IT'S interesting how most Internet cafés all over town (especially a good number of those just around the block) don’t exactly serve coffee. Not even 3-in-1 sachets.

In fact, these places wouldn’t want any liquid substance on top of your desktop at all. A little overexcitement paired with a hint of carelessness during a game, and the hand that hits the cup could totally jeopardize that piece of technology you are using.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

But besides the obvious lack, the positive points make up for it.

After considering the “arcade” of the 90s, the Internet café could count as one of the hippest hangout places mankind has invented along the same level. But this time, instead of foosball tables and pinball machines, you have rows and rows of personal computers, Internet-ready and available for use.

Here’s a little history lesson on how all this started.

According to Wikipedia.org, “The online cafe phenomenon was started in July 1991 by Wayne Gregori in San Francisco when he began SFnet Coffeehouse Network. Gregori designed, built and installed 25 coin operated computer terminals in coffeehouses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Who would’ve thought that what was conceived then as a local thing, would give birth to hundreds of thousands of “computer cafes” all over the world. From Los Angeles to Johannesburg, a place so small just like your typical Internet café now provides a venue for the common man to access the world’s infinite information resource, for the minimum price.

But at present, the concept of the Internet café has also changed overtime. With wifi becoming almost the norm in today’s conventional set-up and prices of computers, laptops, or notebooks dropping, a fraction of “faithful café patrons” are now accessing the web, from some place else.

Does this lead to a conclusion on the decrease of the number of users flocking to cafés? Not quite.

In fact, with spots like these usually setting their marketing sights at the youth sector, one has to think that the steady influx of customers may not even be considered a problem for the business owners. Because, of course, even granted with today’s unmatched technology, these places still serve their purpose. Especially for students or yuppies on the go—when they need to have something printed for an assignment given to them, or check or send a quick e-mail.

But then there are issues of the dangers of pornography and the like. But thankfully café owners today generally encourage their places to be “child-friendly” sites.

It would be safe to assume that what these cafés specialize at offering now would be the venue for multiplayer online gaming.

To talk about what these games are and how they are played, would consist of another entirely different story. But to state the reason behind this new direction, it’s basically much more fun playing a computer game with a whole group of friends.

Pitted against the idea of enjoying a game alone from home, the advantages of playing in a more lively and upbeat environment knocks out the former choice.

After everything has been said, one fact still to consider is that even though accessibility to personal desktop computers or mobile phones with Internet connectivity is fast becoming the trend, not everyone is capable of availing of such gadgets or services. Still, the café is here to stay, at least for a while.

How time flies. This whole comparison of then and now is another proof of technology’s exponential rise. Come to think of it now, this kind of talk would be perfect in a café setting—and in one that serves coffee this time, please.