Video gamers of a certain age spent their childhoods happily playing at British seaside arcades, pushing 10p coins into Galaxian, Pac-man and Space Invaders for just one more go.
Their nostalgic memories filled with the smell of the sea, chips, and sandy arcade carpets, but this is rarely the depiction of the golden age of gaming we see presented in movies and TV shows today. A mythical, American style arcade filled with neon has become accepted way to present this period of gaming history.
This didn’t go unnoticed by Dr Alan Meades whose book, Arcade Britannia, explores the social history of the British Amusement Arcade, discovering its origins all the way back to the traveling fairs of the 1800s.
Alan, a lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University is visiting the Retro Collective in Chalford this weekend to give a talk on our unique gaming heritage including the people who made the machines, the black market of bootlegging, public fears of moral decline and battles with governments of the day to support the industry.
Alex Crowley, curator of the Arcade Archive in the Retro Collective said: “There really is nobody better qualified than Alan to teach us about this often overlooked and important facet of gaming history.
“The British arcade is the product of centuries of public play, gambling and mechanisation, fighting against taxation and often stepping over the line of copyright law.
“There’s a huge amount to learn and understand about this industry that took place before a single pixel appeared on an arcade monitor, and I can’t wait to see what Alan will show us”.
Alan’s talk takes place this Sunday 1st October and remaining tickets are available to book at RetroCollective.co.uk. The day includes full access to The Retro Collective including The Cave, a computer and console museum, and the Arcade Archive.