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Park Rapids couple wins gaming room makeover from web series

Alex and Cassie Holmen won an ultimate gaming room from an online gaming blog, as seen Monday, May 13, in their Park Rapids, home. The setup features twin gaming stations with 3-D monitors along with Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Their segment of the web series will be available for viewing at at 8 p.m. on May 29. MICHAEL VOSBURG/FORUM NEWS SERVICE

PARK RAPIDS — For Alex and Cassie Holmen, playing video games used to be a headache.


The couple, who recently won a makeover of their gaming room from a website called Major League Gaming, used to play video games together in the living room of their Park Rapids home.

Their setup was basic and got the job done, but the television they used was far from ideal. It was old and bulky occasionally put out a high-pitched tone.

“It’d give you a headache,” Alex Holmen recalls.

Now, thanks to Major League Gaming, the couple’s video-gaming arrangement is much improved.

The contest

Major League Gaming, in addition to being the online home for all-things video games, also runs a home-makeover Web series called “Ultimate Gaming House.”

The show, now in its fifth season, profiles the makeover of a home gaming room.

In the past, the makeover team has redone spaces ranging from fraternity houses to bedrooms, according to the show’s host, Rich “Shibby” Webb.

When Major League Gaming opened up applications for the upcoming season several months ago, the Holmens, who spend “a few hours” per day playing video games together, according to Alex Holmen, figured it’d be worth a shot.

“We wanted to be able to have some more fun and be able to game together more,” Holmen says.

To apply, the couple sent a five-minute video detailing their gaming-room situation and explaining why they needed a makeover.

While their previous setup showed they were deserving, it was their story that actually caught Major League Gaming’s attention.

When Alex and Cassie met, neither had any idea that the other liked to play video games, Alex Holmen says.

“It just came out one day we were hanging out,” he says. “We just took it from there, and it became a regular thing that we do together.”

Because of the uniqueness of a husband-wife duo bonding over video games, the couple will be featured in the premiere of the new “Ultimate Gaming House” season, Shibby says.

“Gaming is such a social activity,” Shibby said in an email. “We felt that Alex and Cassie were a great example of the growing number of couples who choose to spend their leisure time together and share a passion for games.”

The makeover

When the “Ultimate Gaming House” team arrived at the Holmens’ house in Park Rapids on April 12, Shibby says the first thing they did was examine the space they had to work with.

“The best rooms to makeover are those that have a decent amount of space that is currently being used inefficiently or not to its full potential,” he says.

To that end, the team decided the living room wasn’t the best option for the Holmens to use for gaming. Instead, they moved everything upstairs to a spare bedroom.

“Based on the equipment and furniture we had for their makeover, we felt the bedroom was a better fit for the ultimate transformation,” Shibby said.

After two days of work, the makeover team revealed the Holmens’ new room, including new, comfortable furniture, a big screen LED Smart TV, an Xbox 360, a PlayStation 3, two computers, copies of “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” “StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm” and more.

And since “Ultimate Gaming House” is sponsored by Dr. Pepper, the Holmens also received a mini-fridge stocked full with cans of the soda.

Major League Gaming doesn’t release the exact dollar amount of the “Ultimate Gaming House” makeover cost.

Holmen says he was impressed by how efficiently the makeover team was able to arrange everything in the new gaming room, which didn’t have that much space to work with in the first place.

“The biggest surprise was just how they fit all this stuff in such a small room,” he says. “How they got it set up, it’s amazing.”

Though the couple has significantly upgraded from the old box TV that used to give them headaches, the new TV is not without its problems, Holmen says, though they’re problems of a different sort. 

“Smaller TVs are better for games, compared to big TVs, so you don’t have to look around quite as far,” he says. “A smaller TV just helps with not having to move your head as much.”

But that’s a very minor quibble, Holmen admits, especially because the made-over room as a whole is better than what he expected.

“It definitely exceeded my expectations,” he says. “It’s way better than I thought.”

It comes as no surprise, then, that the room has been popular with friends and family who want to come over and use it.

“There are tons of people who want to come over and see it,” Holmen says, laughing.

Article written by Sam Benshoof of the Forum News Service

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