About 3 weeks ago, I noticed that I was saying ‘Not a problem’ a lot to customers. No idea why, just a weird thing that I started doing. Now I find myself writing ‘Hope you're doing well, all things considered’ over and over again. But I definitely know why I'm doing that this time.
These days are pretty bonkers for everyone at the moment, with the health and safety of the population at large bringing the UK together in isolation and shutting non-essential business down everywhere (rightly so). The Arcade Vaults shut a few days before the official lock-down, as the government's ‘don't go out’ announcement had had an immediate effect on us, with several cancellations in one morning and a dramatic drop-off in passing trade.
A few days have now passed with things having changed rapidly already, and I've had a chance to process. Our landlords (Castle Quarter Arcades) have had to lock High Street/Duke Street Arcade and limited access to Castle Arcade, and there are several of us who are very confused and worried about the future of our businesses. I honestly don't know where we'll be in a month's time but I know that the COVID-19 crisis will pass eventually. When it does, I will be fighting to make sure that our not-for-profit venture is able to open at full steam, because we hope that more than ever you'll want and need to experience the joy of playing and creating games in these trying times. So many of you have shared kind words of support when you have so much going on in your own lives, for which I'm very very grateful. We will return this in kind as soon as we can!
In the meantime, over the next few weeks we'll be trying to bring some events to you in your homes such as a special edition of our videogame quiz and perhaps even a live video or two if we can! We will also investigate some additional revenue streams to keep things going for us. But the most important thing to do is to stay safe, stay home and stay hopeful!
Hope you are all doing well, all things considered.
One other thing I'd like to mention – I've noticed a lot of the other venues out there like ours working hard on keeping their dreams alive so I'm keeping a list of all the closed venues across the UK (it also keeps me busy). Please consider supporting them as much as you can in these times. You'll note, there are a lot more of us than people realise!
- The National Videogame Museum in Sheffield are having a particularly hard time at the moment due to their unique size and remit, so they need support to ensure they are able to reopen.
- One-life Left in Norwich
- R-CADE in Glasgow (won't lie, they inspired our own noodle menu)
- Our Welsh brethren in Caerphilly, Savepoint Gaming
- The Arcade Club family in Bury, Leeds and (soon to be) Blackpool
- Extra Life Gaming, also in Sheffield
- Our Cardiff friends Talk and Surf Gaming
- Timewarp arcade in Bridgwater
- The Heart of Gaming in Croydon, who have been really been through the wringer over the years but are still going
- Loading Bar in London and Brighton
- The Four Quarters in Peckham
- The Retro Computing Museum in Leicester
- Akedo Gaming Bar in Lincoln
- Super Bario also in Glasgow (great name btw!)
- Retro Replay in Norwich (another Castle Quarter!!)
- Newcastle's The CTRL Pad
- Power-up Zone in Paisley
I'll update this list if anyone else knows of similar venues who've had to close because of COVID-19. Tweet us @thearcadevaults and let us know who we missed off.