Cybercafes serve an explosive brew

If you're thinking of a cybercafe as a mellow place to check your e-mail and have a cup of coffee, Net 2 Net is definitely not for you.

For starters, the only beverages sold here are sodas. And consider the dark lighting, moody orange walls, upbeat hip-hop music on the stereo, and rows of computers and headphones. Most of the screens display violent game images of pistols, shotguns, assault rifles and AK-47s being used to decimate terrorists -- and counterterrorists.

''When you play these games at home, the action lags,'' says Kevin Moon, 13, of nearby Westminster, another Disneyland-area suburb of Los Angeles. ''These computers here are much faster. This is a great place to hang out.''

Some might disagree. In fact, after a few recent high-profile crimes -- including a fatal stabbing -- authorities are so concerned about the cyber hangouts' potential for breeding violence that they've passed new laws restricting hours that teens may be present.

But Moon says he spends most weekends here, bringing along $5 for each visit, good for 2 hours of multiplayer combat games such as Counterstrike, Starcraft and Diablo 2. And he's not alone. Many teens in Garden Grove (pop. 169,000) flock to the 21 gaming cafes in town. Two years ago, there were three.

This shift from low-key havens for sipping lattes and checking stocks to cyber battlegrounds has been most pronounced in Southern California, home to the nation's biggest cluster of game cafes.

News source: Yahoo!

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