Back in 2011 the sad news came about that a famous arcade location in central London were closing their doors. But that wasn’t the end of the story, some of the games continued in operation on the site which Kevin Williams followed up on a few months later. I haven’t really heard anything about the location since and kind of thought that everything was moved out but apparently that was not the case, until now. I was sent this message last week by Toby Nakhorn :
Last week I found out the arcades in Trocadero Basement had been handed their 2 week notice. Then Crown Direct contacted us re: selling their machines. I wasn’t sure if it was a temporary thing but as of yesterday the dancers have been asked to vacate the premises (with barriers) and a friend who runs the underground clothes shop has been given his 30 days notice.
It seems that Criterion who own the building have until 2015 to finish their construction work to the hotel and therefore need to start construction now.
This means the handful of games that were left are rapidly going and Trocadero as an arcade venue will soon be a thing of the past. That leaves the only Central London arcade as Las Vegas Soho
So it appears that now, the chapter on the arcade goodness of the Troc will come to a close. At the very least it is good news that some of the machines are going to the Las Vegas Soho which is mentioned – you can find their Facebook page here. Mr. Nakhorn recently joined LVS and has been working to provide some great arcade entertainment to players at that facility. You can see from some of the videos and pictures on the LVS Facebook that they can bring in the crowds when it comes to competition.
Overall, the arcade climate in the UK certainly seems to be much more challenged than it is than in North America. When I’ve heard pessimistic talk about the industry, a lot seems to have been focused on the state of the UK arcade. That is from various individuals I have spoke to, or this article on Eurogamer which starts out with the “arcades are dead” line, which again for those businesses still trying to make a living in the region, I’m not sure how that’s helpful to them (but it brings in the website hits or something, I guess). That article talks with Patrick Michael of Sega Amusements UK, who also points out why Initial D is no longer given any love out West which to put it simply, is due to a majority of paying customers always wanting 1st place in a race. On a game like that, you are probably going to lose often until you build up your skill on the game. So if you want games like ID to make a comeback out West, that probably will entail a much larger effort of making challenging skill based games cool again. Those types of games still are desired in some circles, but those circles have diminished with much of gaming becoming more obsessed with plot simulators, virtual Legos and flapping birds. Of course, this is much easier said than done.
(Thanks to The Stinger Report for the Eurogamer link)