Nerd den, rumpus room, play space. Call it what you will, every house needs a little pocket of escape; a sanctuary brimming with bean bags and good times where you can put on the blinkers and tune out from the world.
From uber-powerful projectors and gaming rigs to soundbars and voice-activated pool tables (no more pound coins on the table top for you cue-maestro), in the rec room of tomorrow, gizmos and gadgets rule the roost and smart home tech is the fulcrum of fun. You still want it to look good though, right?
We’ve hacked ‘n’ slashed our way through the pages of Instagram to bring you the top trends, techniques, and techie toys to make your games room look swish and oh so smart.
Lights camera action
Australian nature photographer mrperrycho takes a break from the pretty birds to showcase the power of smart lighting in a home cinema set up with Lifx's Wi-Fi connected smart bulbs and strip lights.
Operated via the Lifx app or Google Assistant voice controls, users can control individual or multiple lights and program themes to create a beguiling atmosphere (we’re thinking blood red for horror night). Here, the neon rim and blushing back lights not only bring a warmth to the room they also dim when the movie starts and brighten up once it’s over for that true cinema vibe.
This may well be a promo shot for Keecker, the rolling projector-slash-butler-bot designed by ex-Googler Pierre Lebeau, but it captures the essence of the Kickstarter-funded gizmo perfectly: it’s a portable home cinema, great for those makeshift and momentary flirtations with having a rec room without actually having one.
The little egg boosts a 4.1 surround sound system, a panoramic camera, and 1,000 lumen LED projector that throws up a 78-inch, 720p image. It’s also voice activated. And its matte-white and black striped casing means it melts into the background of contemporary homes when it’s not taking centre stage. Better still, it can double up as a projector of art, adding a flush of finesse to the bare canvases of empty walls and ceilings.
Keeping up with the IMAXs
Let IMAX build you a home theatre with dual 4K 2D/3D projectors, IMAX sound, and media playback for gaming, TV, and even karaoke. To really impress the in-laws, in Asia, the Private Theatre comes with the option of the Home Premier box. Once opened with fingerprint recognition, the $10k bolt-on lets you watch new films at the same time as they’re released in the cinemas.
The entry level Palais screen starts at $400,000 - and if you’re flouting one of only a handful of IMAX home screens installed in the world the only way to go is grandeur, folks. We’re talking 1950’s Hollywood class, barrel-vaulted ceilings, plumped cushions and chandeliers. And if that doesn’t impress the neighbours, get one installed on your super yacht instead.
Scratch the underbelly of Instagram and a whole load of gaming stations will giggle out. Colour and ambience play a huge part in getting the likes but the real key to creating a cool space to game is to build a theme, matching colours, lighting, and uber-tech to turn a desk top into a digital canvas.
The example below proves Marvel movie inspiration isn’t just for the fashion influencers. Created by YouTuber, UrAvgConsumer, the pristine bruise of the purple and matte black show the style of Black Panther. It’s the little touches that really count, from the Surface Dial to the levitating speakers to the sleek and illuminating Corsair ST100 Headphone Stand – all designed to emulate Wakandan technology. You can watch the full movie here. And for another example of a great themed battlestation check out the feed of gamer, artist, and Nintendo-phile Leyla.
Chris McCallum is the don of gaming rooms with three to his name. Unlike the above considered vibe however, McCallum’s ethos is simply to throw a bunch of tech in a space and hope for the best.
The result is a hodgepodge of consoles, Amazon Echo Dots, JBL speakers, Sky Q, an Optoma DH1008 projector 131” screen, smart sockets, connected light bulbs and climate control. There’s even a soothing Dyson Pure Cool Link for when the depths of hell get too much (DOOM reference people, keep up). Combined with a minimalist TV stand and coffee table, surprisingly, it works.
Gamers love a bit of smart lighting and the geometric shapes of the Nanoleaf Lighting Panels pull double duty as mood lighting and wall art, working together to elevate a battlestation to a level of neon-cool dynamism.
As shown here by small-time Twitch streamer j.kerr1990 (who seems more interested in showing off his Nanoleaf than streaming games to be honest) the customisable colours and inter-changeable panels make for the perfect bedfellow when using a screen as a canvas of gaming artwork, God of War or otherwise. The voice-operated panels can also be programmed with automated lighting events making it the coolest alarm clock ever.