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!

Transformers, Simpsons and a DeLorean: A Visit to Universal Studios LA

I’m a theme park girl – the adrenaline and excitement make for a brilliant day out. Wandering Beeb is less of a theme park guy and so a trip to Universal Studios was more my idea than his. We really didn’t need to worry though as the day had lots for both of us.

The core of a visit to Universal is the tour – a ride around some of the sets and backlots from movies and TV. Seeing the clock tower from Back to the Future, Bates Motel and the plane crash wreckage was brilliant and by the time we left the tour guide, I was itching to see more.

Whilst the rides in the park are just what you would expect (Despicable Me gets an honourable mention for the use of banana fart guns!), it was the setting and the film memorabilia that grabbed my attention.

In particular, the detail-perfect Optimus Prime and the DeLorean held my attention for way longer than was strictly necessary. Reading about the use of the DeLorean and the development of the designs was extremely cool – I pretty much had to be dragged away to look at other things.

One of the highlights of the day was taking some time to wander around Springfield: home of the Simpsons. The most famous elements of the town are all faithfully recreated and there is something special about having a Krusty Burger for lunch, washed down with a Flaming Moe!

England’s theme parks pale in comparison to the ones in the USA but we weren’t quite prepared for the scale of the place. With a whole shopping mall and entertainment centre before you even enter the park, a full day is certainly needed to get the most out of any visit.