Over here in the UK, the opening of a place where classic arcade titles can be played is always something of an event for those of us in the collecting community. Its probably fair to say that we have a decent number of options across the country now, all within a few hours drive if we want to visit an arcade.
Leading the way is terms of scale, is the pioneer of modern classic arcades, Arcade Club, which now has locations in Bury, Leeds and Blackpool. It is a world class venue and can hold its own with any American classic arcade.
Smaller arcades exist over here, such as Timewarp, High Score Arcades and Four Quarters. All are businesses that rely on footfall and other revenue streams to survive, such as food and beverage.
But we now have something new and different.
Alex Crowley is a long standing member of the arcade community (best known for his excellent game room tour videos) who recently had the opportunity to launch an arcade museum. the result is Arcade Archive located in Stroud, Gloucestershire. It positions itself as something more than just a place to play and enjoy classic arcade cabinets – Alex is on a mission to tell stories and share the fascinating history of the arcade industry, with a focus on how arcades survived through the 70s, 80s and 90s.
For me, this is a hugely exciting project, as it gives Alex the space to host talks and presentations giving visitors a real bang for their buck – a reason to go back and visit the museum more regularly than they might otherwise.
This video gives a great overview of Alex’s plans for Arcade Archive and shows you a little of what’s on offer:
I’ve visited a few times now as a punter and can tell you the hype is very real! The space is compact but packs a real punch with a good variety of games with Alex on hand to talk through the cabinets and share some of the history attached to them.
Arcade Archive currently hosts regular sessions over each weekend, with a cap on the number of tickets available, so you’ll always find something to play. The atmosphere is friendly and a great opportunity to meet other players and share tips and stories.
Suffice to say, you won’t be disappointed with the line up at Arcade Archive – plenty to play, including all the hit arcade games you will have heard of. But crucially you get an opportunity to play some titles and machines that you won’t have come across before. Each game has a brief description placed above the cabinet, with a snippet of its history.
And of course being a museum, there’s so much more on offer. Myself and the rest of the Ted Dabney Experience Podcast team were invited to host a talk at Arcade Archive a few weeks back and we jumped at the chance to present the podcast’s ethos, share some clips and stories of some of the guests we’ve had on over the past few years.
Luckily for you, our talk was filmed. Check it out below:
This I’m sure will be the first of many talks and presentations at the museum, all designed to create a space where gamers can not only play arcade titles from yesteryear, but also to learn about why and how these classic arcade games were designed and released.
Many thanks to Alex for hosting us. We had a great time and without question picked up a bunch of new listeners. After our talk, we joined everyone downstairs for some arcade gaming.
So that’s Arcade Archive – please check it out when you have time – Alex is doing sterling work getting rare games up and running for the public to enjoy and learn more about.
You can book a session at the museum here.
Hosted in the same building is sister museum The Retro Collective. Focusing more on console and computer based retro gaming, it too is well worth a visit – you can plan your visit to the mill and take in both venues on the same day.
Arcade Archive is an easy ten out of ten for me. Being less than an hour away from home, I expect to be a regular visitor in the coming months. The archive of machines is really growing now, thanks to Alex and a great team of volunteers who all help to keep things running and acquire new exhibits. There are some exciting plans in the months ahead too!
Get your ticket booked and tell Alex I sent you!
Thanks for reading this week – see you next time.