It's Saturday night at the Gladstone Hotel and everything looks normal - it's packed to capacity with a drunk and lusty crowd watching an Idol wannabe belt out Bon Jovi on the karaoke stage.
But on the other side of the wall at the Melody Bar, the hotel's frequent home for poetry readings and other art events, a different kind of creative freestyling is underway.
A lone rocker dude stands in front of a TV using what looks like a toy guitar, burning up the licks to Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out. Behind him, a dreadlocked babe shows off her fancy footwork on a large foam pad, keeping in time with beats that flash onscreen, accompanied by the B-52's. Their clash of sounds barely registers with me - I'm too busy getting fragged to hell in a fierce round of Halo 2.
Welcome to Drunken Dance Dance Revolution, the evening portion of D-Day, a new monthly video-gaming throwdown being held the second Saturday of each month at the Gladstone.
We've already missed the afternoon all-ages Halo tournament and early-evening multimedia screenings. But we've made it to the part that combines the essentials of gaming and beer.
From pool to pinball, having games in a bar is nothing new. Something like Drunken DDR just brings it up to date with rocking, dancing, visually stimulating play that really makes you move. And these are exactly the sorts of games that players may need a little bit of a buzz to really get into. It's not so different really from the karaoke going on next door. The only question is, how long until games aren't shuffled to the side room but instead take centre stage?
Founding generals Jay and Steve of dorkARMY concocted D-Day as a more mainstream complement to their regular series of LAN parties and tournaments.
They're easy to spot in the bar - which is ironic since they're wearing camouflage.
"We're like the punk rock of video-game console parties, and that's the way it is," Jay explains. "You know we've got the best that we can get, and we'll just run it as crazy and hectic as we can do it."
The dork in their name stands for Digital Organization for Recreational Killing, a title that almost stopped the group from getting off the ground as a student gaming club at Centennial College in 1999.
Three years later, after a moment of inspiration at a local gentleman's club, they decided to reprise dork as a business. After investing in a number of Xbox consoles, the Army ran a few successful Halo tournaments out of empty apartments. However, when they tried to expand by moving to a local bar, something went awry.
"We actually saw our numbers drop after taking it up a notch," says Steve. "We couldn't understand why we could get people to pay five bucks, bring their own TV and Xbox and sit on the floor in an empty apartment, but we couldn't get them to pay five bucks and sit in a chair when we brought everything out for them!"
Eventually, word got out. Players, mostly teenagers who were serious about competing, started to turn up and stick around. The dork gained a rep for running events where they actually listened to their gamers, unlike their slicker competition.
"When the bigger guys do it, when Microsoft throws an event, they hire marketing guys to run it. And, sure, some of them may play games occasionally," says Steve. "They have the money to have a nice-looking event, whereas we have no money and have nice atmosphere at our event."
I get the impression that the guys at dorkARMY think of themselves as the owners of a sort of underdog boxing gym, taking the kids off the street and training them into the cyber-athletes of the future.
"We're actually developing gamers. It's happening." Jay explains. "Canada is actually becoming a dominant gamer community. We're very close to beating the United States. And you know, we need these kind of weird areas, these arenas, for people to practise. Otherwise, there's nowhere to do it."
Their stable of young cyber-soldiers has already produced some champions. The top two Halo players in Canada at last year's World Cyber Games championships were dork members, one of whom went on to become the second-highest-ranked player in the world at the finals in Hong Kong.
Despite their dreams of conquest, the dorks also have a more modest ambition - a good time.
"We originally envisioned this as our event: guys in our age bracket sitting back drinking beers, playing games like they always do every weekend - but not at home on the couch," says Steve, pointing to the packed Melody Bar. "We know it's happening everywhere, cuz everyone we know is doing it. They just weren't coming out to be social about it."