With two teenagers to entertain, there aren’t a whole heap of ideas on our list that the whole family can enjoy together without some form of compromise, but that changed when we visited Electric Gamebox at the Arndale Centre, Manchester.
Got to admit, I’m not a “gamer”, all of my knowledge of these platforms is gleaned from my son, so I was a bit apprehensive as to whether I’d be up for the challenge (and understand any of what was going on!). But I needn’t have worried.
It’s based centrally at the Arndale Centre in Manchester, easily accessible on the ground floor. We used the tram to get there, which was a doddle! When we arrived, we were greeted at reception, and everything was explained to us.
There are a bank of lockers in the reception area so you can use one of those to keep your belongings in whilst you’re in the Gamebox, you don’t want stuff on the floor as you move about quite a bit, so you don’t want to be tripping. The lockers are a good size too, so would be suitable if you’d been shopping and needed to store that whilst you were playing.
As we’d booked ahead online, we had received an email asking us to check-in before we arrived. That’s worth doing as it takes seconds and made the whole process very straightforward.
There were several games to choose from (some are 30 minutes, others 60) and as we weren’t familiar with them, we didn’t know what to choose. The guy on reception helped steer us to Alien Aptitude Test 1984 as he said it’s good for first time players.
He wasn’t wrong, we had a great time. The games were great fun, and very much based on things we had played before (think along the lines of Pac Man and Pong) which gave the grown-ups a head start. Plus, the soundtrack was all 80’s music (well, we were playing a game based in 1984!) so that had us bopping about too.
The teenagers weren’t phased by this step back in time and quickly found their feet with the games and outperformed us each time. You are against the clock so you need to get through each game as quick as you can to score higher.
Game play is based on interactive walls that “talk” to the sensors on the visors that you wear (they’re very light, not at all restrictive). Everyone has a different colour, so you know where you’re up to and whose turn it is. The room isn’t huge (it can take up to 6 players at a time in a family group) and you do have to move about a bit to play the games.
Our hour absolutely flew by with much cheering and commiserating (when the timer beat our sterling efforts) and at the end of the session you are given a score. We got a score of B- which I’m taking as a win as first-timers! In the words of Arnie, we’ll be back (to smash that score).
If you fancy giving it a shot (and see if you can beat our score?) then you can find more details (prices, opening hours, games etc) on their website here: www.electricgamebox.com/locations/manchester-arndale/ find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/electricgamebox/ or if you prefer Instagram they're here: www.instagram.com/electricgamebox/.
It's highly recommended, I'd suggest it for ages 8+, and is great interactive fun for all the family, or a group of friends. Such a versatile option in a central location with guaranteed fun!