X headset and a gaming chair for proper ergonomic support whilst dominating other players (posture is key, folks). Aside from their 24-hour gaming zone, you can also rent out their gaming Studio, each with 10 gaming stations, where you can get a true e-sports experience or if you just want to get your team together for a practice run without being disturbed by others. You can rent it out for B500 per hour or for 12 hours at B5,000.