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Your old arcade and game shop hangouts


Pob
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  • 11 months later...
On 09/12/2018 at 22:02, Pob said:

For me, the first game shop I frequented was JKL Computers, Windsor Street, in Uxbridge. It's where I bought my Speccy games and stood entranced by the 16 bit graphics on show in the ST and Amiga they had set up.

I bought Armalyte there after reading the review in Zzap 64. I remember the guy there was saving the last copy for himself but took pity on me and sold it. I had the Commodore fixed in that shop too.

 

We also used to go to Lightning Records in Ruislip High Street, which was a bit nearer for us.

 

Ruislip Manor was good a few years later because there were two newsagents (near the Baptist church?)  that had arcade games in them.

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On 15/12/2018 at 08:10, Fletch said:

I work right by where Mad Harry's was and it makes me sad every time I walk past. It's such a shame that kids won't know the buzz of going to the arcade and seeing what games they have these days. 

 

I’ve spent so much time in Mad Harry’s...mainly on the Adam’s Family pinner that used to be in there. A lunchtime treat!

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40 minutes ago, Monkeyspill said:

I bought Armalyte there after reading the review in Zzap 64. I remember the guy there was saving the last copy for himself but took pity on me and sold it. I had the Commodore fixed in that shop too.

 

We also used to go to Lightning Records in Ruislip High Street, which was a bit nearer for us.

 

Ruislip Manor was good a few years later because there were two newsagents (near the Baptist church?)  that had arcade games in them.

 

Yep, right here:

https://goo.gl/maps/PvbS6DfrUzCM619h7

 

When I was about 7, there was a chinese takeaway on the left where I played my first ever arcade game (Defender). Later on there was a newsagent there where I played Street Fighter II and Samurai Showdown, plus some other Neo Geo stuff. Then there was a shop opposite where I played Mortal Kombat.

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On 11/12/2018 at 18:23, nakamura said:

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!

Ah, happy memories cuz.

For me, one of the few good things about living in Poole was Quay Amusements. It was a truly incredible arcade that had all the latest games and was always absolutely bustling with people. I used to spend all my time there and even played hookey once with @nakamura's brother where we just played Double Dragon and Super Sprint constantly until our money ran out. I completed Strider there, discovered the likes of OutRun, P47 and R-Type and much much more.

 

There was also an excellent little arcade in the Old Town Market (can't remember it's name now) while Bournemouth Pier was an incredible place to game as well (long before Sega World came along). I never really realised just how lucky I was to live next to a seaside town and just assumed that everyone had access to rows and rows of arcade games growing up. While both the big arcades still exist they are shadows of their former selves, largely filled with redemption machines and fruit machines. Oh and while I think about it Poole Aquarium had a decent little arcade with about ten machines in there. When I did my work experience there I was allowed to play all the games freeplay.

 

One other shop that doesn't seem to be mentioned is a decent little one that was in Pokesdown. I used to buy a lot of N64 games from there. Oh and I've just remembered Denshams which was in Parkstone. I used to go there to buy all my Amstrad CPC games and eventually the odd Mega Drive game when I wasn't near the excellent Video Games Centre.

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11 minutes ago, Pob said:

 

Yep, right here:

https://goo.gl/maps/PvbS6DfrUzCM619h7

 

When I was about 7, there was a chinese takeaway on the left where I played my first ever arcade game (Defender). Later on there was a newsagent there where I played Street Fighter II and Samurai Showdown, plus some other Neo Geo stuff. Then there was a shop opposite where I played Mortal Kombat.

I don’t remember the Neo Geo stuff but definitely Street Fighter II and Final Fight. They also had Rastan but I can’t remember anyone ever playing that.

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5 hours ago, strider said:

Ah, happy memories cuz.

For me, one of the few good things about living in Poole was Quay Amusements. It was a truly incredible arcade that had all the latest games and was always absolutely bustling with people. I used to spend all my time there and even played hookey once with @nakamura's brother where we just played Double Dragon and Super Sprint constantly until our money ran out. I completed Strider there, discovered the likes of OutRun, P47 and R-Type and much much more.

 

There was also an excellent little arcade in the Old Town Market (can't remember it's name now) while Bournemouth Pier was an incredible place to game as well (long before Sega World came along). I never really realised just how lucky I was to live next to a seaside town and just assumed that everyone had access to rows and rows of arcade games growing up. While both the big arcades still exist they are shadows of their former selves, largely filled with redemption machines and fruit machines. Oh and while I think about it Poole Aquarium had a decent little arcade with about ten machines in there. When I did my work experience there I was allowed to play all the games freeplay.

 

One other shop that doesn't seem to be mentioned is a decent little one that was in Pokesdown. I used to buy a lot of N64 games from there. Oh and I've just remembered Denshams which was in Parkstone. I used to go there to buy all my Amstrad CPC games and eventually the odd Mega Drive game when I wasn't near the excellent Video Games Centre.

 

Some very familiar names there and not so familiar.  Wimborne market used to be good as well for various game stalls, now also a shadow of it's former self.

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A couple I remember clearly were Dayville’s arcade in Birmingham city centre, and the Games Workshop above New Street Station. 
I loved going in there to peruse the RPG books and see what games they had playing on the way home from school. Watching the Uridium intro for the first time was amazing. 

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10 hours ago, davidcotton said:

 

Some very familiar names there and not so familiar.  Wimborne market used to be good as well for various game stalls, now also a shadow of it's former self.

Oh yes that’s right. He started off in old town market. Had his stall in Wimborne and then moved to the far end of parkstone.

sadly his shop care was a little rubbish and a lot of his stock got sun-faded.

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

But my main arcade memory is of the one at Devon Cliffs holiday park, near Exmouth.  Went there every year for 10 years and that arcade had everything you could want.  720, cockpit Star Wars, Gauntlet, R-Type, Indiana Jones.  Wonderful.  Spent so much money in that place.  I’d hate to go back now as I know it’s gone and just filled with grab machines and ticket games. I might get lucky and find the new on rails Star Wars game or Mario Kart, but it’s not the same.

 

I was there about ten years ago and again earlier this year. Sad to report that it's just like every other arcade now. There's a Mario Kart and... Lots of coin pushers :(

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17 hours ago, strider said:

Ah, happy memories cuz.

For me, one of the few good things about living in Poole was Quay Amusements. It was a truly incredible arcade that had all the latest games and was always absolutely bustling with people. I used to spend all my time there and even played hookey once with @nakamura's brother where we just played Double Dragon and Super Sprint constantly until our money ran out. I completed Strider there, discovered the likes of OutRun, P47 and R-Type and much much more.

 

There was also an excellent little arcade in the Old Town Market (can't remember it's name now) while Bournemouth Pier was an incredible place to game as well (long before Sega World came along). I never really realised just how lucky I was to live next to a seaside town and just assumed that everyone had access to rows and rows of arcade games growing up. While both the big arcades still exist they are shadows of their former selves, largely filled with redemption machines and fruit machines. Oh and while I think about it Poole Aquarium had a decent little arcade with about ten machines in there. When I did my work experience there I was allowed to play all the games freeplay.

 

One other shop that doesn't seem to be mentioned is a decent little one that was in Pokesdown. I used to buy a lot of N64 games from there. Oh and I've just remembered Denshams which was in Parkstone. I used to go there to buy all my Amstrad CPC games and eventually the odd Mega Drive game when I wasn't near the excellent Video Games Centre.

 

I used to go to Poole regularly as my aunt and cousins lived in Corfe Mullen. That arcade was amazing! It was the first place I played Street Fighter 2 after reading about it in Mean Machines, and I also played their Strider cab - it was the only place I ever saw it, I think. At one point it expanded and they had a whole room of sit-down SF2 and KOF cabs.

 

I went back to Poole for the first time in about 20 years earlier this year and was surprised what a shithole it is (and possibly always way). That arcade alone made it seem like the most amazing place. I went to Quay Amusements - it's much smaller than before and has the usual array of ticket-spewing machines and on-rails shooters. I did have some fun playing the Jurassic Park game with my son but it wasn't the same. Bournemouth Pier is still pretty good as arcades go, but of course arcades haven't been the same since the end if the 90s.

 

You're so right about living near a seaside town! For some reason under-18 amusement arcades were super-rare away from the coast. Some kind of local by-laws or something? Instead of going to a single glittering arcade paradise us suburbia-dwellers had to hunt out the occasional cabs dotted around takeaways and newsagents. 

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  • 1 year later...
On 11/12/2018 at 17:46, shirubagan said:

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.

 

Whoa. We must have absolutely crossed paths back then. I spent plenty of time at the indoor Epsom Market at the Games Room on the weekends. Mostly on the arcade games. Almost exclusively on Street Fighter. I'm sure that's the only place I got to play Midnight Resistance with the 8-way twiddly joystick, too. The indoor market (near the train station exit) also had SF1 with the touch 'sensitive' buttons for a bit.

 

Other localish hangouts around that time would've been Surrey Street Market in Croydon and an arcade in Kingston, the name escapes me, but may have been called Games Room too. With fruit machines on the first floor and pool tables / arcade machines on the ground floor. The manager entered me and two others into a SSF2T tournament at the Trocadero in 94, we got shat on, obviously. Also Charrington Bowl in Tolworth.

 

I then moved on to the Trocadero / Las Vegas / Casino in the West End. I got a job at CEX Rathbone Place where I would spend after-work time at said arcades before catching a late train home. I remember picking up a call from Sally at Epsom Games Room asking about buy/trade prices on certain games - I recognised her voice instantly and said hello and explained who I was -  she remembered me from the indoor market days. 

 

Other places I visited regularly would've been ACE consoles on Carnaby Street - extortionate prices, I did buckle and buy a This Is Cool Saturn from them. Shekhana at Tottenham Court Road - still in touch with the guy who ran the consession there - we both went into the games dev. I visited the Wood Green branch a few times too and I'm still in touch with someone from there too, who's still in games dev.

 

But yeah. Fuck Sutton into the Sun.

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I'm probably moving to Blackpool for work soon. I have these incredible memories of the place. When I was growing up and lived in Lancashire. We would occasionally go on these amazing family day trips there in the 90's. The Arcades were always full wall to wall of the latest machines. It was a paradise if you loved games.

 

I watched a video online of a few of the big arcades on YouTube the other day. Sadly now they look just like the chain US ones. Barely any actual games, just a million shit grabbers, coin rollers and fruit machines. Hopefully the fish and chips are still good.

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On 11/12/2018 at 08:11, Popo said:

I

 

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!


I was hoping there would be some Glasgow nostalgia posted up to help me remember. Sounds like you were a few years ahead of me, I visited G-Force and the place in the west end in the period from the PS1->PS2->Dreamcast. I remember G-Force trying to sell import PS2s for 800 quid. I was playing imports using swap magic in the PS2 era and the guys behind the till told me such a thing was impossible, basically started an argument between two staff members that I had to just walk away from. This store and one of the staff I recognized made an appearance in a couple of early Consolevania episodes. Bought most of my DC and GC stuff in the west end, except Ikaruga which came from G-Force (someone had pre-ordered it and not collected so they sold it to me). Once I started to get into online forums and stuff I was a regular on the forum of a shop called next-gen down in England somewhere (Farnborough?), so I started to mostly buy import stuff from there - anyone ever visit the physical shop?

 

As far as arcades go I used to play Daytona USA in an arcade at the top of Buchanan St, which either closed down, relocated or just switched to only puggies - in the later years I went to an arcade nearer the Argyle St end, most notably to play Fighting Mania (the Konami FOTNS punching based Bemani title) until that also switched to just puggies - no idea if it was the same establishment in a different venue or not.

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5 hours ago, Orion said:

I'm probably moving to Blackpool for work soon. I have these incredible memories of the place. When I was growing up and lived in Lancashire. We would occasionally go on these amazing family day trips there in the 90's. The Arcades were always full wall to wall of the latest machines. It was a paradise if you loved games.

 

I watched a video online of a few of the big arcades on YouTube the other day. Sadly now they look just like the chain US ones. Barely any actual games, just a million shit grabbers, coin rollers and fruit machines. Hopefully the fish and chips are still good.


I suggest you visit before moving there.  

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5 hours ago, Orion said:

I'm probably moving to Blackpool for work soon. I have these incredible memories of the place. When I was growing up and lived in Lancashire. We would occasionally go on these amazing family day trips there in the 90's. The Arcades were always full wall to wall of the latest machines. It was a paradise if you loved games.

 

I watched a video online of a few of the big arcades on YouTube the other day. Sadly now they look just like the chain US ones. Barely any actual games, just a million shit grabbers, coin rollers and fruit machines. Hopefully the fish and chips are still good.

 

Andy Palmer is opening another Arcade Club venue there, so hopefully there will soon be at least one good arcade there.

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17 hours ago, russbeer said:

Sorry to drag up this thread after 3 or 4 years but there's loads of great memories in here of my days living in Stockport. 

I was a frequent shopper in Game City and Game Express, I was on first name terms with the owners and was in there at least 3 or 4 times a week. 

Game Express was originally up by Richer Sounds on Hillgate, it was owned by Cliff, the jam jar glasses wearing guy who spent all day chomping fags in there. His son Adam ran it with him (Cliff passed away a number of years ago now, I used to chat to Adam on Facebook) during the SNES generation he brought in imports of Street Fighter 2 which was £70 plus you needed a converter which was another £15 on top. Ludicrous prices for 1992 or so. 

As the next gen of PlayStation, Saturn etc came along, he moved down to Underbank where he got more business coming in but the import side of things dried up. 

Then Ray and his wife opened Game City next to The Stage Door costume shop and as Ray kept undercutting Cliff and beating his trade in prices, the stock levels in the shop suffered terribly and he shut down. Ray carried on for a good few years, I bought my OG Xbox from him after he had a kiosk machine pre launch with Halo on it. His son started working there but when Ray and his wife decided to retire, his son didn't want to carry it on and it folded. It was a dark day for gaming in Stockport!

 

The arcades were also a regular haunt of mine. Roddy's by the bus station was my second home. Me and my mate Nathan used to go there with every spare quid we had. It has all the best games of the time. RoboCop, Double Dragon, Outrun, Crime Fighters, POW and Star Wars Arcade.  They even got Continental Circus with the 3d goggles and Starblade which was like nothing we'd ever seen. Then it burnt down. I was gutted (much like the building)

Grand Central was then built and Powerplay opened, with games like Tekken, Street Fighter 2 Turbo and Captain Commando. 

 

Ahhhh those were the days.

Woaahhh. We must have crossed paths as well! Spent most weekends in Ray's and Cliff's. Amazing times. I picked up GTA3 a day or two early from Ray as I had heard some good buzz about it and Ray was unsure why I wanted it so early. 😂

 

Underbank in those days was amazing and it certainly was a dark day when they both shut up shop. 😭

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On 10/12/2018 at 14:24, 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.

 

Now that's a shop I haven't thought about in a few years! Spent plenty of money in here on SNES and N64 imports.

 

Not exactly cheap but man, that feeling of getting to play something before it got to these shores officially was something else.

 

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The main arcades in my youth were either the one at Lyme Regis, or the one at Seaton. Both still around but pale shadows of their 70s and 80s selves, now all fruities and ‘win ticket’ type machines, when they used to be packed to the rafters with all the arcade greats like the full Star Wars cab and Commando. Lyme had many top notch pinners too, they even had that crazy Black Knight 2000 machine with the machine gun ball launchers.

 

Lyme:


E97654F4-DC6E-4628-9465-4EBDE628EC32.jpeg.703633e63fa3a502499dbbfc9937d2f8.jpeg

 

Seaton:


CDC67AD9-8BDE-4E05-8D43-A600BAA35CA4.thumb.png.6b5caf76375fd8e4713366954f33ae58.png

 

Someone took some nice snaps of the Lyme one:

 

5B328B16-D072-4F4E-952C-FCCF02F769E4.thumb.jpeg.77d10dd2535f0b520cac777dde3ae9cf.jpeg
 

BC688DE4-B522-41DE-A34C-5E1620027CC2.thumb.jpeg.d442c611d58631fd12747a1e15a93a3d.jpeg

 

C448AD17-B369-4011-B04B-EE26504E6EF6.thumb.jpeg.a809e12ede7daf138e06ddf9d7d11984.jpeg


I also remember in Seaton there was a tat shop which for some reason had two cabs outside under an awning, Scramble and Centipede. That place was catnip for me!
 

 

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For me it was always Elbee Computers in Colne.  They always had two or three machines hooked up to TVs and you could play a game before buying it.  I remember seeing the digitised loading screen for Back to the Future on the C64 and thinking it was one of the best things I had ever see.  Tiny, tiny shop and when the Amiga and ST came along they were crammed into a corner.  I think they gave up when the 16-bits were replaced by consoles and it's been a hoover shop ever since.

 

There was also a small place in the Shackleton Arcade (not a video arcade, just an shopping arcade), next to the stairs to the pool hall.  That was where I first saw International Soccer on the C64.

 

In Barnoldswick, opposite the newsagents where I did my first paper round was a bric a brac shop.  For some reason, it always had a well stocked range of Mastertronic games.

 

Arcade-wise, the train from Colne went to Blackpool so it was a regular trip out in my teens. Would spend a lot of time just wandering through the arcades, watching the attract modes (I'd spent most of my pocket money on Zzap! 64 and the train fare).  A two hour journey each way every other week on a Pacer.  No wonder my back is fucked.

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5 hours ago, Darwock said:

I remember G-Force trying to sell import PS2s for 800 quid. I was playing imports using swap magic in the PS2 era and the guys behind the till told me such a thing was impossible, basically started an argument between two staff members that I had to just walk away from.

 

I never liked that shop. One xmas, my wife asked me what I would like as a gift, and I suggested a TimeCrisis2+GunCon bundle I had seen in there. When she went in there, the staff "advised" her that the bundle was not really what she should buy, but she should instead buy the controller and game separately, for about 20 quid more.

I went in days later and confronted them about it, and they just handed me back the price difference in cash without a word of explanation or apology.

 

The name of the store in the West End (in De Courcy's Arcade) escapes me, but I'm pretty sure it it was just "[Something] Games". Was the proprietor called Charlie, maybe? I remember driving in there, early one Saturday morning, to eagerly pick up the first import copy of MK64 for silly money. What a disappointment that was.

 

@Orion I was down in Blackpool last week. Nostalgia still runs strong, but obviously the arcades haven't been any good since the 90s. It's very telling that I managed to get 15 minutes of enjoyment out of 2 quid (TimeCrisis5 + OutRun2 in Coral Island), while all around, punters are throwing coin after coin into machines just for a quick fondle of a cheap stuffed toy with a mechanical claw.

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3 minutes ago, peeveen said:

 

The name of the store in the West End (in De Courcy's Arcade) escapes me, but I'm pretty sure it it was just "[Something] Games". Was the proprietor called Charlie, maybe? I remember driving in there, early one Saturday morning, to eagerly pick up the first import copy of MK64 for silly money. What a disappointment that was.


CA Games!

 

I bought the boxed set of Zoids Vs. in there (for the GameCube) which came with a limited edition Zoid - it was silly money but the novelty of being able to buy a Zoid in an actual shop was worth it for me. The guy was excited to be selling it and asked me if it was true that you could control the Zoid with the game*. Bizarre experience to have the shop owner asking the customer for details lol.

 

*you can’t, that was the GBA Zoids game and a different boxed set

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I echo the sentiments above. I was lucky enough to grow up on the outskirts of Brighton so every weekend I used to jump on the bus and go into town for the Arcades. It didn't dawn on me that other towns didn't have them. The Brighton ones in West Street and on the Palace Pier were superb.

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There was a brilliant wee arcade in the Trongate area I used to go in back in the day. It would be part of my weekly ritual going into Glasgow city centre. I’d go into Jeans 4 Sale, buy some £5 rave tapes, a bunch of stoner paraphernalia round about Parnie Street then go in this wee arcade where they had Street Fighter Alpha, Virtua Fighter 2, Time Crisis and Sega Rally, amongst other things. I think the unit is still there but it’s all puggy machines now. 
 

I also have mostly fond memories of G-Force, despite hearing from many folk who had issues with their staff. Imported Guilty Gear X for the Dreamcast from them. It was also the first place I saw the Dreamcast actually running. It was stuck on a Big the Cat water section from Sonic Adventure and it looked amazing 😳

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42 minutes ago, Calashnikov said:

There was a brilliant wee arcade in the Trongate area I used to go in back in the day.


Googling around, turns out I’m on about Mitchell’s Amusements, which is indeed still there. It’s effectively the old foyer of the Panopticon, which is the world’s oldest surviving music hall, for those who don’t know. It’s where Stan Laurel first made his name. He was a brutal Zangief main.

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I think that’s the one where I used to play Fighting Mania (and a wee bit of DDR)

 

edit - no it wasn’t, forgot my Glasgow street layout. Trongate is towards the east end of the city centre, right? I didn’t know there was an arcade around there too.

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