By Tristan Meiman

It’s no surprise that Richmond has been receiving a lot of new businesses lately. New bars, new places to eat and now, Eastern students will have a recreational place to game with friends.

Richmond Underground Gaming Center [RUGC] is Richmond’s newest alternative recreational business. Offering customers endless hours of laser tag along with console and PC gaming, this place almost seems too good to be true.

“At first it was just going to be laser tag,” said Rusty McAlister, owner of RUGC. “What better way to grab students’ attention than gaming and laser tag?”

The staff at RUGC has a different name for its version of laser tag, calling it “live-plays.” Players are given replicas of traditional firearms to use against each other in 9 vs. 9 matches. Depending on what match is played, whether it’s death match, capture and hold or bomb defuse, the rules change with each variant.

The weapons players are given range from the M16 combat rifle, Commando carbine, P90 and Scorpion compact. Each gun comes with scopes that provide players with red-dot sighting for improved accuracy.

Players are not only equipped with guns, but sensors to be worn over their heads. These headbands, as well as the guns, are your targets. Instead of clunking around in a heavy vest, you are required to aim for the gun and head, thus increasing the challenge of the game. And these guns are not cheap by any means. Each of the guns ranges from $1,000 to $1,500 a piece.

The arena is located in the basement and is filled with large wooden crates and plenty of dark areas for cover. Thankfully for you, it only costs $6 a game. At an even better deal, Eastern students, military and law enforcement receive a discount.  

Though this live gaming is a cool enough feature by itself, that is hardly all RUGC has to offer. The center also allows customers to play selected Xbox 360, PS3 and PC titles. Customers will have the following at their disposal:

•10 high-performance computers on 24-inch HD monitors

•Five Xbox 360 gaming consoles with X Rocker gaming chairs on 40-inch HD TVs

•Three PS3 gaming consoles on 55-inch 3D HD TVs

•Fully functional Xbox 360 Kinect system

As time goes on, staff members said the RUGC will host video game tournaments such as “Rock Band,” “Call of Duty” and more.

RUGC also sells and buys used video games. Customers can earn store credit, which can be spent on gaming or laser tag, and people who reserve new releases are given deals such as a free game of live gaming. Staff members said RUGC also does midnight releases for soon-to-be-expected titles. On nights of the midnight releases, customers can play the title hours before it is released, giving them a chance to try it out before anyone else.

To recap: 9 vs. 9 laser tag, student discounts, midnight releases, console and PC gaming? Sounds too good to be true, but true it is. On top of everything else, it’s affordable as well. Here is a list of prices for the RUGC:

Computer or console gaming (per game)—$5

Live gaming (per game)—$6

Day pass (unlimited)—$25

More prices and info can be found on the RUGC website at If you’re looking for an affordable recreational spot, RUGC is the newest and greatest around town.