Fans of Gamma Ray Games and Raygun Lounge have likely noticed some changes and can expect a few more in the coming months.
A grand reopening to celebrate the overhaul including new lighting, and some layout changes for the combined Capitol Hill retail/gaming/eating/drinking space is planned for Saturday. More arcade games, coffee and beer taps are on their way.
“The neighborhood has changed a lot and the market has changed a lot so we’re kind of adjusting,” owner Eric Logan told CHS. “…What we used to do worked seven years ago. It doesn’t work today.”
Logan opened Gamma Ray Games in 2009, focusing on tabletop games. Raygun Lounge bringing food and beer to the mix followed in 2012. The two combined into one space in 2014. About 60 gamers can hang out drink, eat and game at any given time in the space.
But Logan is branching out to entice Capitol Hill’s newest residents to stop in, so he’s expanding the barcade area with enough pinball machines and arcade games to qualify for league play. The business knocked down a closet and shifted the bar to make enough room along the east wall to fit all the games.
Logan had hoped to get the games installed in time for Saturday, but the fact that the wiring in the operation’s 104-year-old space hasn’t been updated since the 1980s slipped his mind. Oops.
So he’s getting working on updating the wiring and hopes to get the games going in the next couple weeks. Next Friday, or so Logan plans to begin serving caffeine in one of its favorite Capitol Hill forms — espresso shots. Logan already has a couple coffee gurus on staff and is hiring two new people. The place is busy at night, Logan said, so with the coffee, he’s trying to boost the daytime crowd.
But the evening crowd doesn’t need to worry; taps are coming. Logan estimates Raygun will be serving drafts in mid-February. Further down the road, maybe mid-June, Logan hopes to be putting a full liquor license to use.
Gamma Ray and Raygun on E Pine between Summit and Belmont have been “alone in a construction crater for two to three years,” Logan said. Its old neighbors have disappeared and new ones have stepped into the holes they left. Different people have moved in, and Logan wants to include them, the “tech bros,” while still being a little weird for the longtime fans.
“I will let a tech bro in. I will bring in drag queens. … I will let them sit near one another. I will let them hear one another,” Logan said. “… I have to welcome anyone and everyone who will come in.”
The thing about gaming is it gives people who represent different groups that don’t always agree a space to engage in an activity together and often times enjoy spending time together, Logan said.
While the changes to Gamma Ray and Raygun and the grand reopening party are in part to adjust to the changing neighborhood, the investments are also to stay competitive with all the other game shops that have popped up since Gamma Ray ran the neighborhood and was one of the only players in Seattle proper.
Logan’s glad to have competition, but it means changes need to be made to stay relevant. Gamma Ray, for instance, lacked geeky, nerdy gifts — jewelry, pins, posters, etc. — so now Logan’s bringing those in instead of focusing on hard-to-get games that are now actually easier to find with all the game stores.
As Logan’s made recent changes Gamma Ray and Raygun have remained open.
“I really do like the idea of people seeing people (the updates completed) with fairly minimal resources,” Logan said.
Patrons of Gamma Ray and Raygun are excited about the changes, Logan said.
“One of the weird things about the gaming, pop culture, fan geek market is that they’re really enthusiastic,” he said. If the new and coming changes don’t work, Logan said will make changes to “meet people where they are.”
At Saturday’s grand reopening, the Video Game Orchestra and Choir will kick things off at noon. Raygun will have a mimosa special, and attendees could snag a free t-shirt. As always games, food and drink will be available.
Gamma Ray Games and the Raygun Lounge are located at 501 E Pine. You can learn more at gammaraygamestore.com.