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Your Guide to Retro Gaming in Cornwall

27th January 2020

There appears to be a growing trend of people returning to their much-loved classics. It doesn’t matter whether it’s how they listen to their music, or the games they play for entertainment, nostalgia appears to be the spice of life in 2020.

The vinyl music industry is just one prime example of how ‘retro’ is cool. In 2019, some 4.3 million LPs were sold to music fans, which was the 12th successive year of vinyl sales growth. In fact, vinyl LPs now account for one-in-eight albums bought online and offline. Interestingly, two out of the top ten artists to have the highest LP sales in 2019 were from the millennial music generation, in the shape of Billie Eilish and Lewis Capaldi. It might not be long until the likes of Justin Bieber’s latest releases get a long-play lift. This has given the music industry hope that vinyl is resonating with younger music fans as well as those brought up on 20th century music. Another industry that’s experiencing a retro revival is the gaming scene; particularly in Cornwall where there has been a surge in interest for classic video gaming.

Get your retro gaming fix in Bodmin and Torpoint

The Cornish town of Bodmin is fast becoming a hub for retro gamers, thanks largely to a game store owner that has been forced to expand his operations to create the county’s largest retro gaming café and social area. 720 Games was a gaming store that operated for over a decade when owners, Kelvin and Sam Donaghy opted to expand their premises, creating ‘The Pad’, a social space where families and friends could hang out and play their favourite retro video games together. The Pad has become a hugely popular space in the local community, encouraging gamers young and old to get involved in retro gaming tournaments. It’s even staging adults-only gaming nights, allowing older gamers to relive their youth and play their favourite 18+ certificate titles.

If that wasn’t enough to highlight the explosion of retro gaming in Cornwall, take a trip to Torpoint, where visitors can take another nostalgia trip at the retro-themed Escape Gaming Venue. This all-new retro arcade features eight arcade cabinets offering two-player action on Sony PlayStation 2 and 3 machines, as well as a rail shooter machine built for two gamers to play simultaneously. The arcade’s managing director, Paul Mason, hand-crafted the arcade cabinets in a bid to create a social gaming location for residents young and old in the area, available for an entry fee of just £2. Aside from his dedicated arcade cabinets, there are seven other retro games consoles available to sample, ranging from the Neo Geo and the Sega Megadrive through to the Commodore 64 and the Atari.


Old-school bar and social club games are also alive and kicking in Cornwall

Of course, retro gaming isn’t just about button-mashing on Space Invaders or beat’em up games like Street Fighter. It also relates to other nostalgic forms of gaming, some of which wile away the hours and form part of local communities. Take classic pub games like bar billiard and slots, for example. Billiards tables can now be found again in Falmouth at The Games Room, a cool contemporary bar with a host of billiards, pool and snooker tables as well as air hockey and darts. Slots and fruit machines, the likes of which that used to be seen in the county’s pubs and social clubs, now have a new life outside these traditional venues. This is due largely to the increasing accessibility of free slots that only require an internet connection to be enjoyed.

Classic card games are also experiencing something of a renaissance in Cornwall. Bridge is one retro card game that should be more popular than it is, although the people of Cornwall are working hard to breathe new life into it. In the US, almost half of all American households had at least one keen bridge player back in the 1940s, but that number has dwindled significantly through the decades. Across the Atlantic, Cornwall is flying the flag for the trick-taking card game, with 13 Cornish bridge clubs affiliated with the English Bridge Union (EBU) at present. Bridge and other retro card games are good excuses for people to get out of their homes and socialise with family and friends. It’s hoped that the revival of classic gaming in all its guises across Cornwall will help bring generations closer together.

Posted by Mark at 4:13pm

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