Far too often we see old game rooms with ping-pong tables and other rec-room staples be discarded for shiny new home theaters. We like the home theater part, but if there’s room, why not save the ping-pong, foosball and air hockey equipment—and create a really fun, multiuse space that’s perfect for parties?
That’s what this Westchester County, N.Y., family did with their walk-out lower level. A 52-by-25-foot space afforded them plenty of space for a rockin’ home theater and a game room to boot. The game area isn’t just a landing spot for the analog air hockey and ping pong tables. It also offers high-tech digital gaming, with its own video screen, video game consoles and speakers.
The kids have a space that they can enjoy, spread out and really use,” says Andrea Reiner of systems installer Innerspace Electronics in Port Chester, N.Y. “It’s designed so that the kids, who are avid gamers, can get multiscreen video games going.”
Wii, Xbox and PlayStation consoles are available, with graphics in Full HD 1080p resolution on a 52-inch Sony Bravia LCD. Audio for the games comes through two Triad InWall Silver/4 Omni speakers in the ceiling. Although the speakers are made for in-wall use, Reiner says, “The whole house is outfitted with rectangular speakers in the ceiling, so we wanted to be consistent. Neither the architect, nor the client, liked the look of round speakers.”
Even while gaming, the family has a view of the home theater, which sports its own 123-inch Stewart Filmscreen and SIM2 Grand Cinema HT Series single-chip DLP projector, along with powerful Triad speakers and subwoofers in a 7.2-channel array. The home theater system is driven by a Denon AVR-3808CI receiver. It’s not the most upscale surround-sound system out there, but the Denon-Triad combo provides some power and grace at a reasonable budget, according to Innerspace.
Despite their close proximity, the home theater and game room are separate zones on the whole-house audio system, which means two different pieces of music can play simultaneously. Tunes from XM Satellite Radio, iPods, AM/FM tuners are a few of the options.
Control of the equipment in both areas comes courtesy of a Crestron home control system, with an in-wall touchscreen at the entrance to the game room and a wireless Crestron 5.6-inch STX-1700CXP touchpanel in the theater.
Whether enjoying a game in the home theater or gaming in the game room, these homeowners are always ready for a party.
Game (Room) Preparation
We asked Reiner to tell us how to get our game (room) face on. Here are her planning tips:
1. Who will use the space? If it’s adults, you’re going to lay it out in a far different manner than if only kids will be using the area.
2. If your intent is to make the space kid-friendly, ask your children for their opinions. It can really take the room from an expensive space that’s never used to the hangout of the house.
3. Talk about what the space is going to be used for. If it’s an all glass room and it’s going to be used to watch golf in the summer, a motorized screen and projector is still doable, as long as there are window treatments. If the kids are going to be using it mostly for gaming, perhaps a multi-display setup would be more suitable.
Credit: Olson Photographic
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates