Caffeine 1UP: Ottawa’s very own Videogame Café

Originally Published for TheNerdistheWord September 2016

“I Open at the Close”
Earlier this week, we heard that a local nerdy business, Monopolatte, a boardgame hangout, would be shutting down. Don’t worry; this isn’t a sign; the nerdy spirit hasn’t left our busy town. As one door closes, another opens- and right on Rideau street! Instead of being sad, celebrate the glorious and brand new Caffeine 1UP, Ottawa’s very own videogame café. The Nerd is the Word was onsite September 19th 2016 for their beta opening bash, on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, ARRRG!

The official Caffeine 1UP GRAND OPENING is September 26th.

What is Caffeine 1UP?
The owner of Caffeine 1UP, Heather Powell, is currently very happy to meet both the gaming community and her neighbours as patterns of day to day business begin to solidify. A variety of customers, have curiously been peeking in; some seek the coffee and tea specialty, others are curious about the gaming consoles and Nintendo universe-themed décor. The café is perfectly located, near the University of Ottawa campus and the busy Rideau Centre; an area that can always use an extra dash of geekery.

Caffeine 1UP is a little gem open to all ages, welcoming both skilled and casual gamers, as well as any coffee lovers looking for a cool place to hangout. For $5 (currently discounted to $3!) you can play as long as you like with systems XBOX, XBOX 360, PlayStation, PlayStation2, SEGA Genesis, NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, Wii-U! See their website for the full library of games.

Not in the mood for gaming? Don’t be shy! As a full service café, offering delicious pastries and sandwiches, as well as fantastic espresso drinks and teas, videogames are almost just the cherry on top. Plenty of seating is offered for relaxing and reading your favorite novel or comic book (as long as you let Heather read over your shoulder). The large center table would also be perfect for board games and role-play campaigns, which are fully permitted by the staff.

A Place for Social Connections
We asked, seeing the large library of classic games, if Heather might have a thing for retro gaming. Some of the consoles available for customers to play with used to be her own childhood systems; they are incredibly well maintained, and you can tell they were treasured for decades. There is an aspect of nostalgia for the games of the 1990s and early 2000s that brings players together (who doesn’t feel like a kid again seeing Mario Kart on an original SNES), but it is not the main reason behind Caffeine 1UP choice of games.

Heather explained that, unfortunately, newer games barely allow for split screen multiplayer gaming, which is the entire reason behind the creation of this café. As opposed to the strictly virtual style of group play modern consoles seem to impose, older consoles focused on bringing friends and family together within the same room. Caffeine 1UP is all about offering a place for social gatherings, and thus appreciates the way retro videogames were once played.

Time seems to stand still inside the café, making it easy to sit back, forget your worries, and enjoy good company over a game. The all accepting community is an ideal place for social connections to naturally occur among both experienced and new gamers. Station #1, where a Wii U console is installed, was invented for the exact purpose of bringing people together. It is dubbed the LFG (aka Looking For Group) table, where single players can signal their desire to meet new friends, or a new arch nemesis. Heather recounted the first time she witnessed strangers meet and enjoy a game together: “my heart swelled” she said with power stars glittering in her eyes, “it’s what I want to see.”

So Much Ahead!
Caffeine 1UP is up to a great start, but also gave us quite a bit to look forward to!

The Nerd is the Word is happy to announce that Caffeine 1Up is the location of our first event! To help celebrate the GRAND OPENING of Caffeine 1UP we will be holding a Golden Eye (N64) tournament and giving away prizes! Come join us on September 26th at 7pm for some James Bond fun! All paid gaming time on grand opening day goes to Ability First Ottawa charity. Check the event page for more details!

Heather is also planning a few gaming  challenges among other “funky fun things” for the future. We just can’t wait for these announcements! Ladies Night will also probably be a monthly occasion, where gamer girls will get to play for free. Soon, leader boards will be on display where record holders of various games will be honored. Mario Kart time trial anyone?

Come witness Heather Powell’s passion for both coffee and videogames. An upbeat staff, friendly atmosphere, and fun gaming experience awaits you at Caffeine 1UP, now officially part of the downtown Ottawa nerdy scenery.


Check out the Caffeine 1UP Website!

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