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Pac-Man’s back at vintage video games revival

Carnaby Street exhib­ition celebrates 1980s arcade favourites

12 January, 2018

Pac-Man and Donkey Kong at 3 Carnaby Street

PEOPLE of a certain age will remember that one friend who was so good at computer games and arcade machines they would hog the console while mates gazed on, glassy-eyed.

Now the organisers of a new pop-up exhib­ition in Carnaby Street, celebrating the best of 1980s video games, have the answer. They have 50 vintage arcade games on display and ready to be played, but have decided to limit entry to 40 people at any one time, meaning there should always be a game free.

For the next four weeks you can concentrate on beating your long-standing high scores on classics such as Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Space Invaders, and then enjoy the exhibition on video game culture with photographs, films and memorabilia.

Art group The Subculture Archives and Team Future Artists are bringing the celebrated “History of Video Games” touring show to the street. The Subculture Archives is a new online “museum”, a digital catalogue that focuses on British youth culture photography from the 1950s on­wards and hosts temporary exhibitions.

The Archives’ Jamie Brett said: “We have worked with collectors of iconic 1980s machines based around the country and this is the first time we have got them all in one place in London.

Despite the age of the games, some of them are still really quite impressive in terms of graphics.

“At the moment, there is a really big interest in this 1980s aesthetic, programmes such as Stranger Things are a symptom of this, and the arcade shows this design sensibility so well.”

The event includes consoles dating from the 1970s – including classic Atari, Sega Megadrive, Game Cube, N64, Play­Station and more – allowing hard-core older gamers to relive the thrills of a misspent youth battling to win at Sonic, Streets of Rage, Mario Kart and many others.

The exhibition runs until February 11 at The Subculture Archives, 3 Carnaby Street, W1. Open daily. All the machines are free to play once inside the event – you just pay for entry, and then play as much as you like.


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