The National Videogame Museum welcomed its first visitors to the former Castle House building in Sheffield City centre in November 2018, after moving from its original Nottingham base where it had spent the last three and a half years, it is currently the UK’s only videogame museum.
The museum celebrates all aspects of videogame culture and allows people of all ages to play, learn and have a go at sharing their own ideas.
It features dozens of playable consoles and arcade machines with classics such as Space Invaders and Pac-Man. A selection of titles made in Sheffield including Snake Pass, Monty Mole and Gang Beasts also feature but my favourite by far has to be Zool. Also created in Sheffield, Zool is one of the defining games of the 90’s. In total, there’s over a hundred different games to play at your own leisure provided it’s not too busy.
As I am from Sheffield myself and have been in this very building too many times to recall as a boy the nostalgia trip is almost doubled as it used to be a major Co-Op spread over 3 floors.
From the minute you walk in to the museum you are greeted by fabulous staff who are very engaging and informative. You get stamped up for the day and you can come and go as you please, you have the option to eat in with a little cafe just to the right and they have an obligatory gift shop but not as you know it to the left.
As you walk in you have a Sonic vs Mario section with 3 different generations of consoles for each mascot, itching to be played back to back, there is also dedicated areas set up for display only, rare consoles and dev kits never seen by the public a super rare N64DD, a Nintendo GameCube dolphin dev kit and the original Mortal Kombat Arcade board, things that rightly should be behind glass, preserved but still accessible for people to track the history of games and gaming in general.
As an adult now looking back at the stuff in here is amazing, you have arcade machines lined up each one with an identification label explaining who made it, what year it was released and how it came to be, but for a young child/adult this stuff is beyond their comprehension as they have quite possibly never seen let alone experienced any of these things. That’s why I think this place is so important and so vital not just for Sheffield but for the whole of the UK because it has a lot of history when it comes to gaming in general and I think it’s the perfect place to be based very central, and easy to get too.
Standing proudly in the centre of the museum is a huge sonic statue which is defiantly a photo opportunity for anyone who visits this massive place, you have such variety from stand up cabinets to one-off games which have yet to be released by indie developers to racers and console’s themselves, I spent maybe 4 hours in here with my son who is 11, he is heavily into games as I have brought him up well, but even he was having his mind blown, I think all in all this place is a little gem that can only go from strength to strength it has plenty of space to expand and grow and that can only be a good thing.
For more information on the museum please visit https://www.thenvm.org/