Where do you find 2500 video games to play in Kent?
AllGen Gaming in Rochester that’s where. Just two minutes from the nearest car park the Press Start to Join team (and sons) headed in from the wind and the rain to the warmth and glow of a massive selection of new and retro video games.
For a bargain £30 we obtained a family ticket for 4 and were shown around the entertainment establish by owner and Master Chief of retro games, Shane. What was immediately clear was this is no mere labour of love, it is a homage to all things video game related. Shane talked us through the layout and how his 35 years collecting video games has led to one of the country’s premier gaming venues.
Naturally we were keen to get stuck in and whilst the kids (typically!) headed for the games they can play at home every day, we were intent on getting a richer gaming experience.
Dean: The SNES was fired up and with Street Fighter 2 securely in place a game against Shane seemed a good idea. Turned out he’s some kind of world champion, so licking my wounds I sloped off to get a cup of tea and some minstrels from their tasty snack stop. It was then time to get stuck in from a range of over 40 machines. Highlights from everything we played included; Scramble on the Vectrex – Great to see those lovely vector graphics! Goldeneye on the N64 – Always fun to dash through the Facility.. Halo2 LAN on Xboxes – The 4 player network introduced us to some new friends! And Forza Horizon 2 – No harm in a little racing in the modern game zone.
Jon: Armed with my cup of tea and Twix, I headed over to the PS1 section and got stuck in with Tomb Raider. After completing the first level and (rather worryingly) remembering where all the secrets were, I moved onto The Simpsons Wrestling and promptly got my backside handed to me by my 11 year-old son. I then decreed that we wouldn’t be playing against each other anymore as he was ruining my day!
Halo 2 swiftly followed this, as did Time Crisis (PS2), Jungle strike (Amiga), R-Type (Master System) and many more across Shane’s fantastic collection. Our 3 hours of gaming seemed to whizz by.
If you’re after a great way to spend an afternoon, especially if the weather is grim, AllGen is the place to go. Family friendly, run by a jolly nice chap & his wife, with lots of comfy chairs (thereby negating that enemy of all gamers, Numb-Bum Syndrome) and a large choice of consoles. And if there’s a particular game you fancy playing, all you need to do is ask Shane as there’s a very good chance he’s got it in amongst his 2,500 or so games.
Dean and Jon – Press Start to Join End of Level Bosses