Last night, Paul B and I attended the pre-opening party for 8-Bit Gaming Bar. Having previously had the bar’s owner, Rich Stamp, on Nerds Assemble earlier in the year, last night was for me the culmination of months of anticipation, and for Rich? “I haven’t stopped grinning for four hours, my cheeks are starting to get sore,” he told me outside the bar while he grabbed a quick bite to eat from the new burrito joint opposite.

Mending a hole

8-Bit is in a former nightclub space in Falmouth, Cornwall, opposite the premises that once housed the original (and former) home of Loading Gaming Bar – it’s now the burrito place. When Loading moved up to Soho earlier this year, I must say that a hole was created in the Cornwall geek scene – there wasn’t anywhere iconic and central left to meet-up where people could feel happy to talk about their geeky passions and indulge in them without getting odd looks from other customers. And so when Rich (a long term acquaintance) announced his intentions to open a new, bigger bar in the same town, well Paul and I were so glad that we’d once more have a space to geek out in and socialise.

8-BIT Gaming Bar pre-opening img 2

Approaching the bar last night, I’d only seen the sneak peek video produced by The Killer Bits, and you know what? It makes a big difference being able to experience the place with videogame systems and people inside it… and a drink in your hand.

Yes, rest assured, 8-Bit has continued the growing tradition of gaming themed cocktails being served-up to the more adventurous (this week’s opening cocktail is the Bomberman) or regular booze and soft drinks.

Straight to Goldeneye

8-BIT Gaming Bar pre-opening img 4The bar is set out over two floors, Paul and I chased down a N64 system down on the lower fall and started our evening with a 10 minutes, “License to Kill”, pistols, round of Goldeneye while taking occasional sips of our Bombermans (when one of us managed to shoot the other). At 18-12, Paul won, but I feel that I actually managed to give him a challenge for once.

Warmed-up for the evening, we headed back upstairs and began checking out the multi-game arcade cabinet. Obviously not an original cabinet, it does have the advantage of offering a tonne of choice without taking up loads of space. I worked my way through being beaten on Ultimate Mortal Kombat IIISoul Blade and Killer Instinct.

And while working my way through my second drink – a tame cider choice – Paul and I took to watching what the other pre-opening event attendees were playing. I think fighting games may be rather popular with the VGSoc members from the local universities.

Big plans

8-BIT Gaming Bar pre-opening img 3v2There is a wealth of systems available at the bar and they haven’t even finished kitting it all out yet. Along with the Nintendo 64, Xbox 360s, Wii, Wii Us, PlayStation 3, the arcade cabinet, the bar will be getting a PlayStation 4 on launch. And they’re slowly building up their game’s collection.

Apart from being closed on Mondays, the rest of the bar’s weeks will be packed. Running Wednesday night Fight Nights, which could include arcade classics like Windjammers all the way up to modern fighting games like Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Sunday nights will be a casual tournament night (though not this Sunday, as Rich will be at a PlayStation 4 event), and Rich says that these tournament nights will have monthly leagues and the game genre will be rotated each month.

And that’s just for starters.

The opening party

8-BIT Gaming Bar pre-opening img 1Just on a final note, if you’re in the area today (Wed 13/11) the bar is having its grand opening party (open to members of the public), which includes videogame fancy dress and prizes for best dressed. The party starts from 5pm and you can find further details on this Facebook events page.

On a personal note, I’m bringing Cornwall Graphic Novel Group to the bar for its monthly meet on Saturday 30 November. We’re going to be talking about comics writer Gail Simone.

8-Bit Gaming Bar can be found at 4 Quay Street, Falmouth, Cornwall. Drinks are table service only.