The Arcade Barn – Back to the Future

The Arcade BarnThe Arcade BarnSomewhere on a Business Park just outside the beautiful city of Exeter there is a place old school UK gamers like to call home.

The Arcade Barn is a treasure trove of Retro Gaming Machines run by Shaun and Aran, dedicated Video game enthusiasts with a passion for the golden age of gaming.

How long has the Barn been open?
It originally opened in 2008, the landlord at the time wanted to know what we were called so “Arcade Barn” was born as we were in a converted Barn at the time…

How many retro games do you have?
Currently around 36 machines in the Barn, we have around 15 still in storage waiting to be fixed/restored.

Why do you like retro games so much?
I think it’s their charm, modern arcade machines are just PC’s in a big box with HD monitors, set at 50p play with the only intention of taking your money.

Old school games like Galaxian & Space Invaders you could play for ages on 10p, modern games are usually over in a few minutes..

What age range of people come to the barn?
We have all sorts of age ranges visiting us, from teenagers to pensioners, I would say it appeals to 30 – 40 year olds the most though, those people old enough to remember them first time around.

What are your top 3 fav games?
Aran: Mr Do!, Pengo & Dig Dug
Shaun: Firefox, Dig Dug & Mr Do!

Where do you get the games from?
Mostly from other collectors, or eBay, or sometimes from arcade operators…

Do you do the repairs, and is it easy to fix them?
We can carry out most repairs to the cabs, the most expensive thing usually to go wrong with them is the monitor and PCB’s, both of which we know people who can fix them if we get stuck…

Are you on the lookout for any particular retro arcade games?
EDOT (Environment Discs of Tron) would be nice, but there are only a few left in the country and they command a hefty premium…

Why is retro gaming so popular?
Most people in 30’s & 40’s remember them in the arcades when they were kids, they see them on eBay and “have to have it”, generic cabs be brought for around £50 with common PCB’s worth around £10 – £20 so it’s fairly cheap to start out, but then the bug bites and before you know it you have 40 machines…

Space Harrier Arcade GameYou recently had a Hi-Score tournament at the Barn, what were the rules?
The hi-score competition was run by a guy called Matt from the CGEU (
It was based on the hi-score events they have in Fun Spot in the US, there were 10 cabs in the competition and everyone playing had to set a score on every machine.

I am not sure how the scoring worked as Matt wrote some custom software to log all the scores over the two days. The scores were projected live on a screen for everyone to see… 30 people took part and logged over 700 scores in two days of gaming.

Do you have any plans to host any more tournaments?
Yes hopefully we will be hosting the CGEU Hi-score 2012

Have you seen the movie King of Kong, and do you think the UK players could take on the US champs?
Yes I saw the movie, we have some very good players in the UK, so it would be great to host a UK vs USA hi-score competition.

…………. Now that sounds like a challenge. How cool would a UK v USA Retro Arcade tournament be? [watch this space]