Business takes byte out of game playing

Business takes byte out of game playing


By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

Another computer-based business appeared on the Rockford screen on Nov. 17. Forget trying to buy software, disks and computers at Lan Planet—put your game frame on and get ready to play.

Actually, Lan Planet, 929 S. Alpine Rd. Suite 106, possesses 18 computers with games to play. The games include generic versions of popular strategy and fighting games. While playing, players can alternate characters such as the grumpy Grinch or the spooky Dracula. Also, they either can play by themselves or interact with as many other computer users as they want who are playing the same game.

Carla and Kurt Wiesend wanted to start the business because similar businesses around the country exist and have experienced success. “We like playing games, and we thought we’d try it,” Carla Wiesend remarked. “Kurt knows computers, and we love playing these games. We’re hoping that there is a good enough market.”

Wiesend noted the company is in the process of hooking up a T-1 line, which is a telephone line that merely takes one minute to download other games off the Internet.

Wiesend said that some video games are rated M-17 (mature) and stressed that no one will monitor the kids. “There’s some flak about the video games and violence,” she said. “We can’t monitor what kids are playing.”

She said some games aren’t M-17 rated. She stressed that children under 12 years of age should be accompanied by a parent.

Wiesend said the business is good for kids because there aren’t many options around for their entertainment. She also said parents can know where their children are, if they are at Lan Planet.

Kids think the games are fun and so do many adults. Weisend noted that people ages 12 to 65 are captivated by the technology.

And for game enthusiasts looking for more traditional amusement, Lan Planet has an arcade including such classics as Ms. Pacman and Tetris. “It’s complementary,” Wiesend stated. “It’s all good fun.”

Besides the arcade and computers, the artwork is another complement to the business that spiffs it up a little. Lan Planet boasts a space-oriented facade, and the left wall has a solar-system painting on wall and a space logo design created by Parry Donze and Ray Schulz of Saturn Studio. “I think they did a spectacular job,” Wiesend said.

The Lan in Lan Planet stands for local area network, but the Wiesends also thought of throwing ‘planet’ in the name, and their space theme went from there. “We just decided to take it and run,” Wiesend said. After using computers, customers can go back to the counter and “return to earth.”

Lan Planet is closed on Mondays and is open from 12 to 10 p.m. during the week and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Cost is $5 per hour, and the waiting period is first-come, first-served. Reservations are recommended. Call 395-1888.

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