Konbo, a speciality arcade café with classic gaming machines, will open in Edinburgh on Saturday, May 13th.
The first establishment of its kind in the Scottish capital is the brainchild of business owner Michael Cox, who found himself inspired by Japan’s vibrant arcade scene. He aims to emulate their inclusive passion and recreate their lively part of popular culture that draws in customers from every walk of life. Reasoning that cafés are already places where people of all ages gather, adding arcade machines into that environment was merely a logical extension.
Along the way, he also hopes to reclaim this country’s notion of arcades as staples of decaying seaside resorts with poorly-maintained coin-swallowing machines housed in run-down buildings with crumbling walls and sticky floors, and bring their perception more in line with the something you might see amidst the effervescent energy of the otaku cultural hub of Akihabara in Tokyo, and has even mimicked their atmosphere by importing Japanese arcade stools and posters.
The stock of over forty games will be rotated regularly through the café’s six machines and includes a wide variance such as classics like Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Final Fight and Ghosts & Goblins; bullet-hell shoot-‘em-ups like DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou and Ketsui: Kizuna Jigoku Tachi; hardcore fighting games like Capcom vs SNK 2 and Garou: Mark of the Wolves; and Japanese classics little known in the West such as Puyo Puyo Tsu and Detana!! Twinbee. Rather than going down the more straightforward route of using emulators, all the games will operate from original PCBs, some of which are now extremely rare and seldom seen outside the hands of private collectors.
The machines themselves are Japanese imports housing games from the late ‘80s and ‘90s (“a golden age of gaming,” Cox declared), and as the culture of that time is currently undergoing a resurgence fuelled by nostalgia (when did the ‘90s become retro? *quietly sobs*), it will give children of the era the opportunity to enjoy them all over again, and hopefully gain new fans in younger people who are experiencing them for the first time.
“Konbo aims to give people a chance to experience these original games running on vintage hardware, in person with your friends,” Cox commented. “With this approach, I hope we can bring back a little of the community feeling of arcade gaming.”
Konbo’s location on Gilmore Place is a short walk away from Fountain Park and Cineworld, so it will be simple to move straight from one kind of glorious cultural environment to another, and the arcade café will open its doors to the world on Saturday, May 13th.
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