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Your old arcade and game shop hangouts


Pob
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3 hours ago, CrashedAlex said:

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.

I moved to Stoke when I was 10. In my teens I used to hang out at The Tollgate Squash and snooker club, and they always had a couple of arcade games. I definitely remember 1942 and Guerrilla and most of all Double Dragon.

 I also remember going to the under 16 discos at The Place and that had a section of really cool arcade games like the Star Wars one in the deluxe cabinet and that weird submarine game with the periscope.

 When I went to Sixth Form in Fenton we used to walk into Stoke town for dinner and go in the Silver Coin. I think it’s still there now? It had a load of “fruities”  at the front  but down some stairs at the back there was a a treasure trove of arcade classics:- Turtles, Gauntlet, Golden Axe and loads more.

 I also remember an arcade up near the old bus station. I think it was a Shipley’s and highlights were Chase HQ and Ivan Stewart’s off road racing

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@Junker I used to play pool (very badly) at Tollgate. I had a credit on "Double Dragon" in there.

 

"The Silver Coin" was, I think, the only highlight of Stoke Town Centre. Used to play "Bad Dudes V Dragon Ninja" and "New Zealand Story" in there as well as "Chase HQ."

 

At the tender and delicate age of 14 I went to that glamourous and aspirational local leisure venue known as Longton to a *new* nightclub called "The Highlight" - which was above the PMT Bus Station and was known as "Jollee's" in the 1970's. Always good for counterfeit stand up cabinets in there - I think the only original machine in there was "SEGA Turbo." It was going there I was able to play pretty much every Imagine conversion advertised on the back cover of Zzap! - so that was "Mikie" (very hard to understand in Japanese), "Comic Bakery", "Combat School", played "Pengo" in there as well. The kebab shop opposite the front door used to draw a crowd as it had "Commando" in there (so we knew how poor the Elite version really was!) but there was also a fine fine parlour of amusements nearby (whose name I forget) and they had stuff like "Indiana Jones" inside. In fact one night I went to said nightclub with friends, wasted all my money in the arcade beforehand, couldn't afford to pay to go into the club, had to wait around for three hours outside in the rain for my friends to come out so get a lift home...

 

Longton seemed like some sort of coin-op mecca to me in the mid 1980's. First time I had a proper session on "Pac-Man" was at the ice rink that opened there. Well, it wasn't really ice, more like funny fibreglass or something. Took me years before I realised I'd played a counterfeit machine as well as I only knew the pirate names for all of the ghosts...

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I used to work at the Games Room in Epsom when it was on South Street after many years of hanging out like a ne'er-do-well in their mini-arcade/shop in the indoor market. They had some great games in there and then the café a few stalls over got Street Fighter II in and the place was crawling with kids. Then the Karate stall got Bad Dudes Vs Dragon Ninja and WWF Superstars. And then some other amazing wrestling game which I cannot remember the name of.

 

Good times.

 

I also remember being mugged of my last 50p by some older kids in a small arcade in Sutton when I was 9 or 10. They used it to play Final Fight. Fuck you, Sutton.

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On 10/12/2018 at 08:52, Gringo said:

Spent a good bit of time there but the one downside was the smell.  It's never gonna be pleasent when you have a large, open, plastic bin full of maggots indoors.

CEX have you covered if you miss it.

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Gaming shop hangouts are many!

 

First was Software Box in Poole. Not much of a hangout because it was actually a box but it's where I started getting into 16bit consoles. Made friends with the staff there and ended up working there. 

 

Old Town Market also in Poole also had a gaming bit which I had a lot of fun with. Got on well with the staff and spent many a laugh there. 

 

Video Game Centre as mentioned by @Olly88 was legendary. The holy place in the south for imports. Owner is a legend who I used to play football with and he'd always look after us. Let me buy my JP PS2 and pay monthly for a few months!

 

Game City was a very local one to me run by a guy not remotely into games but really sound. Ended up working for him when he wanted a holiday from time to time. 

 

Lastly and not least was Joypad. Run by two of my closest friends and the most obviously closeted gay couple ever! They looked after me during my sickness year of 99 I used to spend every boxing day gaming and eating at theirs. Sadly one is no longer with us and is missed greatly. 

 

Lots of amazing memories and I haven't even touched the arcade!

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On 10/12/2018 at 11:02, smac said:

Not forgetting when I was in m'late teens, every chippy and pub had at least one arcade cab

 

This, very much so. In Stourbridge there were two - Carol's Fish Bar which had such gems as 1943, Prehistoric Isle and Silkworm, and then at the other end of town there was one who's name escaped me that had Robocop, Time Soldiers and Double Dragon 2. Superb social spots to hang out with friends and pass the time.

The other big one was in Birmingham city centre. There was an ice cream parlour called Dayvilles that had a good size arcade with thirty or forty cabs in there at a time but it wasn't the safest place to hang out. 

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7 hours ago, Don Rosco said:

On the above mention of Punch Out, it wasn't that, it was Heavyweight Champ by Sega:

 

HPIM0017.jpg

I remember reading about heavyweight champ in arcade action in CVG . And then a few weeks later playing in it the arcades in clacton .

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17 hours ago, nakamura said:

Game City was a very local one to me run by a guy not remotely into games but really sound. Ended up working for him when he wanted a holiday from time to time.

Was this in Poole? There was also a Game City in Stockport until a few years back.

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I remember when I was younger and living in England, whenever we came up to Scotland to visit family my older cousin would talk about the arcade he'd go to. Never got to visit myself. By the time I had moved back to Scotland it had been renamed and redeveloped into a Bowling alley, wimpy and amusements. There were still a few gaming machines there - Time Crisis, couple of racing ones and DDR machines but was mainly just 2p machines and puggys. Was alright but not what I had hoped for after hearing about what it used to be like. 

 

Now I think it's been redeveloped again and is a Co-op with an even smaller amusements section with no games. 

 

 

Even though I never experienced proper old arcades I get oddly nostalgic about them. Weird. 

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When I was in Auckland NZ in 2003 there were proper amazing arcades with aisles of retro games from the 90s in nice, clean modern cabs. I guess that was a golden period when you could create an inclusive experience that had retro and current stuff all using original PCBs. I expect working PCBs for 80s and 90s games are hard to come by and the preserve of enthusiasts these days.

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3 hours ago, parrapatheslapper said:

Was this in Poole? There was also a Game City in Stockport until a few years back.

 

The Stockport one, was that this place? image.thumb.png.bbcb00c2200c4f0f69c31029f4c1bcf6.png

 

Old guy, bottle bottom glasses, bit of a funny smelling shop, looked like an extra from Brass Eye?

 

I have a lot of time for that shop, he ordered in an import copy of Pokemon Silver for me.

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56 minutes ago, Pixelbark said:

 

The Stockport one, was that this place? image.thumb.png.bbcb00c2200c4f0f69c31029f4c1bcf6.png

 

Old guy, bottle bottom glasses, bit of a funny smelling shop, looked like an extra from Brass Eye?

 

I have a lot of time for that shop, he ordered in an import copy of Pokemon Silver for me.

Very close! - that was a game shop as well  but I cannot remember what it was called (edit - Game Express!) -  Game City was just a little further down on the left of that picture (next door to Stage Door).  Took years before they actually had a shop sign but always had posters etc in the window - ran by a bloke called Ray if I remember rightly. Nice guy and the lads who worked for him were always pretty good.

 

Also smelled funny and I remember been able to smoke in there whilst browsing the PS1, PS2, DC games etc.  I managed to pick GTA3 up from him a few days prior to release having heard it may turn out pretty good but no reviews were available.

 

Minds were blown when I got that home! 

 

image.png.0240718cc8ccc910043fa88fa733058d.png

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Living and working in and around Brighton means I never stood a chance of not making video games my main hobby.

 

West Street, the Arches and Palace Pier were always brimming with the latest 10p guzzling stand-up cabinets and 50p wonder cabinets. I spent many Sunday afternoons with my brother wasting my Dads money on his fortnightly visits playing through TMHT, Gauntlet and Smash TV.

 

As for game shops, there were several which I frequented. You had the major retailers, the best of which was Virgin Megastore on Western Road, friendly staff who knew me and my brother, and were always good for the latest PAL releases because they’d give us staff discounted prices.

 

The independent stores were good for imports. Consolevania on Trafalgar Street always had a good selection but it was pricey and small. However, TCM Games were my favourite. They originally started in a small unit in Jubilee Shopping Mall (what is now the Komedia on Gardner Street) before moving to a new shop up North Road next to the NCP. The couple who owned it were good people, and their kids were good lads who knew good games. Spent many happy hours (and £s) there.

 

They’ve all gone now (apart from the pier, but even that’s rubbish now) and I always get a bit misty eyed at the shite that replaced these places from my youth when I walk down those roads.

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On 10/12/2018 at 08:44, Melon_Bread said:

Hahah I recognise those Bournemouth shops, sad they are gone, seems they were long gone before I moved to Dorset.

 

Mine was Adams World in North Finchley use to hang out in there a lot and bought so many memorable games from there like Gunstar Heroes or Symphony of the Night. Tho the one I remember most was finding change down the back of the sofa and gathering enough to get the bus to Finchley and get Yie ar Kung Fu on the C64.

 

Arcade wise there was a newsagent also in Finchley that had Kind of Boxer that I used to play a lot with my cousin, and Barnet Fair used to have a good selection of Arcade games back in the day.

 

 

I used to get the bus every Saturday from Potters Bar to Finchley to go to Adam's World, to get a Speccy game. I believe we also got our Dragon 32 from there, though would have been driven there for that.

 

Most of my formative years were spent on a bus or waiting for a tape to load, ran out of time for anything else.

 

After that Tottenham Court Road was where it was at, usually chatting in Shekhana about the latest release, or Ace in Carnaby Street.

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That Game Express store in Stockport! I remember when he was further down the road, up the slight hill next door to Richer Sounds. I bought a fair few SNES imports from him as well as an Atari Jaguar. It went downhill somewhat when he moved near to Stage Door.

 

 From my earlier years, my favourite was Atari World in Manchester city centre on Fennel Street was it? Near the corn exchange.

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1 hour ago, Pavey said:

 

 

I used to get the bus every Saturday from Potters Bar to Finchley to go to Adam's World, to get a Speccy game. I believe we also got our Dragon 32 from there, though would have been driven there for that.

 

Most of my formative years were spent on a bus or waiting for a tape to load, ran out of time for anything else.

 

After that Tottenham Court Road was where it was at, usually chatting in Shekhana about the latest release, or Ace in Carnaby Street.

 

haha, so basically what you are saying is you are following me around ;)

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4 hours ago, Pavey said:

Ace in Carnaby Street.

 

Whut!? I never found out about that place. I'd have been all over that like a rash.


As well as Adam's World in North Finchley, there was a decent tabletop/board gaming shop in Finchley Central, too; can't remember what that was called.

 

Virgin Games centre was also a hangout when they took over the old Games Centre shop on Tottenham Court Road - before it got completely absorbed into the main store and just became another entrance.

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I'm old enough that I remember the original era of arcade games, when they were everywhere: the local newsagent had a Missile Command machine, the café had Battlezone. Other than that, my only real exposure to arcade games was when the fair would visit, once a year. That had the full size Star Wars machine, which I'd always make a beeline for, even years after it first came out.


Our local shop was RAM Electronics, who also made hardware for the Spectrum (joystick interfaces?) and we used to spend most Saturdays in there. They must have got sick of us, as we played more games than we bought. They had a Ghosts 'n Goblins machine in the corner, but I never got more than about 30s into that game.

 

Then, when I was older, we used to cycle to Aldershot, where there was a proper arcade, which had stuff like APB, Toobin' and various sit-in motion-base rides, like Buggy Boy.

 

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On 11/12/2018 at 14:10, womblingfree said:

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.

 

Billy Smart’s!

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On 11/12/2018 at 09:16, Pob said:

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.

 

Small world

 

Harrow Leisure Centre for me

It had Rygar, Nemisis, King of Boxer - started to get a bit shit in later times

Local newsagents had Mr Do

 

Also Debhamnams or Preedy's  in Harrow had a clellcovision where you could play Donkey Kong - looked amazing at the time

 

Computer shop in Harrow I think was Adam's World

 

Good times till.the nugget man used to turn up.trying to steal pound coins off kids

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On 10/12/2018 at 07:52, Ivanho said:

I used to love going in an Arcade, the smell of hot electronics, sticky carpet, loved it.

 

Maidstone (Kent) used to have two Arcades at one point.  The original one had fruities on one side and games on the other.  Robocop, Chase HQ, Tetris, Outrun, the moving Thunderblade, great stuff.  They also had a 16+ only policy cos of the fruities, but this was very dependent on the mood of the Doorman.  They closed it and it became a Sports Bar which reopened with different names a few times before closing for good a few years ago

 

The other one was only around a few years.  No carpet or other niceties, just cabs all round the room.  That closed down and was empty for years before becoming a Chinese restaurant.

 

Leisure Investments!

 

My first real programming job was in an office just opposite. Company was awful, I'd spend my lunch time at the arcade playing Assault. They ran a competition to win a tiny portable black/white TV for the highest score that month. Ker-Ching!

 

Fond memories of finishing SideArms on a single credit with a crowd of onlookers, and the huge Street Fighter machine with punch pads.

 

Can't recall the name of the second arcade, but yeah - loads of machine but felt a bit itchy/tasty in there.

 

My dad got me a Texas Intsruments TI-99/4A from Galaxy Video on the high street (where a tanning salon is now). Also used to rent Atari VCS carts from there for 2 pound a night. In 1982(!)

 

Shout out to the Computer shop up Union Street too. Spent a long summer in the early 90s going in every day and asking if F29-Retaliator was out yet. Damn that Amiga Format hyped pre-release review. Also shout out to a video rental shop up the  Tonbridge Road that had Robotron,  Mr Do and Moon Patrol in the back room :-)

 

 

 

 

 

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The ones I used to go to as a kid in the late 80’s and early 90’s were in Cleavelies not too far from Blackpool. My gran and grandad were the ones who’d take me and I’d go specifically with my grandad while my gran would head off to their B&M bargains to do shopping for several hours.

 

cant remember the names of the places but one was located on a corner next to one of those spiral slides with the straw mats and had a bingo section filling a huge majority of the main room with those black tiles you flip to reveal numbers. There’d be some guy announcing the numbers I think with prizes all around. Also distinctly remember the horse bet machine which had that “place you bet now please” in a robot voice I think. 

 

There were loads of arcades around though which were my main focus. There was also another one further up on the same side of the same road which was the place where I saw virtua fighter for the first time looking amazing for the time. 

 

As for shops, the main one I used to visit a lot and hire things from was called Button Bashersin Bolton run by a guy called Graham and his wife. They had a cabinet in there with a sit down seat in front and samurai showdown playing. This was the sort of shop that had lots of oddities like pc Engine stuff and a scorpion machine which was a knock off mega drive. I used to hire SNES games, Saturn Games, occasionally MD games (although never owned one ) and PS 1 stuff. A friend of mine got a pc and would get some stuff for that in which he had a wall covered in big box things. He also had a spinning stand with vhs tapes containing manga style animation. Fire Tripper and one with a dragon or a dragon tattoo vaguely come to mind. 

 

There was one in Cambridge on a street near the grafton centre but outside when I was at uni but this was much later around 2001 which I always thought was cool because of the fact it sold the ps1 imports (US) I’d always dreamed of having but couldn’t get hold of at the time. They were far too expensive though but did get some as copies anyway. Legend of Mana and Lunar come to mind. 

 

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12 hours ago, oinkster said:

Leisure Investments!

 

My first real programming job was in an office just opposite. Company was awful, I'd spend my lunch time at the arcade playing Assault. They ran a competition to win a tiny portable black/white TV for the highest score that month. Ker-Ching!

 

Fond memories of finishing SideArms on a single credit with a crowd of onlookers, and the huge Street Fighter machine with punch pads.

 

Can't recall the name of the second arcade, but yeah - loads of machine but felt a bit itchy/tasty in there.

 

My dad got me a Texas Intsruments TI-99/4A from Galaxy Video on the high street (where a tanning salon is now). Also used to rent Atari VCS carts from there for 2 pound a night. In 1982(!)

 

Shout out to the Computer shop up Union Street too. Spent a long summer in the early 90s going in every day and asking if F29-Retaliator was out yet. Damn that Amiga Format hyped pre-release review. Also shout out to a video rental shop up the  Tonbridge Road that had Robotron,  Mr Do and Moon Patrol in the back room :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thats the one, Leisure Investments, with a pale green & gold paint job.  I also remember the shop in Tonbridge Road, it was one of the few that did Betamax rentals (never knew they had cabs in a back room though) there was also one near the Barming crossroads and Terrys video rental shop in Mid Kent Shopping Centre, Allington.  That was the first place I saw a PC Engine.  All gone now :(:blah:

Edited by Ivanho
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Strongest arcade memory was visiting the one opposite the side entrance to Lime Street station in Liverpool. Would have been around ‘87. Me and my mates put a sickening amount of money into Space Harrier and especially multiplayer Gauntlet.

 

jonamok needs cash badly.

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On 10/12/2018 at 09:19, Fletch said:

 

Apart from that it was the rare daytrip to Weston Super Mare until I was old enough to head into Bristol with my mates and head to Mad Harrys.

 

There was for the briefest of times a small arcade in the next town over but it was short lived and full of bigger boys :lol:

 

I loved Mad Harry's. Back in the late eighties my friends'  Mum gave him birthday money to take him, myself and another friend to the cinema in town. We ended up spending the afternoon on Double Dragon in Mad Harry's instead.

 

Years later I picked up an Out Run arcade cab from students living on the outskirts of Bristol. I got it home and started cleaning it up to discover a Mad Harry's sticker on the back of it. It's very likely I played on that machine when it was installed there back in the day.

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