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By Angela Hey

About this blog: I write about technology companies, trends and events in and around Mountain View. Where else can you find startups nurtured by Y-Combinator and  (More)

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They've got game

Uploaded: Dec 15, 2008
The concept behind uWink is simple enough: Offer eating and computer gaming, both favorite local pastimes, under one roof.

Read the full story here posted Friday, December 12, 2008, 12:00 AM
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Angela Hey, Mountain View Voice Blogger,
on Dec 15, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Angela Hey is a registered user.

I liked ordering a refill for my iced tea from the table top screen. It was quick and efficient. Food ordering worked well, but I wish the screens could have been embedded in the table.

Over 30 years ago Nolan Bushnell created Pong - a simple tennis-like game where the screen was horizontal and embedded in the table. For ordering and for most games a horizontal screen would have been much better. If the screens could fold away or go flat that would be an improvement on the rather clumsy hardware currently on the table.

The WII and smartphones have raised users' expectations for games. I like the idea of playing games in a restaurant. It's a good idea to have a range of games. The first I played at UWink was a spot the difference in two pictures - fine for people who speak any language. It didn't demand high performance computing, allowed me to compete against other diners and was easy to learn. Doing a quiz well is much harder - it needs to be calibrated to the user - I found the Who Wants to Be A Millionaire style game too easy to begin with and then culturally biased for later questions. I like word games, but maybe UWink should get a license to a real game like Scrabble to make their games more exciting.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community,
on Jan 15, 2009 at 7:47 pm

A more appropriate place for this type of entertainment should be at the mall or near movie theatres. Not Castro Street.

Posted by eric, a resident of another community,
on Jan 16, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Neighbor, based on the sparse crowds at uWink, I think that the market agrees with you (as do I)-- kiddie oriented and fast food places rarely thrive in downtowns

Posted by Melissa L., a resident of Sylvan Park,
on Jan 17, 2009 at 11:54 am

I entirely agree with Frances' appraisal, but would like to add that the food is also mediocre; I think it'd have more of a place on Castro St. if its menu were more diverse and the quality of its food were to improve.

That said, I don't find this a "kiddie-oriented" or "fast food" establishment -- if I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that this place is geared toward people in their 20s. Cocktails and word puzzles don't scream "bring the kids after Little League practice" to me -- that's what commercials are for, amirite?

Anyway, I have to wonder how representative your samples are, Eric. When I've walked by, and when I've eaten there, it's been rather busy. I'm not touting the integrity of *my* samples over yours, nor do I argue that the place will succeed, but I am encouraging you and anyone who reads your comment to dismiss such casual quantitative data (particularly when it's used to lend credence to what is really a qualitative analysis).

Posted by eric, a resident of another community,
on Jan 17, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Melissa, I walk by there enough during business hours to say that my sample is representative of their daytime traffic-- they are not drawing a good lunch crowd, and I'm skeptical that they see much volume at 'happy hour'. Cant speak for evenings, but I doubt there are enough early 20's working in downtown to provide enough revenue during the week. They'd better be hopping on Friday and Saturday night!

I didnt mean 'kiddie' as in little league age. I meant early 20's ( I dont think too many people over 25 will see much appeal to a bar/restaraunt theat discourages REAL interaction!). And I do consider their fare to be fast food a la Chilis and its ilk.

This place would, I think, do fine in a mall, where they'd have lower overhead and more of their client base in place.

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