A Gamer’s Paradise in Bury!

Sometimes the coolest places are just around the corner….

Wandering Beeb is a gamer and PS4 is his weapon of choice. I’m not far behind but I often have less time to jump on the computer. Given half a chance, I prefer the older games: I was raised on a Commodore 64 and love the text based games like ‘Cloak of Death’ (I’d love another go on that game, I’m sure I could crack it now that I’m older!!). With this shared love of computer games, a perfect date night between travel was to visit the Arcade Club in Bury, UK.

The Arcade Club was a dingy, dodgy warehouse style building down a back street. The car park was dark. It was throwing it down and I was a bit unsure of what we were letting ourselves in for.

All that changed when we got inside. From the moment we walked in, Wandering Beeb and I were overwhelmed by the huge range of games available. There’s VR, shoot-em-ups, pinball, arcade games, dance games, bizarre drum games from Japan and a section for new top of the market current games. Essentially it’s a gamer’s paradise.

The two floors heaved with the games on offer and people of all ages moved fluidly from machine to machine, trying out something new and returning to old favourites.

On the retro floor, old forgotten friends jostled for our attention, with special mentions going to:

  • Golden Axe (I’d forgotten just how annoying those little jerks who steal your potions are!)
  • Space Invaders – an oldie but a goodie
  • Simpson’s – we used to play this as a family when I was young. I’d forgotten all about it and getting back behind the controls made me remember just how much fun we had.
  • Soul Calibur – I had the Soul Blade version and loved this style of game
  • Killer Instinct – a childhood favourite of Wandering Beeb’s, his eyes were on fire when he spotted this beauty across the floor. He even remembered the special moves for his most treasured character.
  • Operation Wolf – I’d stand for ages watching my dad on this game. I have to admit, when I saw this one standing there, I had to fight back tears because I was so excited! Photos of the game went straight to my dad – sparking a conversation about the games we used to play.

On the more modern floor, Wandering Beeb and I hit the dance machines (we are both terrible), the drum kits (we aren’t much better on those either) and the new Spidey game. Taking a rest on the couches, we played Mario and Sonic whilst grabbing some refreshments, chattering about the memories the games had triggered.

Despite the looks of the venue, it was a really friendly, buzzing place and brought together a range of people, all with a common gaming interest.

It wasn’t a place that we needed to travel far to visit, but as we said in a previous post, it’s time to start looking at places close to home with fresh eyes: the eyes of a visitor. If we were new to the UK and wanted a cool place to hang out, this is where I’d be. It’s definitely a place to put on your list. See you there!

Unplanned Nights Out

It’s really nice to get glammed up and head off for a night on the town. Half of the fun is in the getting ready and the other half is reliving the memories the next day. Planned nights out can end up a little stale sometimes however, and it’s always those nights that just ‘seem to happen’ which make the best memories.

With that in mind, here are a round up our top 3 spontaneous nights out on our travels:

BBQ Party In Yosemite, California

A few baked potatoes and sausages made up most of our camping meals. One of the nights in Yosemite saw a family camp next to us – wow did they put us to shame!! They had floodlights, RVs, tables, chairs and so much food!! Being from the UK, we are naturally a reserved bunch but one of the guys bounded over and invited us to join them for dinner. I’m so glad we accepted, as the night was full of amazing food (including meat cooked in a hole in the ground!) excellent company and more than a few beers. We got to learn about them and their travels and even picked up a few camping tips along the way. It was lovely to be invited into someone else’s party and we had the best night of our trip.

Ruin Pubs in Budapest

Szimpla Kert was an amazing night out, but it took us a while to find it! You can read about it here.

Street Singing in Croatia

We were returning back from the little shops and wine bars in Split when we stumbled across an open air gig. One of the bars (Luxor) opens out on to a courtyard where lots of people (locals and tourists alike) sat watching the two performers, one singer and one guitarist.

They were playing a whole range of songs and the atmosphere was great. We sat down on the stone steps, under a blanket of stars and listened to the music play. We got speaking to a lady who was travelling with her university course and exchanged some conversation about places to visit, things to see and her observations on the city. We also might have shared a few chips! It was an easy and relaxed way to share experiences with others (even for an introvert like me!) and was one of the best evenings of our trip.

All of these spontaneous nights out had one thing in common; speaking to other travellers. Without chatting to other people, our experiences would have been far less interesting. We’d never have known where the best ruin pubs were, or learned about other people’s camping tips. Make a point of speaking to fellow travellers and locals, you’re far more likely to learn about a cool place to go.