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Owner hits on idea to put bar in arcade to tackle slow trade because of Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 07:25 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:38 18 September 2020

Glen McDonald, owner of Retro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Glen McDonald, owner of Retro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

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The owner of a video gaming arcade in Norwich’s Castle Quarter hopes to install a bar to entice more customers.

Retro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYRetro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Glen McDonald opened Retro Replay last September and it was a hit, but he is now finding trade has quietened.

He believes the good weather and worries over Covid-19 have prompted people to seek entertainment at outside venues, despite his best effort to make the site safe, including supplying disposable gloves.

And he has now applied for a premises licence to put a bar in the arcade, in a bid to entice gamers in with the thought of having a drink and a game of Space Invaders.

He’s also been sourcing popular requests for certain video games from around the world, such as racing game Outrun, which he had to import from the US.

Retro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYRetro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

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Just one game has evaded him - Defender, a game devised in the 1980s in which players defend themselves and astronauts from a wave of aliens.

Retro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYRetro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Mr McDonald, who worked as an accountant before setting up the business, hit on an idea to give people a nostalgic trip down memory lane playing some of the old favourite video games like Space Invaders and Pac-Man.

These were made popular decades ago, when you had to venture into an arcade to play them - long before they were available to download in app form at home.

“Guitar Hero, Space Invaders and Dance Machine are really popular, I personally love Sega Alley,” he said. “I do think families have been looking to do more things outdoors because of the weather and the footfall is quiet and I do rely on passing trade.

“I also think consumer confidence is down because of coronavirus but I’ve done everything I can to make it as safe as I possibly can. It’s good value for money and you can come and go as much as you want, if you need to go and do your shopping.

Glen McDonald, owner of Retro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYGlen McDonald, owner of Retro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

“I’ve got quite a few ideas and one is to do a bar to entice people in.”

He said some of the most sought after video games sold for thousands of pounds.

Retro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYRetro Replay in Castle Quarter, Norwich. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY


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