National Video Games Museum Tour


In a large, ageing building in the middle of Sheffield's Castlegate district, lies a new museum. Between the disused remains of a Co-op store and a thrift shop, only the sign on the corner entrance of it gives any indication of what's inside.

Article by Ted >

National Video Game Museum Exterior

The National Videogame Museum, formerly known as National Videogame Arcade has just recently re-opened at it's new digs after moving from the original Nottingham location, due to the complex nature of it's layout and the maintenance it required.

National Video Game Museum Nottingham

It was a shame to see it go, being nearby Nottingham myself, but I was hopeful for what the future would bring.

National Video Game Museum Consoles (1)

Just over 3 months after the closing party in Notts, the doors were opened to the public for the first time on Saturday 26th of November 2018.

As I'd been there on the last day at the old venue, of course I had to be there for the reopening as well, despite the longer journey it would take to it!

I turned up around half an hour after the doors were opened, and after mentioning I was writing this blog for GamesYouLoved to the reception, I got a nice welcome from the Manager who I had a nice chat to about the new venue and the plans for it.

After a quick few minutes being filmed on their DDR cab by the local BBC crew for a video, I had a look around the place.

What's there is a mix of old exhibitions from the Nottingham location mixed with some new stuff too; almost all of the arcade machines they previously had lined up against the wall, cabinets featuring various pieces of gaming artefacts and memorabilia from over the years.

National Video Game Museum Consoles

There's certainly some interesting things in there - including GameCube and N64 dev kits, a rare Casio Loopy console, odd and forgotten handhelds including the infamous Game Child, and of course the Sonic statue, a staple of their reception area in Notts.

National Video Game Museum Consoles 2

There'd be no fun in a gaming museum if no games were on offer to play, and of course thankfully NVM has them in droves.

National Video Game Museum Computers 1

Themed console pods scattered around the room offer different games, one such being the "Music Box" featuring music/rhythm games and an Initial D reference to boot. Some of the more unusual games featured are where NVM is at its best.

National Video Game Museum Music Box

There's a really fun digital pinball table of sorts called INKS, an app pinball game put in a real replica pinball table. It works surprisingly well and was just really cool to see. Other unique experiences offered include a simple snowball fight game coded by one of the place's own employees.

National Video Game Museum Arcade

The arcade games on freeplay are also all good choices- games like Sunset Riders, Street Fighter Third Strike, Ms Pac-Man Space Invaders, and Dancing Stage Fusion are all present.

These were definitely the games most popular with people on the opening day, and I'm glad that they've now got a decent amount of them - there was nowhere near this many during the first year in Nottingham, which seemed a bit wrong when the name was "National Videogame Arcade".

National Video Game Museum Arcade (1)

However a few games they had previously were not present- mostly deluxe Sega titles, like Star Wars Trilogy and Gunblade N.Y.- as well as Initial D 3, this being notable having apparently been almost completely fixed back in September at Nottingham, where it was visible in the reception area as seen below.

Was a bit disappointing to see, and I hope it's out on the floor soon enough. 

National Video Game Museum Space

It wasn't only the arcade games, however. Areas around the corners were looking a little bare, including the very back area, which was sectioned off and I assume isn't ready to be open yet.

But what's there was still great - the stuff that was put together in just 3 months time is fine.

And great things can be done with the space available, including exhibits about Sheffield's gaming heritage.

Having already housed some nice ones in Nottingham (the history of the Dizzy series, Football Manager, Monument Valley), I'm interested to see what they can bring to Sheffield, which has had a decent game development scene and heritage over the years.

National Video Game Museum Outrun

They'd be crazy not to have a special exhibition space one day on Sumo Digital, who have developed many notable games, including the PS2 and Xbox ports for OutRun 2, the Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing games, and LittleBigPlanet 3. So overall, there's definitely room for improvement, but what's here is already good.

Like it did at its 3 year stay in Nottingham, I hope the NVM gets so much better with time, and will go on to become a great place for gaming fans to come to, just as it was in Nottingham.

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