Original article from Kent Live
Kent’s first gaming arena has opened in Dover and it’s been a big hit with both kids and adults so far.
Gamebase on Biggin Street has a vibrant neon arena on the ground floor and a colourful soft-play centre upstairs for younger visitors.
The gaming arcade is equipped with PlayStations, computer games and Virtual Reality activities, and caters to all ages – hosting children’s birthday parties and e-sports competitions.
Owner James Pearce, who was previously the manager of the shop Game which occupied the site, said: “Children don’t interact with each other anymore – they’re always in their own bedrooms.
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“Here they can come together and make friends in person.
“I’ve seen children who don’t know each other start chatting – it’s lots of fun!”
The arcade officially opened earlier this month following a difficult year due to the coronavirus pandemic, when it was closed.
James said: “It was gutting because we were only open for two weeks before the pandemic, then we locked down so everyone was on furlough for a year.”
Gamebase decided to re-open their bookings gradually this month to let the staff settle back in but they’ve been inundated with business.
James originally bought the building after being made redundant from Game when they shut down some of their stores.
He noticed a gap in the market, with the nearest gaming arenas to Kent being in London or Brighton.
He added: “I got made redundant and thought it’s now or never really.”
James purchased the lease for the site and decided to make the shop smaller, using the extra space as a gaming arcade.
He said much of the upstairs space was wasted before, so he utilised it by building a soft-play centre for younger visitors.
James added: “There’s no other soft-play centres in Dover – the nearest one is in the middle of an industrial estate that’s pretty hard to get to.
“I thought this would be good for people who can’t drive or parents that are in town and want something to do with their kids.
“It’s also nice for mums to be able to drop their older kids downstairs and bring the younger ones up to the soft-play centre instead of going home.”
The soft-play centre is in keeping with Gamebase’s vivid vibe, with neon lights lining the tunnels and slides.
The site also has a small café where parents can get tea, coffee, snacks, or one of their signature milkshakes.
The wide range of the latest gaming gadgets is sure to be a hit with older gamers who fancy getting out of the house after a year in lockdown, and the noise levels inside the arcade are testament to how popular it already is with younger generations.
Gamebase is open 10.30am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, and 10.30am to 4pm Sundays.