Arcade games cafe to open in Edinburgh

EDINBURGH'S first ever arcade cafe is set to throw open its doors in the early summer.

Some of the arcade games that will be in the cafe. Picture: contributed
Some of the arcade games that will be in the cafe. Picture: contributed

Konbo will offer a “vintage arcade experience within a cafe environment” – combining fine coffee with nostalgic gaming from the late 1980s to 1990s.

Boasting original, decades-old arcade machines specially imported from Japan, the venture promises to be a geek’s paradise.

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But owner and city entrepreneur Michael Cox, 34, insisted it would also be a “welcoming, modern venue, open to gamers and non-gamers of all ages”.

He said he planned to open up the business in Tollcross, but declined to reveal an exact location – insisting he was still in negotiation with the landlord.

A planning application will be submitted in the coming weeks.

Mr Cox, who lives in Balgreen and previously worked in property management, said: “I’ve been sourcing games and planning this project for a couple of years now. I want to bring back the social element of gaming.

“These arcade machines appeal to people of all ages, and I think it’s important to have a space where they can be enjoyed together.

“In Scotland, arcades have almost died out. In Japan they survive because they are treated like social hubs with their own communities.

“This shows that the classic arcade is a viable alternative to modern online gaming – provided the venue and the atmosphere is right. We’ll have coffee and food available during the day, and the aim is to have beer and evening attractions as well.

“We have an excellent range of classic games of all genres, and the machines are very well maintained – there will be no swallowed coins or broken controls, unlike some arcades of the past.

“Konbo features a collection of vintage Japanese arcade machines unlike anything else in Scotland. We can’t wait to connect with the local gaming community, and introduce new people to arcade gaming. The response we’ve had so far has been amazing.”

Gaming venues have been experiencing a boom in recent years, with London’s Four Quarters and Glasgow’s MEGAbytes – which describes itself as a “retro arcade cafe” – just two success stories.

The latest bid to open a similar venture in Edinburgh comes after PDT Mezcaleria, a retro-style basement bar featuring classic arcade games, opened on Shandwick Place last year. But Mr Cox revealed his cafe would mostly forego older classics such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders in favour of titles from a later era such as Street Fighter 2, Final Flight, Golden Axe and Metal Slug.

He said he was aiming for the new venue to open until “at least” 11pm, adding: “I would like this to be the kind of place that people can come to during the day as well as at night.”

The cafe’s coffee, food and drinks will focus on locally-sourced goods.