National Videogame Museum

What better way to spend a dreary January Sunday afternoon than playing retro video games with the famalam? 

Sheffield is now home to the National Videogame Museum in the heart of the city, just a few steps from the Castle Square tram stop. It’s a play all day policy once you’ve purchased your ticket. The back of your hand is stamped, you’re in the gang, you can come and go as you please and if you book your tickets the day before you are planning to visit the museum, you get 50p off. We all know that at this time of the year, every little helps right!

The museums entrance is lit up with lights and as you reach the front desk you are greeted by the welcoming staff working there. Straight away you are face to face with a real life size Sonic The Hedgehog model and the buzzing sound of video games galore. 

The adults of our party were instantly excited by the old retro arcade games around the edge of the room, immediately spotting old favs such as ‘Space Invaders’, ‘PacMan’ and ‘Track and Field’. The pounding those buttons have taken over the years must be incredible. The popularity to this day, saw us waiting a good while before we could jump on it ourselves and get button tapping happy. 

The young-uns were straight off on to titles they were more familiar with, Mario and Pokemon as there are all types of consoles scattered around the room but it was awesome to see them exploring the floor and having a go on some of ‘our’ generations games too. ‘Duck Hunt’ on the original Nintendo is set up ready to bring back memories of what was most likely to be your first shooting game, with a real gun! I had a proud moment as I watched the children battle with one another on ‘Street Fighter’, using their fighters special moves to reach that KO. The only acceptable way to allow your children to knock each other out of course, as Ryu and Ken. 

There is ‘Guitar Hero’ section where you can get your jam on. An interactive area where people were playing tig with Playstation Move controllers and an arcade wouldn’t be complete without the dance machine. Jump on, pick your tune and show that room you can stomp in time to moving arrows! 

Personally the element of the visit that lacked for me was the ‘museum’ factor. I was hoping for more exhibits, things to look at with some information about gaming and how far it has come. There were a few glass cabinets scattered around the room with items in them, which were great to look at and brought back nostalgic memories but they aren’t accompanied with any factual details or information plaques? I know it’s only new to opening just two months ago and it does state on the National Videogame Museum web site that there is much more to come and on the way soon. So hopefully that element can be fulfilled during later developments as the museum expands its offer. 

You can’t ask for much more in an afternoon out though if gaming is your thing. There is a nice little coffee shop and cafe on site, but you can also pop back out into the city centre, grab some food and head back in later, because don’t forget! You’re stamped! You exit through the gift shop of course, who doesn’t love a good gift shop? Even if it’s to talk about how expensive they are and that you can find the items cheaper online; looking and touching is still fun.

The National Videogame Museum is a great new asset to Sheffield and it’s one to keep an eye on for sure. They offer hire out options and catering for parties and there is also going to be a Pixelheads club starting soon. This is for young people who love games and want a social place to talk about them, play them and make games themselves.

National Videogame Museum can be contacted on 0114 321 0299 or via www.thenvm.org. National Videogame Museum is situated at Castle House, Angel Street, Sheffield, S3 8LN.

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