By Rachel Bogle – CBS 4
BROWNSBURG, Ind. — After traveling all over the country to cities like Las Vegas and Orlando and spending lots of money at various entertainment venues that offered attractions he and his family could enjoy together, Ray Embry came up with an idea.
What if he combined all the best attractions he had seen at gaming lounges, virtual reality cafes and other entertainment destinations and put them all under one roof?
Even better– why not put it right in the town he and his family calls home?
That is exactly what Embry did when he opened Press Play Gaming Lounge at 1004 E. Main Street in Brownsburg last year. Not only did he give new life to long vacant space, but he gave families a safe outlet to get out of the house and bond over a little friendly competition.
“This used to be an old Marsh… 28,000 square feet,” he explained. “And we knew a lot of the grocery stores are being emptied now so I was like, ‘Let’s go out to the grocery stores. They’re empty, nobody is using them.’”
Now that space is completely transformed, and every inch is packed with something to do.
Press Play offers everything form arcade games, massage chairs, a BEAM interactive gaming floor, pool tables, and foam wars — with a whole room decked out for epic NERF battles.
There’s even a 3-point challenge where you can show off your hoop skills to win prizes if you’ve got “nothing but net.”
“That’s something that you generally see at amusement parks but we got it indoors now,” said Embry.
Immerse yourself in virtual reality gaming using the Oculus and Oculus Quest 2, with more than 50 games to choose from.
“We get you set up with a headset and let you go,” said Embry. “There [are] no wires. You don’t feel anything pulling, tugging on you. It’s just you and you’re in the game. It’s kind of like that movie ‘Ready Player One’. [You] just go into a completely different world.”
Whether you’re watching the overhead monitors in the VR area or giving Xbox gaming a try, Embry says Press Play has given families an engaging outlet to get out and spend time together.
“We’ll see dad and daughters come in. We’ll see dad and sons come in. We’ll see families of 4, families of 5, families of 6,” he noted. “And it’s a beautiful thing because whether you’re with two people or you’re with 16, it seems like everybody can have fun for a change.”
You’ll even find pool tables and other fun games around the facility.
“We’ve added a mini arcade and…we’re working with a partner so it’s just a dollar per game so still very affordable… so there’s lots of different options here,” Embry said.
Press Play is popular for birthday parties so you’ll need to book in advance to reserve one of their private party rooms, which are ideal for large groups.
“One of our packages is called the Silver Package [and it costs] $299… but you get 13 people that can game and in the [party] rooms you can actually fit 20-25 people,” he explained.
Smaller groups can lounge in one of the cozy and socially-distanced TV pods with no reservation needed.
“The party rooms are [for] 10 people and above. The pod parties are 10 and under,” said Embry. “So, if you have less than 10 people and want to have a birthday party, the pod party is a perfect party for you.”
There’s even a full bar and a café. And if you are hanging out in a TV pod, you will have your own server.
Embry took great care in cultivating a menu that would exceed customers’ expectations.
“Our food is amazing!” he said. “Most people brag on their own stuff but we basically sat with one of the top vendors in the state and they cooked for us from 9 in the morning until 4 PM. We basically sat down and told them, ‘Yes to this, no to this, yes to this,’ and out of that we crafted our own menu.”
One must-try is the gourmet pizza, which Embry says can hold its own against some of Brownsburg’s favorite pizza joints.
“We really take our time. Our pizzas probably have 9 to 10 ingredients on it because we want every bite to be flavorful,” he said.
Four Things You Need to Know About Press Play Gaming Lounge:
- Ray Embry opened Press Play Gaming Lounge last year inside a long-vacant space located at 1004 E. Main Street in Brownsburg. The massive 28,000 square foot space was once home to a Marsh grocery store but has now been transformed into a must visit family-friendly entertainment venue.
- It offers everything from virtual reality gaming, a BEAM interactive play floor for young children up to 10 years old, a mini arcade, pool tables, foam wars (AKA a NERF battle zone), 3-point challenge basketball area, TV pods, private birthday rooms, a full bar and café. They even have high-tech massage chairs to kick back and relax.
- Press Play Gaming Lounge is open Thursdays from 4-8 PM, Fridays 4-10 PM, Saturdays 12 PM-10 PM and Sundays from 2-8 PM.
- When it comes to pricing, you can pick à la carte— with most attractions costing $5-$10 for one-time play. Or you can go all-inclusive with a one hour pass for $30, a 2-hour pass for $45, $65 for a one day pass and $125 for a Friday-Sunday all-weekend unlimited pass.
For more information on Press Play Gaming Lounge, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect on social media via Facebook and Instagram.