It seems everyone from our nan to our niece plays video games these days. But long before gaming went mainstream, we spent many afternoons gathered around an arcade machine counting out coins for another game. We often yearn for nostalgia-laden days like these again. And have spent many evenings at the retro gaming bar Four Quarters on Park Street. But nothing lets us relive our youth like Arcade Archive.
Many will be surprised to learn one of the country’s best arcade collections can be found in the heart of the Cotswolds. Sitting in the unassuming village of Chalford, near Stroud, this arcade museum lets visitors journey through video games’ early beginnings. From coin-operated, electromechanical games such as Gun Fight to legendary arcades like Pong and Space Invaders.
Alex Crowley launched Arcade Archive as a YouTube channel in 2013, somewhere he could channel his passion for arcade games. But opened the museum in August of last year, joining fellow retro computing museum, The Cave, in an unused mill in the village. Together they form one of the best destinations for retro gaming in the UK. And just a short drive from Bristol.
Several iconic games from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s have been dusted-off and restored here. There are over 40 playable cabinets at the Arcade Archive. Where you’ll rediscover such classics as Donkey Kong, Q*bert, Bubble Bobble, Tempest, Gauntlet II and Star Wars. Meanwhile, at The Cave, you can get your hands on everything from home microcomputers to consoles and handheld gaming. There are plenty of rare and unreleased games here too!
The museum is just as much about preserving the gaming experience as it is about technology. So it encourages you to try your hand at as many games as possible. Three-hour sessions for either Arcade Archive or The Cave are bookable at £15 per person (£13 for those under 16) on most Fridays and Saturdays. To ensure you get the best gaming experience, why not start the morning at one and round off the afternoon at the other?
You can also book parties of up to 30 here – something different for a birthday or stag/hen do. To book your visit and to learn more about this arcade museum head here.
2nd Floor, Belvedere Mill, Chalford, Stroud GL6 8NS