One of the best things about my job at element14 is the diverse work I get to participate in. So when I was given the opportunity to go and visit the National Videogames Arcade in Nottingham I jumped at the chance.
Videogames were a big part of my childhood and my first memory of gaming is hammering the z and x keys as quickly as possible on my next-door neighbour's spectrum 48k playing Daley Thompson’s Decathlon.
The introduction of computers into schools happened as I was nearing the end of my primary schooling (Mid to Late 1980’s). The school I attended had just one computer that was set up on a sturdy trolley requiring three “computer monitors” (no pun intended) to collect and return it from the Headmaster’s office! The computer in question was a BBC Micro B with a 5.25” floppy drive and a cube style CRT monitor. However I digress let’s get back to the topic of this blog.
The National Videogame Arcade situated in Nottingham has been open since March 2015 allowing people to discover the world of gaming not just the games themselves but also the bigger picture around this industry. You can engage and interact with some classic gaming concepts and explore the history of videogames. They currently have a special exhibition called Jump!, which explores the science behind Jumping in videogames.
Behind the scenes the Arcade takes advantage of some of the development boards we sell at element14. A lot of the interactive exhibits use Arduino, Gizmo2 and Raspberry Pi single board computers as their brains. These are not hidden away as most of them are on display as part of the exhibit. They also have a colour coded array of cables around the building. Orange for power, purple for networking and so on to allow easy identification of the different elements needed in systems we take for granted in our everyday lives.
As the name brings back memories of dimly lit, a little rundown gaming centres at UK seasides, typical of the style of the 80’s arcades I was pleasantly surprised to see a mixture of brightly coloured décor and cleverly designed gaming activities more akin to a modern living room. The time past so quickly, I could of happily stayed here for many more game sapping hours enjoying some of classic video games that were on offer.
Iain, one of the co-founders of the Arcade and his staff were all very hospitable. I had a fantastic time and it bought back so many lovely memories of my past and the friends I shared that time with. My blog doesn’t cover everything on offer at the centre, so if you are ever in the vicinity of Nottingham and have a few hours to spare I highly recommend you drop in and check them out.