New arcade bar on St. Mary Street revives retro gaming ahead of Pac-Man’s 41st anniversary

Gaming bar NQ64 is proving to be a hit with all ages, revealing how when four hunting ghosts capture a yellow pie-shaped character, the urge to play again remains fierce

NQ64 is reviving retro gaming culture
Games range from classic consoles such as Mario Kart to retro arcade games like Time Crisis. It costs £7 for 15 tokens and each game requires 1-2 tokens. (Credit: Emma Blackmore)

An arcade bar is revitalising retro gaming culture in its new premises on St. Mary Street, following its launch on 4 November.

The neon-sprayed bar, which already has locations in England and Scotland, is offering an alternative night out filled with classic consoles and game-themed cocktails.

NQ64’s marketing manager, Ellie Quigley, 36, said, “Guests are increasingly looking for a more memorable occasion when they go on nights out. A retro arcade is tantalising to those who remember it well, those who were born at its peak, and those who only have their parents’ memories to go on.”

Each location has different games to play, although core games include Time Crisis, Point Blank, Pac-Man, Mario Kart, Guitar Hero and dance mats, so there’s something for everyone, Ellie added.

Considered to be one of the most influential arcade games of all time, this December marks 41 years since Pac-Man was internationally released.

NQ64 bar that combines retro gaming with game-themed cocktails and neon artwork.
NQ64’s bar offering, including game-themed cocktails such as Princess Peach and Pacs a Punch, are as important as the arcade games they choose for their venues. (Credit: Emma Blackmore)

James Daniel, a registered mental health nurse from Cardiff who also runs a gaming channel, said NQ64’s neon interior and welcoming staff made it stand out. The 33-year-old who grew up playing Tekken Tag enjoyed playing the bar’s arcade version.

“I believe the reason why arcade games are making a comeback has a lot to do with lockdown,” James said. “There hasn’t been a lot for people to do, so they’ve turned to the games they grew up with, reigniting their nostalgia for gaming.”

I believe the reason why arcade games are making a comeback has a lot to do with lockdown

The new arcade bar offers a few hours of nostalgia and for Gen Z, it’s an insight into how well graphics have improved! (Credit: Emma Blackmore)

Cabin crew member, Lydia Mcadorey from Pontypool said an activity-centred bar is what Cardiff needs. The 25-year-old who co-runs a food and drink Instagram, Platter Queens, said she enjoyed NQ64’s dance mats as they created hours of fun.

She added, “We loved the themed cocktails as there’s not many signature cocktails bars or hidden gems in Cardiff, so this was probably our favourite part of the experience.”

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