The rise of the gaming console has left its mark on living rooms and bedrooms around Britain – but it has also hit the high street. There were around 1,000 amusement arcades in the UK in the 1980s, but that number had halved by 2011, according to the amusements industry trade body, Bacta.

Now, the next generation of gaming – virtual reality – is once again making the arcade the prime venue for playing cutting-edge games. Back at the inception of gaming, fans went to video-game arcades.

Japanese coin-operated games like Out Run and Street Fighter managed to draw in players once Pac-Man and Donkey Kong fell away, but they could not beat increasingly impressive home consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation, which came along in the mid-90s, and Microsoft’s Xbox at the turn of the century. Seaside arcades have clung on as “family entertainment centres” or “mixed entertainment facilities”, full of games aimed at small children alongside rides and attractions.

While it’s possible to buy budget technology, good quality VR is expensive. HTC’s Vive headset is available for around £599 in the UK, but to function effectively it requires a computer with serious processing power and a high quality graphics card, raising the bar to thousands of pounds.

Even then you’re not tapping the full potential of VR gaming. The driving simulators and shoot-em-ups in VR Star Bristol are further brought to life with motion sensors and high-quality sound, taking the experience to another level. Read more from…

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