New Ferndale Gaming Lounge Offers Digital Playground for Community
Activ8 celebrated its grand opening and ribbon-cutting on Thursday.
Whether you want to jam with a full seven-piece crew in "Rock Band," find out which of your friends has the best handling in Mario Kart or finally get all your buddies in the same room to play Call of Duty, Activ8 has you covered.
The new video game lounge, located at 374 Hilton in Ferndale, has a wide range of playing options for gamers looking to make an event of it.
Activ8 is available exclusively for party rentals and also offers a mobile gaming unit for weddings and other events. The lounge celebrated its grand opening and ribbon-cutting on Thursday and is inviting the community to an open house from 12-6 p.m. on Jan. 19.
The studio's set-up is diverse, offering up various consoles, high-end gaming PCs, a 16-foot video wall and more. The space is available for (and has already hosted some) kids' birthday parties, corporate events and bachelor parties.
"I think we outdid ourselves with this place," said Neil Nosakowski, CEO of Activ8.
Nosakowski says he grew up playing video games and he and his friends used to bring their computers over to each other's houses so they could play together.
That experience instilled "not so much a love for gaming but a love for that kind of community that we created," he said.
Wanting to help others create that experience led him to opening the lounge. "Watching people play games together is so much fun," he said.
And video game parties are in demand - especially among adults. Many of today's gamers are in their 30s and 40s and - like Nosakowski - are now getting to share the experience with their kids.
"We're in the right spot. And it's only going to get better," he said.
The gaming lounge environment also shows that gaming isn't always an isolating activity.
"A lot of people think that's where it stops until they come to a place like this," Nosakowski said, pointing out the difference when you get to make eye contact and connect with the people you're playing with. "Once you do that it doesn't go back."
Nosakowski said he wants people to know "you can come here, you can play, compete and still have that sense of community," he said.
Jennifer Roosenberg, executive director of the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke during the ribbon-cutting and said Activ8 has "jumped right in" to being involved with the community, including helping out with the Hilton Fall Festival.
Jay McMillan, chairman of the chamber's board of directors, said he's happy to see another unique new business come to town.
"I'm excited because it does embrace the different way of doing business that Ferndale offers," he said.
McMillan said he has a couple friends who have already had parties at Activ8. "It was an amazing time," he said.
In fact, the Chamber of Commerce is hosting their Chamber Night Out there later this month. "I think it'll be a riot," he said.
Nosakowski said Ferndale "is our ideal spot" and said the Ferndale community "is nothing but embracing us, which is more than we can ask for," he said.