Community First at Legacy Gaming
An Interview with Legacy Gaming's Juanrean Cooper
When Legacy Gaming opened as Tukwila’s first gaming lounge, a large emphasis was placed on building a community. Juanrean Cooper, Founder and CEO of Legacy Gaming Community, says that the business’ name is more than simply a label, it’s what he and his partner Shon Perkins are aiming to create. When it comes to giving back, Juanrean (who also goes by Juan for short), says, “this is what we're really about. It’s not always about making a dollar here and there. It's about getting back to being a village and being immersed in a community.”
That’s not to overlook what makes a gaming lounge a gaming lounge, however. According to Juanrean, Legacy offers “virtual reality, three different types: HTC Vive, Oculus Quest 2/Oculus Quest, PS4 VR soon to be PS5. PC gaming on all Alienware R8s, all consoles: Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation under the same roof, as well as our emulators, what we call the Turn Back Time Zone, that houses over 26,462 games for over 30 different systems on one little box… which goes back as far as Pong, Space Invader, Ms. Pac-man, all the way up to what we have today.” If you aren’t a gamer, all of that may read like jargon to you, but the headline is this: “We have a little bit of something for everyone, not just our die-hard gamers, but we cater to family as well.”
Juan may not have started in the videogames industry, but he has a deep passion for gaming. “My background and my partner's background are both Sysadmins by profession, so we're IT background. I went back to school again for game design…and really saw that I wanted to get into my own business and I started kind of building it at home…buying each one of these consoles.”
Once the decision was made to move from the garage, Tukwila was a natural fit for a gaming lounge based on its location and convenience. “Tukwila is kind of the nucleus for everything all things going through. It's kind of a central location… that hub for people to be able to get to back and forth very easily.” In addition, support came from organizations already working in the community. “Definitely the Chamber and Seattle Southside Tourism Authority…they really help with a lot of the marketing.”
The goal from the onset has been to build a real community out of the business, and that has already borne fruit in the form of Legacy’s esports teams. Their biweekly Super Smash Brothers Ultimate group has had a lot of success, surprising even Juan: “It's actually kind of taken flight and surprised me too. A group came up from California and the leader of that group was from Australia. So we recently got a DM on Facebook about a group coming from Australia to little ol' Legacy. … I was like, Wow!” And Smash Brothers is just the beginning, as Legacy was recently recruited by Amateur Esports of America and plans to guild out more teams. “We're going to be building our own Legacy teams in Fortnight, League of Legends, Rocket League, Valorant, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and any other games that are really valuable tournament-wise that the local community want to really get into. That will allow us to really compete against, like GameWorks and some of the other esports communities here.”
Giving Back & Empowering Youth
The next big part of the Legacy Gaming Community is the launch of the nonprofit arm, Legacy Enrichment and Mentorship, which is currently in the works. Juan and Shon want to ensure that the program is as academically rigorous as it is engaging for students. “It is tying in with the school system to tutor on curriculum, so it's not just meaningless tutoring. We want to really help build and boost the standardized testing scores.” They especially want to focus on students who have an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. “For anyone that wants to get into computer science, game design, teaching anything along those lines we want to nurture that.”
But the nonprofit will aim to do more than just teach, but to foster relationships between older and younger kids to provide guidance, role models, and mentorship. “If we nurture the kids and give them that positive outlet, I think that they're less likely to go astray.” Making sure that kids have a safe place to go after school, somewhere where they can build positive social skills, is central to Legacy’s aims. “Having a place like this where a parent can come and drop their kids off and know that they are going to be okay and taken care of that, they need to run an errand or what have you? They're here with Uncle Juan, and they're here with Uncle Shon, and we bring that family orient to what we do because we love what we do…we want to empower.”
Excitement on the Horizon
Aside from growing their community, there are some big innovations on the horizon for Legacy Gaming. Enhanced VR experiences and new hardware for old school gamers are in the works, as are plenty of new games. Events are another part of what Legacy has coming down the pipe…or should we say warp pipe, since one of the planned events is a Mario Day in honor of the Tukwila man who the videogame character Mario was named for. “The fire marshal told me, said that as…Nintendo was here in Tukwila and they rented a building and the gentleman who owned almost most of Tukwila was Italian and first name was Mario, and he said that they were late and got behind in the rent in the lease agreement and so they decided to name Mario after him and it stuck.” They’re also planning to celebrate Star Wars Day on May 4th (as in: “May the fourth be with you”) and other gamer-adjacent holidays to help give people a place to celebrate their passions.
Giving back to the community doesn’t end at the walls of Legacy Gaming, either. “A lot of times we can go out and take some of the headsets like the Oculus, or the Nintendo Switches and they're mobile so we can…donate two to four hours for charity events.” The investment of time and effort can have a more direct impact on those in need. “That's why we're so community-based is, it's easy to throw money at a problem and say, "Hey, I donated"... But if you will donate your time, it means more than money… time is the most precious thing I kind of found in the universe. There is no rewind button, you can't get it back.”
Ultimately, Legacy Gaming is about building a legacy for those who come after Juanrean and Shon. “I've had probably six people now that want to invest when we go to franchise…But when it comes to what we stand for, if they're not willing to do that nonprofit side and be there for the kids, then they're not willing to be a part of Legacy.”
Legacy is much more than your average gaming café, with multiple gaming options at your fingertips! Here, you can find the best graphics in gaming, HD, 4K. With technology to stay at the top of our industry, we have fast connections, powerful PC’s and graphics. If you are looking for the latest, Legacy Gaming has it!
Here is what Legacy Gaming is doing to keep you safe:
• Display on our website as well as all social media our very strong Covid Policy. Making it mandatory to wear a mask upon entry until seated at least.
• Checking temperatures upon entry as well have having more than enough sani-stations throughout our facility and hand out masks.
• We purchased a steamer for heavy traffic days so that even though we do a thorough cleaning after each station use. We take time through out the day to steam clean stations and allow a dry time before further use.
• We are promoting to reserve your gaming time via our website as to have a more controlled movement in and out of our facility. This helps to better limit the amount of walk-ins and helps to better control our 25% capacity thus keeping everyone a bit safer. Parents will love knowing that their children and themselves are very protected and appreciated.
Check out the 360 degree tour:
Tukwila's Gaming Cafe Has It All in #SeattleSouthside
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Legacy is much more than your average gaming café, with multiple gaming options at your fingertips! Here, you can find the best graphics in gaming…
Legacy Gaming654 Strander Blvd.
Tukwila, Washington 98188