— You think gamers are a bunch of wimpy kids you can push around and steal lunch money from? Well you better think again, buddy.
A group of gamers enjoying an evening playing the new "StarCraft II" game at an internet café in Hawaii went all "Street Fighter" on some robbers who tried to take their money and, more importantly, tried to take a player's Nintendo DS.
Devin Wolery, the 26-year-old co-owner of PC Gamerz Hawaii, was working at the gaming café that he and his father own in Kaneohe, Oahu, at about midnight last Wednesday when two men wearing t-shirts over their faces walked in and started harassing him.
"I thought they were messing with me at first because they started yelling at me saying something like I had a problem with them or they had a problem with me," he said. "But then they started getting loud with me like they were on something."
Wolery said he hit the store's panic button to alert police, but wasn't sure it was working. When he tried to hit it again, one of the two masked men jumped across the counter and punched him in the face.
"I didn't even see it coming," he said. "My glasses flew off."
And that's when the two men started yelling and demanding money from the rest of the gamers. Wolery said the men gestured like they had guns or some kind of hidden weapon, so the players started handing over the cash they had.
"They're gamers, so they don't have tons of money in their pockets," Wolery said. "They were just trying to get them out of there."
But when one of the robbers ordered 18-year-old Dylan Hayes to hand over his Nintendo DS, Hayes had had enough.
"Dylan wasn't having that. He was like 'No!' And he just came out and started swinging on him, pushing him and just bull rushing him out the door," Wolery said.
The robbers started punching Hayes as he struggled to get them out of the cafe. Wolery jumped into the fray and eventually blacked out from the blows he took. But Wolery said, after reviewing the security footage, he was stunned to discover that, blackout or not, he apparently kept on fighting.
In the end, Hayes pulled the mask off one of the attackers and the two men fled the store with two other men who were waiting outside. Their take for the heist? Wolery's cell phone and $27.
The getaway didn't last long. The police caught three of the four perps (two 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old) about a block away from the café. Meanwhile, Wolery quickly discovered that the would-be robbers had recently visited PC Gamerz — most likely to case the joint — and had actually signed up to play using their real names and addresses.
Ultimately, no one was seriously hurt.
"Dylan (Hayes) got hit 15 or 20 times plus," Wolery said. "He had a headache afterward and that's pretty much it."
The store's security cameras caught the whole thing on video and it soon made the evening news on TV station KHON2. Meanwhile, gamers everywhere cheered on their own as the story turned up on the gaming blog Kotaku.com.
"I mean, we're gamers. We've been immersed in that culture where we all want to be Superman," Hayes told KHON2. "We’re missing something partial in our brain that says, 'Yeah, this might be dangerous.'"
Wolery says the gaming café brings together a pretty tight-knit community of gamers. He said many of the players consider it their second home and that's why they were willing to stand up to the intruders.
And Wolery thinks he knows why the would-be robbers picked PC Gamerz as their target.
"They think of us as the nerdy kids in high school and they think, 'Oh I can push them over for their lunch money and they're not going to do anything,'" Wolery said. "But we already went through that in high school and we aren't afraid. If you're going to invade our space, we're not going to have that. We're tired of it. You can't push us around."