Joysticks at the ready! City folk race to retro gaming heaven

Retro Replay in Norwich has seen a boom in popularity, pictured is owner Glen McDonald.

Retro Replay in Norwich has seen a boom in popularity, pictured is owner Glen McDonald. - Credit: Denise Bradley/Neil Perry

Forget Fortnite, Norwich is looking to the past for its gaming kicks, with city folk rushing to Castle Quarter's retro gaming mecca faster than Sonic the Hedgehog.

Opening in September 2019, Retro Replay has become a hit with gamers and drinkers alike who are all reaching for their joysticks.

The arcade offers almost 100 machines from Pac-Man to Space Invaders alongside a gaming lounge packed with consoles such as the Super Nintendo, Playstation and Nintendo 64, which can be played while sipping on a drink from the bar.

Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter

Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter - Credit: Denise Bradley

And unlike most arcades, once punters are in they can play until their heart's content.

The arcade is owned by collector Glen McDonald, who opened the arcade amid a growing interest in nostalgia.

He said: "’I've always had an interest in collecting retro games and collectibles.

Jordan Atkinson, social media manager at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter.

Jordan Atkinson, social media manager at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter. - Credit: Denise Bradley

"I purchased my first cabinet, Tekken 3, around a year before opening and the collection spiralled from there. 

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"Nostalgia is really popular right now whether it be with vinyl making a comeback to national gaming stores selling retro gaming themed merch, it seemed the right time to open a retro themed arcade.

"Gaming has become a huge part of pop culture, classic characters such as Pacman and Donkey Kong are recognisable by all generations."

Space Invaders at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter

Space Invaders at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter - Credit: Denise Bradley

His favourite machine is the 1978 classic, Space Invaders, describing it as "extremely addictive" to try and beat the arcade's high score.

Mr McDonald says gamers flock from across the UK to play due to the venue's unique experience and value for money.

Evening News reporter, Casey Cooper-Fiske, plays on Battle Shark at Retro Replay at the Castle Quart

Evening News reporter, Casey Cooper-Fiske, plays on Battle Shark at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter - Credit: Archant 2022

He added: "We have customers travel from across the UK to play our games, Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution are fan favourites and get the most play.

Evening News reporter, Casey Cooper-Fiske, on one of the dance games at Retro Replay at the Castle Q

Evening News reporter, Casey Cooper-Fiske, on one of the dance games at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter - Credit: Denise Bradley

"Movie spin-off games such as the Star Wars Trilogy are always popular with our customers.

"Not to mention the classics such as Gauntlet, Donkey Kong and Pacman."

Over the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday the arcade will extend its opening hours as it makes a mega drive for customers, opening from 11am to 10pm from May 30 to June 3.

A bank of monitors at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter

A bank of monitors at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter - Credit: Archant 2022

Normally the arcade is open from 6pm to 10pm on weekdays and 11am to 10pm on weekends.

Admission is £10 for adults, £7.50 for under-16s and free for under-fives, with a family pass available for £32, allowing two adults and two children to play.

Retro Replay's rare arcade cabinets

Evening News reporter, Casey Cooper-Fiske, plays on Time Crisis at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarte

Evening News reporter, Casey Cooper-Fiske, plays on Time Crisis at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter - Credit: Denise Bradley

Gunslinger Stratos

The Japanese game Gunslinger Stratos at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter

The Japanese game Gunslinger Stratos at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter - Credit: Archant 2022

One of the rarest games at Retro Replay, this copy of the Japanese only release is one of just a handful in the UK.

The shooter sees players navigate a giant battlefield attempting to gun down their rival team.

House of the Dead

The House of the Dead game at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter

The House of the Dead game at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter. - Credit: Archant 2022

Those who grew up in the late-1990s will remember this classic shooting game, which sees players blast their way through a deranged doctor's hoard of zombies.

Sega Rally

The Sega Rally game at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter

The Sega Rally game at Retro Replay at the Castle Quarter - Credit: Denise Bradley

Once in every arcade in the county, this game has now become rare in working condition according to Mr McDonald.

Players get behind the wheel of classic rally cars of the 1990s racing through dirt, mud and tarmac.

Point Blank

This non-violent shooting game sees players test their skill against wacky characters at a variety of different mini-games listed under six categories; accuracy, memory, simulation, visual acuity and speed.

Virtua Cop

One for those who have always fancied themselves as a cop, the game is notable for being among the first to allow players to shoot through glass and see their enemies react differently according to where they were shot.