In the olden days (mid-2010s) I’d make the annual trip down to stay with Cousin Iain & Nicola to attend a Burns Supper and Scottish themed quiz night that Iain hosted. I’ve usually done The Address to the Haggis (once in my kilt) and even Crazy Uncle John attended in the past, bringing his passionate recitals of the bigger numbers into play.
As with many other things, it all fell away during the pandemic and I hadn’t been down for it for years. However, Iain extended the invite well in advance for 2024 and I got flights booked early enough that they weren’t too expensive if I came down a couple of days early.
I picked up Arcade Paradise on a whim after skimming over a short review that said it delivered on the premise of a carefully recreated nostalgia trip. I’m not often in the mood for tycoon style games as I find they can be a grind but this one piqued my interest enough that for £16 I thought it was worth a try.
The game begins with you playing the part of the main character, Ashley. Dialogue, in the form of voice messages from your business magnate father, informs that he’s placed you in charge of a laundromat he owns. All you have to do is keep the business afloat – he’s clearly not expecting much.
Running the laundromat consists of picking up a basket with the X button, loading it into a machine by holding the X button, unloading it again in the same fashion and transferring it to a dryer. Aside from that, you also pick up litter and unblock the toilet. These tasks are as mundane as they sound but somehow fun because they’re game-ified. For example, throwing a bag of rubbish into the trash can is a mini-game in itself, as are all the other chores.
The game could happily work as a laundromat tycoon game, although probably not for long. However, in the corner of a back room there are a couple of arcade cabinets and, as if it wasn’t obvious from the title, the story tugs you along on the journey of gradually transforming the laundrette into an arcade.
This week, I’ve been celebrating my 50th birthday with family and friends and it’s been brilliant. I wouldn’t say I’ve been dreading turning 50 but it is a landmark birthday and, if it hadn’t earlier, society does deem you as “old” thereafter.
I’m mostly ambivalent about my age but I’d ticked off my 30th and 40th birthdays with a decent celebration so it seemed appropriate to do the same for this one.