We we’re just a little bit excited about being set loose in The National Videogame Arcade.
By a little, I actually mean we practically ran to the first game. It was a humble arcade-style cowboy jaunt that stole our hearts.
The National Videogame Arcade, situated in Nottingham’s Lace Market, is an interactive hub for game play past, present and future, teeming with innovative gaming experiences and nostalgic play. Championed by the co-directors Iain Simons and Jonathan Smith the NVA is hailed by The Guardian as ‘pioneering, inclusive and celebratory’ and The Independent as a ‘homage to the games industry’. We visited to see what the NVA had to offer two years after it first opened.
Previously I’d only meandered into the National Videogame Arcade tempted by the Mutant Ninja Turtles game in the lobby window, I like others put I’d put some change money in the arcade-style game in order to play. The staff later told me that all of the money put in the machines go to charity; currently Emmanuel House which supports Nottingham’s homeless. In fact entry is only 8.50 for four floors worth of game-play. This charitable gesture seemed befitting of a Game Arcade whose ethos revolves around using gaming as a method of learning how to code, whatever your age or background.
The next game, ‘Mission Control’ , was a prime example of this educational message. Mission Control is a two player space game where players collect as many coins and boosters as possible to beat their opponent, all whilst avoiding being caught by aliens. Gamers can then d their own aliens on a whiteboard and this image was then transformed using AR wizardry to a computerised image. Here’s our designer Max’s foray into game design:
Next we tried to defuse a bomb in a dimly lit room…which didn’t go well.
Despite our failure we did confirm our suspicions that the National Videogame Arcade wasn’t reserved for practiced gamers. It was a breeding-ground fun and coding for everyone who wants a different way to express their creativity. ‘Spy Monitor’ was another stellar example of this. In this activity groups of friends or family are invited to decipher clues to help their designated spy defuse a bomb. This game combined code, VR specs and good old fashioned guesswork. It was one of our favourite offerings – you’ll love it if you’ve tried out escape rooms before.
The HTC Vive experience was the last game we had the chance to try out at the NVA. When you don the Vive headset you are dropped into a virtual squash game where the objective is to destroy the bricks on the opposite wall. Suitable for all attendees, we definitely recommend trying this out if you find yourself in the NVA.
All too soon our experience at the National Videogame Arcade came to an end. We already have a list of areas we can’t wait to try out on our next visit: a game development testing area, a floor dedicated to Minecraft and a room of retro RP games and even a popular arcade-style Pacman. This arcade is really worth a visit, whether you’re new to gaming or an experienced player – why not give it a go this weekend?
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