Video games! Love them or hate them they’re here to stay. The past couple of years has seen a resurgence of the old retro video games arcade cabinets.
To meet popular demand, there a few bars and clubs kitted out to make sure you’re never a few miles away from Pacman, Mario or Street Fighter. But which ones are worth your time, or rather your frustration and the strength to walk away and admit defeat…?
I will beat ghosts and goblins, I will beat ghouls and goblins, I will beat ghouls and goblins… Anyway here’s a list of Manchester’s Finest video games hangouts.
Boasting more than 250 games this little hideaway isn’t so little anymore. It has over two floors with some of the best old-school arcade video games, pinball machines, top of the range PC’s (for LAN parties) current gen consoles and my favourite, the frankly odd Japanese arcade machines that are only in Japanese. Trying to figure out how to play the game is a game unto itself.
If you’re looking for something that little bit different to do, give this place a go. They also sell gaming merchandise and have two bars that serve alcohol and hot food. What more could you want? Games, food and beer. Count me in. Right, time to give ghosts and goblins another go.
Cork St, Bury BL9 7BW
17 Below (Underneath Dogs ‘n’ Dough)
Like walking down into the basement of Wade Watt’s hangout in the fantastic book Ready Player One, this wicked little spot is perfect for unwinding after getting some seriously good food upstairs. Or you can simply bypass the food entirely and play some of the best arcade machines that dominated the 80s gaming scene; Donkey Kong, Space Invaders even Track and Field are just some of the delights to play down here. They even do gaming inspired cocktails! One Puckerman please, wakka wakka wakka.
17 Bow Ln, Manchester M2 4FW
Have you ever just been walking around and suddenly thought “I really need to play some Mario Kart, like right now?” Yeah me too. Well, you’re in luck, Hold Fast have a bunch of retro consoles (including Mario Kart) lying around so you can start getting thrashed by that one friend who doesn’t really play games but is somehow ridiculously good at them… An awesome place just to hang out with your friends, eat, drink and just play some good ole’ fashioned video games.
50 Newton St, Manchester M1 2EA
The only place to play games whilst you’re being watched by Darth Vader… well okay, not the only place but certainly the best. Arcade cabinets, 80’s films being played and all manner of nerd culture adorning the walls is one the best places to escape the busy crowds of Manchester. You’ll never visit a place quite like this, it certainly lives up to its name as a Fab Cafe.
111 Portland St, Manchester M1 6DN
An oft-forgotten about addition to the Trafford Centre, given how big and how much is on offer here. I’ve come specifically to play the arcades before. What is really great is that unlike the arcade club, it’s a little closer to the city centre and boasts modern arcade games too. You can start playing street fighter and a random can come and sit next to you and start playing too. I’m never the random though, I’m the guy trying to make button mashing look like I’ve dedicated hours upon hours of perfecting combos and moves only to get beaten again, and again… and again.
The Trafford Centre, Trafford Blvd, Stretford, Manchester M17 8AA
Shopping is hard, I know. So why not when you’ve got all the gifts you need, have a headache from all the sugar you said you wouldn’t have this time, sit down and take the stresses out on some computer-generated models that are just waiting for you enact some retail justice on them. The real meaning of retail therapy.
If you’re looking for something a little bit different, something that isn’t sitting in a bar or drinking a coffee. Why not sit somewhere else, like at an arcade machine and lose yourself to video games and knowing that when you don’t mean it when you say “Just one more try” Isn’t that right Ghost and Goblins?