Freeplay MAME Cabinet and much more in HMV stores

BubbleBobbleArcadeMachineHMV stores across the UK have silently placed arcade cabinets within their newly fitted out gaming section. RetroCollect headed over today to investigate, finding much more than initially expected...

After hearing a word regarding the arcade machines on another forum, the rumour sounded too good to be true. A MAME cabinet offering a few hundred games, placed in the centre of a retail store, set to free play... Surely not?

After all, Arcade gaming in the UK is on it's last breath surviving solely on Dance Dance Revolution and a few slightly worrying attempts at arcade gaming, why would a shop feel the need to install a cabinet in a time like this?

Well, the rumour has been confirmed. Despite sounding too good to be true, thousands of retro gamers can now spend their lunch breaks during work playing Street Fighter II, Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands and much much more. Meanwhile, the undereducated (in retro) youth of the nation can be schooled into understanding why their save-point-happy Xbox 360 games are a little too easy and the concept of credits.

Finding the Cabinet

Upon arriving at the Leeds branch of HMV, the gaming section was clearly visible a good way into the back of the store. Halfway through the aisles of audio CDs, our eyes were locked onto what appeared to be the arcade machine in the distance. Getting closer, our ignorance to our surroundings was growing as the Space Invaders decals were becoming clearer and clear.

We had arrived. Sadly though, the cabinet was currently occupied by a young man with very good gaming taste. He was busy playing Ninja Gaiden, followed by Aliens Vs Predator and Cadillacs & Dinosaurs.

And while this young man was occupying the cabinet, our eyes began to wander around the shop only to see something refreshing, something our arcade hunting eyes had missed...

Much more than an Arcade cabinet

ConsolesGamesFor the first time in a long time, a games retailer had finally opened up a very much needed addition to the stock on the shelves. Beside this arcade cabinet lay approximately seven or eight modern games consoles, all wired up to individual televisions with controllers at the ready.

We were very pleased to see two arcade sticks placed in front of a television displaying BlazBlue on the Xbox 360, followed by a 2 player setup of Guitar Hero and DJ Hero nearby. Finally, gamers have been given the ability to play on chosen games within stores before making a purchase.

This arrangement and selection has long been needed within retail. The well stocked shelves of game shops have become stale, buying online had always been the easiest way to avoid staring at box after box. The ability to check out a game's trailer on YouTube was always an added bonus while purchasing games online, making retail a miss.

But being surrounded by this gaming vibe, the stock beside us didn't seem so bad after all.

A welcome addition to shopping

RetroMerchandiseThis new addition to the HMV stores has got us thinking. After a few minutes within the shop, we were trying out games we would normally leave aside, browsing the games on offer and had we had more time, potentially talking to other gamers on the systems around us. This was a feeling all too familiar, a feeling long forgotten and left behind in the likes of Blackpool & Scarborough...It was almost as if we were back in the arcades.

Beside us also lay lots of gaming merchandise. Super Mario Bros figurines, Animal Crossing plushies, Gaming T-shirts, Sonic The Hedgehog toys. While these can be found within other stores, the placement of these items and overall vibe of the store made these a much more appealing purchase.

We take our hats off to HMV. What at first appeared to be a one off gimmick, was in fact the best move any game retailer could have made in a disastrous time of online shopping.

And if it was nothing but a ploy to get us into the store to shop, well, we can't deny it worked. After playing a few round of Puzzle Bobble and Street Fighter II, I (Cauterize) walked out with a very nice MegaMan T-shirt in a HMV bag!

Last Updated ( 18 May 2010 )  


Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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(Link to this comment) hydr0x 2010-05-18 21:24
nice :)
(Link to this comment) Lorfarius 2010-06-06 13:35
So is this going to a be nationwide thing or just the one store?

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