Cardiff is Getting a Month-Long Pop-Up Gaming Festival in August

By Matt Wales on at

If you live in, around, or within driving distance of Cardiff, or possibly even within flying distance if you're up for an adventure, you might be interested to know that a month-long pop-up arcade gaming residency will occur in the city throughout August.

The event (which annoyingly doesn't appear to have a proper name, so I'm just going to have to keep referring to it as 'the event') is being organised by The Arcade Vaults, and will run from August 3rd to 31st at the Castle Arcade shopping centre in Cardiff.

According to event organisers, the pop-up arcade will cover both floors of 10-14 Castle Arcade, and will feature a large collection of playable retro consoles and computers. I'm told that the plan is to account for as many decades of gaming as possible; at the very least, you should find a Pong clone (specifically a Prinztronic Tournament II Deluxe, I'm told), an Atari 2600, NES, SNES, Megadrive, Commodore 64, Amiga, BBC Micro, Spectrum ZX2, N64, Gamecube, and PS1. And there should be a few modern consoles, PCs and tablets too.

As for the games, The Arcade Vaults (which specialises in retro gaming events around the city) will be rotating titles daily from across its large collection. You can expect the likes of Pac-Man, Asteroids, Street Fighter II, Micro Machines, various Mario Karts, Sensible Soccer, GoldenEye, and more—with the less kid-friendly games being kept for later in the day, should you wish to bring family/borrowed children along.

Additionally, a month-long schedule of tournaments, talks, and events is planned. Currently in the works are a "Mario Kart for the ages" tournament, covering multiple version of the game, general fighting tournaments, a Super Mario All-Stars speed-run world record attempt, and something to mark GoldenEye's 20th anniversary (yipe) on the weekend of the 24th/25th. This may involve cos-play. At present, the plan is to hold tournaments every Sunday, although it sounds like final event details will be confirmed within the next few days. I'd suggest keeping an eye on The Arcade Vaults' Facebook page for further details.

That's not the end of it though. Throughout August (likely on the Mondays, I'm told), there will be opportunities for local developers to show off their work-in-progress games, and speak to the public—all in conjunction with Games Wales, the government-backed representative body for games developers in Wales. Currently confirmed developers include Duel Fuel, Thud Media, National Insecurities, Blind Sky Studios, Dark Planet Studios, Filthy Fresh Studio, Mochi Games, Dojo Arcade, and Talespinners.

Wrapping things up on the 'stuff that is happening' front, there will hopefully be group Minecraft play sessions for kids every Wednesday, and some board game action hosted by local store Rules of Play. There'll also be local-artist-created video-game-themed art and merchandise to buy, and a late license every Thursday so that you may ply yourself (in moderation) with delicious craft beers and the like.

Tickets for the pop-up arcade portion of the event will cost £5 for adults and £3 for concessions. For that, you'll be able to hang around and play for as long as you want over the course of a day. Evening event pricing will be announced shortly on The Arcade Vaults’ website and social channels.