March 28, 2020

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Winnipeg Free Press

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Game changer?

This ain't your grandpa's Rec Room: Cineplex set to open entertainment and eats emporium

Cineplex is set to open a new entertainment venue in Winnipeg next month and visitors will be hard-pressed to find anything resembling a movie theatre on-site.

The Rec Room, located on Sterling Lyon Parkway west of IKEA, is part of the company’s expansion into the world of food, beverage and social gaming. The 42,000 square foot space will include a full-service restaurant and bar, sprawling arcade and live entertainment venue geared towards a specific clientele.

"The Rec Room was created to really fill a need, particularly for a millennial demographic, who really value social experiences that they can share together," said Christina Kuypers, vice president, operations and guest experience for The Rec Room.

"They value material goods less, I’m a millennial and we don’t care as much about owning a home and owning a car and having stuff, we want to share memories."

Christina Kuypers is the VP of operations and guest experience of The Rec Room and Playdium, a new, 42,000 square foot entertainment venue on Sterling Lyon Parkway. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Christina Kuypers is the VP of operations and guest experience of The Rec Room and Playdium, a new, 42,000 square foot entertainment venue on Sterling Lyon Parkway. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

The local venue is expected to open in mid-February and it will be the eighth Rec Room Cineplex has opened in the last four years.

Kuypers took the Free Press on a tour of the space, which is still under construction, on Friday morning.

The restaurant and lounge, named Three10, is situated next to a bank of windows that will look out onto a south-facing patio in the summer. The dining and bar area will have 55 television screens that Kuypers hopes will attract local sports fans.

The restaurant will be open from brunch until late and includes an eclectic menu of shareable plates, mains and deserts. The Rec Room also has a quick service bar and food counter called The Shed serving beer, pizza and mini donuts.

The dining area features a restaurant and lounge, named Three10, and will contain 55 television screens. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

The dining area features a restaurant and lounge, named Three10, and will contain 55 television screens. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

"It’s all too easy for people who have spent time in arcades to associate it with a sad hot dog or a slice of pizza, we knew we could do better," Kuypers said.

The bar leads into the on-site auditorium that has a stage, dance floor and a retractable wall designed to close off the space for private functions and ticketed events, which could be anything from comedy to live music to trivia.

The gaming floor holds more than 120 amusement and arcade games that are rotated at least once a year. Millennial nostalgia played a role in game selection, says Kuypers, with titles like Mario Kart, Cruis’n the World and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles making an appearance.

"We have a lot of titles that... are very, very nostalgic for those of us who grew up in that time and went to those dingy little arcades and spent our summers playing games," Kuypers said.

That said, the games are suitable for younger and older generations as well.

The gaming floor holds more than 120 amusement and arcade games that are rotated at least once a year. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

The gaming floor holds more than 120 amusement and arcade games that are rotated at least once a year. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

There are no tokens or tickets required to play. The Rec Room uses RFID wristband technology that can be loaded with credits and scanned at individual games.

Games cost an average of five to six credits to play and prices start at $10 for 40 credits. Players can accumulate points that can be exchanged for prizes.

There is also a bowling alley, virtual reality arena and axe throwing cage around the perimeter; as well as dart boards and pool and ping pong tables scattered throughout the venue.

The Rec Room joins a growing list of experiential outing options in Winnipeg, like those offered at Uptown Alley in the West End and Activate in St. James.

Along with the  bowling alley there is a virtual reality arena and axe throwing cage. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Along with the bowling alley there is a virtual reality arena and axe throwing cage. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

eva.wasney@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @evawasney

Eva Wasney

Eva Wasney
Arts Reporter

Eva Wasney reports on arts, culture and life for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Read full biography

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