This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while but never actually found the time to do it, I visited the National VideoGame Arcade in Nottingham back in mid-December and thought it might be a good idea to write a review about it. I went there with the Autism Matters group. The arcade itself is located on Carlton Street in the city centre of Nottingham and of course, one of the first things I did upon arrival at the arcade was take a selfie outside on the street in front of the building.
Admission & Opening Times
Getting into the arcade will cost £8.50 for a ticket and for concessions it is £6.50, however is you are a member of the Arcade (which costs £25) then it is just £6.80 for a full ticket. Although as I was going with a group in my case the cost of the ticket was included in the price I paid to go with the group. I went on Sunday 13th December and on Sundays the arcade is open from 10am until 6pm.
Toast Bar Cafe
The main lobby is fairly large and features a couple of vintage video games as well as a map of the building including the lobby itself and the 4 floors the arcade has. Once you have paid you can go through to the corridor marked “This way to The Galleries”, up some stairs and into the small cafe at the arcade. Unfortunately the only food that the cafe serves is toasties, which is why it is appropriately titled the “Toast Bar”. I specifically requested a ham sandwich, not toasted, which was decent enough, but I do feel the cafe should serve more food than just toasties. Unfortunately, on a later visit to the Toast Bar I ordered the same sandwich but made the mistake of not requesting it to be non-toasted. There really is restricted food options in the cafe and I would recommend eating somewhere else either beforehand or after if you are not a fan of toasties or sandwiches. I even took a photo of the menu which I will post in here. It would have been better if there were more choices such as burger and chips as an example. You can also get the menu in pdf format from the GameCity website.
There was some fairly interesting exhibits, the first one we visited which was on the first floor, just opposite the toast bar featured a large game which required multiple players, it appeared to be a space invaders based game called “Mission Control”, I think the point of the game was to direct a spaceship blip and avoid the aliens or something or other. One cool feature was a whiteboard and camera just opposite the game in which you could draw your own alien and it would then be implemented into the game. One of the members of staff would act as a commentator with a microphone so everyone knew which player was in the lead.
Also on the first floor were some smaller rooms which featured other smaller video games and also some arcade ones such as Mario. One of them featured a computer with a Paint-type program, which I think was Mario Paint, which allowed you to draw whatever you wanted on a canvas. That was fun but as there is only a mouse it can be hard to draw anything identifiable, I just about managed my initials on the top left hand corner, as you can see from the image to the right.
There was quite a few other interesting things going on around the arcade, it mainly features vintage video games, but there are a few modern ones such as Minecraft, in fact the top floor is entirely dedicated to Minecraft and there is, I believe, a PS4 with that game on one floor. One interesting feature was an old computer from the 1980’s era which apparently was used by the BBC. It was a computer that only runs command prompt and you basically type in the commands. There was a guide next to it telling you how to use it, but I could make neither head not tale of it. There is a cinema room which features an Xbox connected to a projector, and there are bean bags to sit on while playing the game. I took a picture but as it was a dark room, it’s difficult to really make anything out.
Another interesting room that is worth noting is the music room. This is located on one of the upper floors, I think maybe floor 2. There is a large TV screen in this room and it features the game Guitar Hero. I watched a few people play it, and they all seemed to have fun, but it also looked difficult, I didn’t try it myself. Just outside the music room was a red riding simulator, similar to those electronic bulls you sit on and try not to fall off. I have included a picture of that also.
Overall while I did have a good day out at the National VideoGame Arcade, if you live far away from Nottingham, I wouldn’t recommend travelling just to visit this arcade. There isn’t a massive amount to see unless you are hugely into video games. If you are visiting the Nottingham area over several days or a weekend then this is definitely worth a visit, but not something to see if you are just passing through. My biggest gripe was the toast bar serving nothing other than toast, as I said it would have been nice to see burgers, chips and pizza on the menu as well. If you would like to visit the arcade then you can book tickets online using the GameCity website. There is also more information about the arcade on the site. In conclusion I am unlikely to return here in the future, however I don’t have a strong interest in video games as such.