NYCLAN: Of/By/For the Gamers

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NYCLAN Final Logo

Strictly console-based, NYCLAN aims to redefine what the social, gaming experience is, helping you take your game as far as possible at the same time. If you like LAN parties and a casual atmosphere, there’s something for you. If you’re already a pro, or are looking to become one, you can train here, keep your fingers agile and your skills crazy awesome. The variety of events they offer covers multiple approaches to gaming, and personally reminds me of the best birthday parties I had as a kid: Super Bomberman 2 and a Multitap were all you and your friends needed back in the day. Riteus (pronounced like “righteous”) and Felinne are the proprietors of NYCLAN (New York Clan or New York City LAN), a venture into social gaming that officially opens its doors on October 20th. Alumni of Columbia and Harvard universities, respectively, and nearly unscathed refugees of the NYC corporate world, this team opted to pursue their passion for video games by taking the form of communal gaming in a new direction. Imagine getting the most out of your multiplayer games by playing in a competitive, lag-free LAN environment. No standby, no waiting, no insults, no cheating. You come put your controller where your mouth is, and I know I can fit at least two XBOX controllers in mine –- the original ones, not the S-controller. Meet the owners in Dtoid’s exclusive interview after the jump!

(P.S. Destructoid Readers – got someone for us to interview? Let us know!)

KittyDestructoid: Who are you, really?

Riteus: We are Brian Tang (Riteus) and Kia Song (Felinne).

[Disclosure: Yours truly, the Pidge, attended university with Riteus.]

Destructoid: What makes you any sort of authority on video games?

Felinne: We’ve been gamers as long as we can remember. I was into HALO 1 hardcore, but it all began with a portable Donkey Kong hand-me-down; I never looked back.

Riteus: At one point, I was in the top ten Starcraft ladder players on One of my favorite memories is being a beta tester for Mr. Blonde’s Doom II WAD, dogtag.wad. It was a primitive form of CTF, that really changed the multiplayer in all FPS games that followed. I’m also awesome at all the NHL2K games.

Pidge: I’d question your modesty, if you hadn’t destroyed me so many times in hockey.

Destructoid: How did you come up with NYCLAN?

Felinne: Back in our corporate days, we were looking for a place to LAN on weekends. We found nothing in the city of New York that had the kind of fun and social gaming atmosphere we were looking for. So, we decided to throw our own and ended up packing house.

Riteus: For me, there was a progression from PC LAN-games to console LAN play. NYCLAN is strictly console-based, so it’s different from regular LAN cafés. Pidge: LAN cafés that happen to be really shady and dangerous in NY. Two friends of mine were in one in Chinatown, when a patron stabbed another guy in the head with a screwdriver.

Riteus: Exactly. We wanted to create a safe place with good games and good people, a place people would want to come back to and socialize.

Destructoid: What did NYCLAN look like when it started?

Felinne: We started out about a year ago by renting places out for one night at a time for our weekly events. We realized that the spots started filling up really quickly, and that people would end up waiting two to three hours just to get a chance to play.

Riteus: It gave us a great reason to open our own venue, to create a central location that would let us handle multiple events series, and unify the local gaming culture.

Destructoid: What games were you playing?

Riteus: We focused on HALO 2. Felinne: Our idea now is to design multiplayer events around the feedback and suggestions we get from our patrons, so that every week you can come on the night of your favorite event, and expect 30-50 other people looking for the same video game action.

Pidge: Of personal interest, will you have Super Bomberman 2? That’ll set me back thirteen years.

Felinne: Absolutely yes.

Destructoid: What level of players do you most frequently get?

Felinne: All sorts, and accommodating all of them is an important part of our new setup. We don’t want to alienate the casual and competitive gamers from coming in because they can’t find people of their skill level to play against, so we target events for different people. For instance, our Pro Scrims program is for serious gamer training.

Pidge: So, if you’re not a pro, yet, you can pay to get beaten by one? Riteus: Maybe if it were you playing, but I know there are some hardcore people out there who’d like to have some real bragging rights.

Riteus Destructoid: What’s the setup you have?

Riteus: Our Main Floor consists of 16 stations capable of supporting 4 players split-screen depending on the event type. We also have a Next Gen Showcase, an area featuring every gamer’s dream setup, to play the latest next-gen titles. We can therefore have up to 68 players gaming simultaneously and will rotate players to ensure everyone has a great time. For our main floor we chose the non-HD Samsung TX-S2783 – 27″ Slimfit Flat SDTV, to avoid the “video game lag” that the electronics industry likes to ignore. You know…that lag that causes video games to be delayed by precious tenths of seconds between the controller and what’s actually happening on the screen. Most people can’t tell, but it’s frustrating for experienced gamers who can sense it immediately.

Felinne: Our events are mostly centered around XBOX, Playstation 2, Gamecube, Nintendo 64, but we’ll have XBOX 360, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo onsite, as well. We’re also planning wireless events for PSP and DS in the future.

Destructoid: Tell us more about the new venue, and the grand opening.

Riteus: Well, we’ve been working really long on the new space, which is located at 226 West 4th Street, on the corner with 7th Avenue at Sheridan Square. We’re nearing the end of the renovation, and it’s looking great.

Felinne: Our launch weekend begins on Friday, October 20th, and we’re going to have some exciting events lined up for it.

Destructoid: Any hints about what you have in store that you can divulge to our crowd of devoted robot followers, with their ever-piqued curiosity?

Felinne: We’re looking into some cool giveaways –- the details will be up soon on our new website, and we should have some special offers for Destructoid readers who come out to see what we’re all about. We have some absolute classics lined up that are going to make people jump out of their seats.

Pidge: Alright, hopefully all our Dtoid readers that can get to New York will come out and see what you’re about. Check out the website at for more information. Thanks, guys.

R&F: Thanks to all the Dtoid readers!

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