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Your old arcade and game shop hangouts


Pob
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Not forgetting when I was in m'late teens, every chippy and pub had at least one arcade cab, and pubs usually had one or two cocktail cabs. I recall more than one evening spent underage drinking while playing two-player Galaxian to death.

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Broadsword Computers, in Rhyl. Only thing I really remember is trekking there pretty much weekly one summer, to ask if the new Dizzy game had come out yet. Finally it did! Then I learned that following a how-to guide really wrecks the fun of a game. Formative years...

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22 minutes ago, Pixelbark said:

Just off Talbot St, was this little mecca

 

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As a kid, this was the first place I played or even saw Alpha 2, which I would sit on or next to for hours (watching the better players play), while my older cousin would play a pool game where winning rounds would cause an anime girl to lose a piece of clothing. Great collection of pinball machines as well.

 

 

Yeah that's the place I was thinking of when I said near Cleary's (it's a bit further down than my memory had placed it).

We mainly used to go there to play pool when I was a teenager and I remember playing some neo geo cabinets there.

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54 minutes ago, Pob said:

'Las Vegas' was the name of a biggish arcade near Leicester Square. I think they were a bit funny about letting under-18s in though.

 

That was probably the one - I was over 18 by the time I used to hang out in That London, 'though.

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When I was allowed out of school at lunch times in 6th form - me and a few mates would run down the road to the local chippy, and almost next door was a small arcade with 10-15 cabinets in it.   I happily pissed my lunch money away on SlapFight, Arkanoid and other late 80's arcade classics for those two years...

 

A quick google maps search for Manor Road in Wallington, Surrey  (school was WHSB) shows the rough location is now a Vape shop and a Retro shop.  I guess it was 30 years ago :-)

 

arcade.jpg

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We used to go most weekends to Another World in Hanley (Stoke on Trent) to check out the latest import games - specifically Beatmania and Dreamcast stuff.  It was a fantastic shop.

 

Now seems to be part of the Forbidden Planet chain and I can't find any old pictures of it which is a shame.  Loved that place.

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Actually, thinking about it, as a small kid growing up in the 70s, there were no arcades in town to hang around in. At the seaside on day trips, yeah, but there weren't many videogames to play. Being in my teens in the 80s, mind, was awesome. Golden age of arcades - like, every other week you'd be playing some other classic minty-fresh, and then something would come along that simply blew you away.

 

[Edit: 'goring up in the 70s'? :blink:]

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image.thumb.png.88f2b6ff44b95b2dbc6863949b5dcddd.png

 

Folkestone Rotunda and the Dome. Moving down here from London aged 11, where I'd never seen any arcade machine outside of a chip shop. Suddenly there are the two monstrosities above, filled with all sorts of games, plus all the smaller arcade venues dotted around the bottom of the old high street. It was absolute heaven and a love affair was born :wub: 

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Another one springs to mind from when I was in my 20's, there was a place just outside Bristol called Dave and Busters which was like this huge American style restaraunt, bar and arcade and it felt like all my wishes came true when it first opened.

 

Tha arcade worked with these cards that you loaded money onto and swiped on each machine and the more you spent you levelled up and got discounts on the price per game.

It had some awesome games, 8 player Daytona, 3 screen F355 challenge all the popular lightgun games and the usual mix of ticket machines plus some kind of virtual gold setup, a VR thing and American pool tables. I had so many fun Saturdays down there.

 

Shut down years ago unfortunately but it was such a fun place for a while, beer food, games and pool hpw could that mix fail.

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Shekhana Computing in Wood Green for import gaming, I remember clearly giving them £110 for an imported US copy of street fighter for the SNES, which I had to play with one of those 2 cart adaptor things on my UK machine.

 

Then I used to work in the West End and a wander up Tottenham Court Road at lunchtime would see me tempted by rare exotic Neo Geo cartridges, and I vivdily recall dropping £500 on an import japanse PSP. The original CEX up there too was a place of wonder and surly rude staff, who regarded serving you as beneath them.

 

Those days of wonder where you could find rare exotic games you'd barely heard about just don't exist now, but with the wonders of download store pricing I'm almost back to paying £100 for games again.

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Just now, Gotters said:

Then I used to work in the West End and a wander up Tottenham Court Road at lunchtime would see me tempted by rare exotic Neo Geo cartridges, and I vivdily recall dropping £500 on an import japanse PSP. The original CEX up there too was a place of wonder and surly rude staff, who regarded serving you as beneath them.

 

I used to work around the corner from the CEX; think I went in once.

 

Otherwise, spent a bundle in Micro Anvika on various 16-bit and PC hardware/games.

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Any Irish members remember the amusement arcades in Bray? There were 3: Dawson’s, Star Leisure, and the Bowling alley arcade. Between the 3 there was a huge wealth of arcade classics. Dawson’s was the biggest and had some of the oldest games, it was demolished a few years ago and I always wondered what happened to the cabinets. 

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10 hours ago, BadgerFarmer said:

Other than that, it was a case of waiting for the local fair to come round once a year or getting a chance to tour the arcades while on holiday. We generally went to South Devon and would get a day in Paignton. 

 

I grew up in Paignton - moved away in the mid-80s when I was 13. The main arcade - Leisure 2000 - was an absolute belter around that time (I only realised many years later, how good it was tbh). I used to pretty much live in there. I've always said If I had the Holodeck from Star Trek I'd use it to recreate Leisure 2000, and probably never come out. It was in two halves - mostly fruit machines on one side and then a properly dark video game area on the other. The video game side was amazing - pretty much all the classics, and entire rows of the popular machines like Defender and Pac Land. A nice row of Pintables too. The noise was fantastic. It used to get all the new machines before anywhere else locally - Marble Madness, Gauntlet, Dragon's Lair - all those kind of things. But it also had less common stuff, like 10-Yard Fight and Mad Planets - games I love but rarely saw in other sea-side arcades. I only found out many years later how rare "I Robot" machines were... There were also a couple of other arcades in town too. The one over the road form L2000 wasn't a patch on it, but had a couple of games that L2000 didn't - Time Pilot (a fave of mine), and a Joust machine where if you flicked the 10p up as you inserted it gave you 2 credits for the price of one (I've no idea who found that out). There was also an arcade on the pier, which had a really bizarre Star Force cabinet where every thing you shot only scored 1 point (Game over - 57 points!).

 

I went back to Paignton maybe a dozen or so years ago. Leisure 2000 was mainly fruit machines and those coin-pusher things, and most of the video game side was a bingo area. You really should never go back...

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I can pretty much remember where I got all my early gaming systems, before Game took over and I eventually started buying online. 

 

I can clearly remember getting a Master System from Tandy - hard to believe this chain existed in the U.K. now but a quick google suggests there were as many as 4 in Glasgow! Got it with Mortal Kombat and remember being stunned. 

 

Future Zone on Sauchiehall Street was my first Mecca. I remember the logo has a sort of wireframe 3D head which was irresistibly cool to me. At one point they had pods set up with all the latest systems - a CD-I, Atari Jaguar and 3DO; I had a Megadrive at this point, so entering this shop was really like being in a future zone, such were the impressive power of those unobtainable supercomputers. 

 

This became an Electronics Boutique, which later became a Game, from where I years later attended the midnight launch of the Dreamcast with a group of friends - no idea how I convinced them to do that, in retrospect. 

 

I got a Saturn as a Christmas present, which was gotten from Currys, just a little down from Future Zone, also on Sauchiehall Street. I remember because one of the pads was so poorly made, the d-pad would always break and I’d have to take it back to have it replaced. In what must have been a first, I claimed on the extended warranty at least 3 times, meaning Currys must have actually made a loss on that one. 

 

Anyway, my next Mecca was G-Force on Union Street. An Independent shop, their main thing was having stacks of pre-owned games you could trade for a fiver and one of your own. Great games and crap games were banded differently, so you couldn’t trade Crash Team Racing for Final Fantasy VII. I got a PlayStation from here as well as any other number of things. 

 

There’s one other place but I can’t quite remember the name. A shop in the west end which did a lot of imports and was where I got my Saturn chipped. I think it was in a retail unit called Delancey’s Arcade or something? Perhaps other posters have a better memory than me. What I do remember was that the guy who ran the shop had an import copy of Metal Gear Solid running and, since I had to wait for him to chip the Saturn, he let me play on it. Top bloke!

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9 hours ago, Popo said:

Future Zone on Sauchiehall Street was my first Mecca. I remember the logo has a sort of wireframe 3D head which was irresistibly cool to me. At one point they had pods set up with all the latest systems - a CD-I, Atari Jaguar and 3DO; I had a Megadrive at this point, so entering this shop was really like being in a future zone, such were the impressive power of those unobtainable supercomputers. 

 

Oh yeah, Future Zone in Watford's brand-new Harlequin shopping centre was amazing. Bigger than any games shop I'd ever been in, and had loads of memorabilia and stuff. I'd not seen anything like it before.

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26 minutes ago, Pob said:

 

Oh yeah, Future Zone in Watford's brand-new Harlequin shopping centre was amazing. Bigger than any games shop I'd ever been in, and had loads of memorabilia and stuff. I'd not seen anything like it before.

Ha, we certainly went to some of the same haunts.

 

@Pandy is a NW london boy too.

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15 minutes ago, PeteBrant said:

Ha, we certainly went to some of the same haunts.

 

@Pandy is a NW london boy too.

You mentioned Eastcote and Pinner before, but to me those places, and Rayners Lane, were an arcade-free wasteland between the takeaways and newsagents of Ruislip Manor (Ruislip itself didn't have much other than a short lived 'Virtuality' arcade in about 1993) and the sprawling metropolis of Harrow-on-the-Hill, where I went to school and which had various game hangouts over the years. I just remembered there was yet another short-lived arcade around 1995 up the top end of Harrow, towards the Hill, where the Wetherspoon and Jammin' With Edward was. All these places were probably only open for a year or two before folding.

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So basically I was spoilt rotten by the sheer number of arcades and cabs around when I were a kid. 

 

Pontypridd had 

 

Slots of fun - just games and underage smoking 

 

Rainbow records had cabs from the mid 80's till it closed

 

Sevinis cafe had lots of different and changing cabs. Including Dragons Lair and Super Don Quixote at one point. 

 

Ponty market had an arcade area. Where I learnt to 1 credit R-type and get close to the same on Bubble Bobble. 

 

My own village had cafes, pubs and the service station and workman's Hall all with regularly changing cabinets in them.  Basically it was bliss to be alive then. 

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Having grandparents by the seaside in the 80’s meant my entire childhood was spent in arcades.

 

I probably spent most of the time at the arcade in Littlehampton, which had the full roster of classics. My Dad would just give me a tenner in 10ps and go off for ages. Occasionally I’d go to Brighton or Worthing which had the more expensive hydraulic stuff like Space Harrier, and the laserdisc games. Also spent loads of time down at the arcades in Westward Ho.

 

in terms of local places I was limited to the local chip shop, which had Donkey Kong Jr and Amidar. Spent hours in there every week on the way home from Cubs.

 

The main computer shop I went to was one opposite Epsom station. I remember they had a ton of Spectrum stuff you could play. Years later they moved to the now defunct market there, and finally to another shop round the corner. It was like a prototype CEX. Shame they didn’t franchise it out and expand.

 

Think it was run by a husband and wife team, and she was from up north?

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If I had more time I'd do the photos

 

First computer shop was 'Komputer Kabin' at The Parade, Silverdale nr Newcastle-under-Lyme. Ran by the son of one of my teacher at Infant School. Very good place for VIC-20 owners and Beeb owners. I wrote about it for the bit I wrote about VIC 'Road Rage' on the Three Fields blog...

 

For the C64 years it was Hanley's "Computerama" in the arcade next to "Fantasy World" and then later on, "Town Computer Store" further up the High Street, past WH Smith's. In there for games on disk, loading games before you bought, and the first place I ever saw Compunet demo's being loaded up. Pretty astounding place.

 

Later on there was a smaller shop in the space where the Joke Shop used to be on Hope Street. At the end of my C64 days I got "Buggy Boy" and "Bionic Commando" in there.

 

I then moved to specialist importers for my 'lost weekend' years of NES, PC Engine and GameBoy..

 

Arcades were - everything and anything in Rhyl and Blackpool - esp "Mr. B's" and both Shipleys on Cheapside, and the one opposite Webberley's Book Shop in Hanley. Plus the small one opposite the "Koh-I-Noor" indian restaurant in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

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On 10/12/2018 at 03:09, partious said:

 

I'm from Dublin too, but if you were working in London in 95 you must be at least 10 years older than me. I'd love to hear more about what Dublin arcades were like in the early 90s etc.

 

 

I'm 44. The odd thing about the arcades I mention, a lot of them didn't have names, just "amusements". Three in particular stand out. The one on the south quays, just before O'Connell bridge, with a huge yellow "amusements" sign. That was where the Shinobi action was. I remember a giant row of 20p pieces lined up as there was a fair few players that could spend a good bit of time on 1 credit. I got pretty good at it, could finish it with a lot of hand to hand level bonuses. I tried playing a couple of years ago and my skills have completely atrophied. That was also the home of Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja, punch out and a Street Fighter 1 cab which had the punch pads instead of buttons.

 

Next one was called Funland, just where McDonald's is on the lower end of O'Connell st. That had some great games - Karate Champ (a fighting game which used two joysticks instead of buttons), Dragon's Lair, but the king of them all was 720 with the weird spinning joystick:

 

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A bit later, the arcade of choice was the Pierrot Club, again within a stone's throw of O'Connell bridge, on the north quays, to the west of the bridge. It's a tourist pub now. This place was a little bit classier in that it had carpets and a coffee shop down the back, and a bunch of pool tables. Many a day when I should have been in school, I spent in the Pierrot club. There was even girls there. Loads of sweet games too - R-Type, SFII, WWF, Golden Axe, the giant afterburner cab that moved, Stun Runner and a bunch of pinball machines including Earthshaker. Man, when that thing did the earthshaker bit with the noise and the rumble... My favourite game was Robocop though, which I was able to 1 credit. It's just a memory test really, a bit like Shinobi. Play enough games and you get there in the end. I spent pretty much all my money in arcades and record shops. 

 

As far as games shops go, I didn't have a console growing up so I don't remember any of them. I only started buying console games when I got a GBA. We had a PC at home since windows 3.1, and I played a lot on friends' C64s. We did borrow a C64 for about 6 months once, it was the greatest 6 months of my life. Also, I grew up in Howth, the other end of the line from Bray so I never really made it out there until the arcades were gone.

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22 hours ago, Gotters said:

Shekhana Computing in Wood Green for import gaming, I remember clearly giving them £110 for an imported US copy of street fighter for the SNES, which I had to play with one of those 2 cart adaptor things on my UK machine.

 

 

I would go here quite a bit, got my Japanese N64 from them, cost a fortune, not the cheapest of import shops.

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I'll never the forget the arcade that opened in my little home town of Larkhall in the early 80s.

Bizarrely, it was called the "Sydney Devine Leisure Centre".

Presumably it was created with an investment from Lanarkshire's most famous country & western music entertainer, and getting his name in lights was part of the deal.

Anyway, every Friday I would dutifully follow my mum around the Co-op as she picked up the weeks shopping, knowing that before we got the bus home, I would get five or six games in "Sid's" ... Time Pilot, Super-Pac Man, Green Beret, PacLand, Ikari Warriors, I-Robot, Defender ... happy times.

It's still there, though the name changed long ago ... it's just a fruit-machine den now.

In later years, you would find me in "Electronic Experience" in Hamilton ... which is also still there, though presumably crap.

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21 minutes ago, Don Rosco said:

My favourite game was Robocop though, which I was able to 1 credit. It's just a memory test really, a bit like Shinobi. 

Oh wow, I played Robocop a tonne and got really good at doing the first 3 stages without losing any health and getting the +100% health on the bonus stages. It all went to shit once I got to OCP and the second made-up enforcement droid (the green one). I once saw a guy get to the next boss, which was two ED-209s pincering you, and I wondered how the fuck it was possible.

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Growing up as a kid in the late 80's / early 90's  in northern Ireland  - there was really only one place that you went to for your gaming needs - Leisure World in Belfast.  Its was a three storey toy shop with the top floor holding there video games section - along with remote control cars and train sets. (its where I got my  zx spectrum Living Daylights  edition from - as well as my snes)   Also 2 doors along from it there was a shop that specialised in models and remote control cars and planes they also randomly sold Mega drive games (and did all the  jap imports etc..)

 

The town I grew up in (Carrickfergus in NI) had a games rental shop that only rented out video games.  On one wall it was every mega drive /  master system game  you could imagine (including some jap imports) and on the other wall all Nintendo goodness.  They also rented out consoles, which my mate did on the first weekend the ps one was released. To say I spent a small fortune in that place would be an understatement.

 

at uni  over in Stafford there was a local games ship Disc and Disks - a great wee independent who once you got to know the guy who owned it, would let you have games a few days before release, including new console releases (I rember him making my mate  swear not to put the dream cast online until after the official release date)

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52 minutes ago, Pob said:

Oh wow, I played Robocop a tonne and got really good at doing the first 3 stages without losing any health and getting the +100% health on the bonus stages. It all went to shit once I got to OCP and the second made-up enforcement droid (the green one). I once saw a guy get to the next boss, which was two ED-209s pincering you, and I wondered how the fuck it was possible.

 

Slowly, I think. It wasn't really a twitch type of game, but more about angles and timing when to move and fire, especially in OCP where it all went vertical. I know one thing for sure, I wouldn't have the skills or patience now.

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