Last night myself and Lindsay were invited along to the opening evening for NQ64, a new venue in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The venue provided us with a bunch of game tokens, and two drinks vouchers, but this review hasn’t been seen by them in advance or approved by them.

Now the place was initially pitched to me as a new adult arcade, but to be frank, it’s more of an arcade themed bar than an arcade, and that’s cool, just different to what I expected.

Entering the bar, which is located at 82 Pilgrim Street, opposite the old Bank of England site, which is currently under redevelopment, you come into a large room, this is where the main bar is located, along with a small selection of games, specifically Galiga, Donkey Kong and X-Men.

The bar serves a selection of draught and bottled beers, and video game themed cocktails, but currently no mocktails which is a bit annoying as I am generally a teetotaller.

However I did cave and try a cocktail, I had a Dr Ro Bev Nik, which is a Jack Daniel’s, cherry and Dr Pepper concoction, which was very nice. (I know, I am a terrible example of a Baha’i, but I am still a work in progress).

Further in you come to a room in which there is a central column in which there is located a Mega Drive, Xbox (complete with Duke controllers), PS1 and Game Cube.

There are loaded up with a selection of games to play, but, the Mega Drive was using a widescreen monitor and was forced into 16:9 which made many of the games borderline unplayable, because they were originally designed to be played at 4:3.

The other games in this room include Outrun 2 SP, the only AM2 game in the bar, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Game, Pac-Man, Space Invaders and some Pinball machines.

In the back are a couple of shooting games, including House of the Dead, a dancing game, a snowboarding game and a couple of others.

Downstairs are the toilets, a further bar, but this was closed on this occasions. There is a room containing Mario Kart, Tetris, Mortal Kombat 2, Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition, and a couple of others.

On the opposite side of the basement is a larger room, in which you can find Ms Pac-Man, Tim Crisis and Time Crisis 2, a Neo Geo 4 slot MVS, Killer Instinct 2 and Crazy Taxi.

So what did we get up to, we’ll we played games and had a couple of drinks.

I am gonna start with the negatives, the first one, being a biggie for me, was when we got our second drink, a soft drink for both of us, the barman asked if we wanted a pint or half pint, we both said pint, but he pulled out a half pint, when we pointed this out, he swore blind that this was a pint glass, it clearly wasn’t and he wouldn’t believe me that a pint was twice and much, despite me handing over Lindsay used pint glass.

I wasn’t in the mood to make a scene, but that was not great and if we had been paying punters paying for a pint and getting only a half I would be quite angry, I could imagine a pissed up bloke could get very aggressive.

Lindsay loved the blue lemonade which reminded her of the Barr Bubblegum drink she and Megan are huge fans of .

The other criticism and this is very personal, but for me, the golden age of the arcade, at least from my youth was the first half of the 1990s and in particular the games made by Sega AM2, and other than Outrun 2 SP, these games were absent. I would have loved to have seen Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA, Virtua Racing or Virtua Striker. But that’s just me and my love of the Model 2 games!

The place has an emphasis it seems on original hardware, and I couldn’t find any emulated stuff at all, which was wonderful.

The Neo Geo MVS cabinet was in my opinion the best one there, oh my god the joystick microswitches were sublime and heavenly to feel. Best game of Metal Slug I have had in years, especially with the CRT monitor.

Time Cop 2 was fantastic, and me and Lindsay had a great time playing it.

The one slight disappointment was Street Fighter 2, I would have rather have seen The New Challengers or Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. The cabinet felt well worn, and some of the buttons felt like less good quality replacements and were a bit mushy, but most people won’t notice, and it’s good enough, especially with a few drinks in you.

There is also a cool Photo Booth, which not only gives you a print, but also a download code to allow you to get a digital version, which is really cool.


So would I go back, yeah I think I will, just annoyed I am moving to Hartlepool, putting me further away.

If I were to visit again, it would have to be on a school night, I get the feeling it will be a bit too crowded on a Friday or Saturday and you would struggle to get access to the games.

The prices seem reasonable, a bit more expensive than normal Newcastle bars, but those machines are gonna need a lot of maintenance, and being a chain you expect to pay a premium., and even then it’s not too daft.

The overall aesthetic is really cool, a bit too cool for a nearby 40 year old me, but I didn’t feel too out of place.

So I can absolutely see this being a regular haunt when I am in the Toon, it was a really fun night and other than the one barman who didn’t know what a pint was, it was a great night.