For the last month, hip-hop radio station WENZ 107.9 has been holding weekly tournaments of football video game Madden 2008 at Upscale Bar and Lounge in Garfield Heights (10600 Broadway). For the un-initiated, competitive Madden doesn’t always attract the Dungeons and Dragons-style nerd culture you may be imagining. At Upscale, dudes gather around a flat-screen television and handle their controllers with all the dead seriousness of hustlers at a pool table. That senile white guy for whom the game series is named? He’s muted. The radio station is in charge of the music, and they blast cheesy R&B that gives way to gansta rap as the competition wears on.
The weekly winner gets a copy of the Xbox game, and two tickets to a Browns game. Next Monday is the last week, and then the five weekly winners play each other for a prize package that’s a bit vague, but includes a trip to an undisclosed location, and a chance to — what else? — play Browns DB Eric Wright at Madden 2008. There’s an immense amount of shit-talking, so if you can’t handle your opponent yelling, “Your offensive compression coverage is fuckin’ weak!” in your ear while you’re playing, you should probably find a different tournament. The games start at 7:30 next Monday, but get there early to sign up.
Also, a tip: While it’s certainly true that playing video games at a bar could be considered hopelessly nerdy no matter what music is playing, or how aggressive the posturing, I wouldn’t recommend making that argument there. -- Gus Garcia-Roberts