BY KATIE MATTESON
Ian Ballantyne started playing video games in his parents’ basement as an elementary school kid.
Now at age 25, Ballantyne owns a 5,000 square foot gaming lounge with 30 computers, 10 X-boxes, six PS 4s, three Nintendo switches, 400 retro games and two virtual reality headsets.
It’s not his parents’ basement, it’s a business called Not Your Parents’ Basement Gaming Lounge or NYPB, for short. It’s located in the basement of 410 Main St. in Downtown Racine.
Entrance is gained through a courtyard and around the back of the building. After ringing the doorbell, an attendant grants admittance.
Once inside, players have access to all the equipment and games for a cost of $7 for one hour, $15 for three hours, $20 for five hours or $25 for eight hours.
The business is open on Thursdays 4 p.m. to midnight, Fridays 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturdays, noon – 2 a.m. and Sundays, noon – midnight. Mondays and Wednesdays are reserved for events. Party packages are available for $400 from noon to midnight with unlimited players or $15 per player for 4 hours for a minimum of six players.
Fundraising packages are also available for groups of 10 or more players on Monday – Wednesdays. Each $15 ticket is split 50/50 between the organization and NYPB.
Players of all ages are welcome, but children under the age of 14 need permission slips from their parents and must be picked up by 10 p.m.
NYPB will celebrate its second anniversary this summer and Ballantyne is contemplating expansion due to the popularity of the gaming lounge and his new partnerships with Twin Dragon Games and Racine Unified School District for eSports.
Dan and Christine Padilla, both 30, have moved their three-year-old business from Kenosha to partner with Ballantyne and operate inside of NYPB.
Twin Dragons Games is a retail seller of game cards like Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! They also sell board games and miniatures.
“We love to teach games because we love to play the games,” Christine said. “And these games are so good for kids – they help with reading, math, socialization and critical thinking.”
Christine also noted that NYPB is a safe place for kids to go because “there’s no bullying and no smack talking – no matter what game is played.”
And the games literally attract people of all ages, she said. “We have kids from 5 – 65 years old – I know because the 65-year-old is my mother!”
They also take their show on the road, as the couple facilitates the Pokeman Club at the Racine Public Library and host board game nights at the Racine Brewery and Divino Gelato.
In addition, they host board game night on Wednesday evenings at NYPB when the electronic games are generally closed (unless there’s a special event).
Twin Dragons hosts regular tournaments, as well as regular league play and special events. They post the schedules on their Facebook page.
They’re happy with their new home at NYPB because there’s a lot of crossover back and forth among the gamers.
NYPB is also the training facility for eSports teams from Horlick, Park and Case high schools. They also facilitate the St. Catherine’s and Walden teams at their schools.
The local schools practice and compete right at NYPB, which is equipped with a commentator studio for live streaming of the competitions on Twitch (a live streaming platform for gamers).
The Horlick, Park and Case eSports teams all went to state this year.
For Ballantyne, NYPB is a dream come true, since he’s had a vision for the business since he was a 16-year-old gamer looking for places to play. He personally takes care of maintenance for all the equipment and managing the operation. He’s also grateful for his dedicated staff, who support the operations of the lounge.
For more information call (262) 320-8344, email firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook @NYPBLounge or visit notyourparentsbasementgaming.com