The dark windows at 18 N. Park shone a little brighter on Saturday as a modern-day arcade finds new life under new management and a different name.
The business known as Leveled Up VR closed months ago after one of the owners left the company. Since opening in August of 2021, Leveled Up had morphed from a PC and VR gamer’s paradise into more of a retro-arcade hangout, drawing in an older crowd and causing younger kids—and their parents—to look elsewhere for their entertainment. Eventually, the owner responsible for most of those changes exited the company.
Under new management, the company has rebranded itself as Nerd Palace and returned to the vision of its original purpose. Nerd Palace now has 16 state-of-the-art PCs, plus gaming stations for XBOX One and Playstation 4. Virtual reality is still absent, but should be making a comeback, says Nerd Palace Manager Gage Tollette. “We are planning to bring that back, but some of the stuff we need to order is hard to find,” he said.
In the meantime, Nerd Palace is pushing forward with what they have now: a great place to hang out with friends and spend some time playing Valorant or Rocket League.
Tollette says that a new system helps make the gaming experience smoother, and makes it easier to do other things too: you can buy an hourly pass, order snacks, or even “summon a human” if you need help—all without leaving your chair. Hourly passes are $6 for an hour, $11 for 2 hours, or 4 hours for $20. An all-day pass is $35.
Tollette says that those looking to play in tournaments should not fret. “We’re bringing those back, too. We just have to get it figured out how we’re going to do that,” he said.
Watch carefully this week, and you might find Nerd Palace friends hanging out little cards that are good for a free hour of gameplay.
Nerd Palace is open 4-11 pm every day. You can find them on Facebook, and their website is coming soon.