The LED-lit basketball pitch at FUZED, Source: FUZED

Helsingborg lures gamers out of their shells with a socializing space

Helsingborg lures gamers out of their shells with a socializing space

Imagine a place for computer gaming, where healthy food is served, and physical activity is required

The Swedish city of Helsingborg is worried about the physical and mental well-being of its gamer community. The boom of that pastime has created an entire subculture and industry that caters to the tastes and interests of gamers, yet not as much is being done to address the issues and shortcomings that come in its wake, especially as they relate to the health of gamers.

With this in mind, the Municipality’s leisure spaces department, Fritid Helsingborg, set out to form a partnership with the private sector to create a special place that would encourage gamers to leave their homes and secluded lives and do healthy things like sports and socializing. And all of that, without having to quit doing their favourite hobby.

That place, called FUZED, opened doors in September at Rundgången 24 in Helsingborg (near the police station) and is a facility of over 3,000 square meters, where e-sports meets physical activity. It invites young people (the majority among gamers) to actually form a community that transcends the virtual borders and gets back to reality.

Fusing online and offline lives

Gaming has an innate paradox that members of the community may communicate regularly online, yet they rarely if ever meet in real life. That can foster feelings of isolation and alienation in the long run. Not to mention that these young people rarely get to move, stretch and practice some sports.

Gamers can still play computer games – the first three hours are free of charge, however, they now also have the option to go for a game of basketball or football. There are pitches for those sports in the hall. In fact, the distance from the keyboard to the LED-lit field, where you can try basketball or football, is really short.

Everyone can participate, based on their own level. It's about having fun together without it getting heated, without the competitive element. Not everyone is equally drawn to playing basketball in a traditional sports hall. We believe there is a benefit in presenting movement and sport in a new way. We hope to remove obstacles, says Brita Jensen, head of Fritid Helsingborg.

Even more, the centre offers the services of a health coach, and the sale of healthy foods, such as salads. Gamers’ preferred diet of energy drinks and sweets is discouraged there and these kinds of items are not offered.



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