A couple of weekends ago Emma and I headed out to check out an exhibition down in Salford. I don’t really go out in Salford much, despite it being in easy walking distance, so it made a change to head over the river and have a look around. Located in the Future Artists Studios, Ready Player One was an interactive art exhibition which featured a load of free to play video games from the history of video gaming. Entry was £12 per person and with that you could play on all the gaming setups for about 9 hours, free to come and go as you pleased as long as you got your hand stamped.

Emma takes on Pac-Man

In the entrance room they had a Pac-Man and an Asteroids cabinet. Turns out Asteroids is really difficult but the sound effects are really great. There was also a table of handheld gaming systems and a few art prints for sale that were technical diagrams of gaming systems. There were two other rooms. One had several home gaming systems inside of it including a snes running the original Mario Kart in Japanese. Luckily Emma can speak some Japanese so we could just about navigate the menu system. There was a Sega running Sonic 2 and a couple of other systems. One of them had an old game where you played a person hanging from a balloon. The aim was to attack and destroy the enemies who were also hanging from balloons. I’d never heard of it before, the name escapes me now as well because it was something pretty random, but it was a lot of fun.

Balloon game

One of the other rooms had a projector set up showing a video made for the exhibition going through the history of video games and highlighting some significant games. It was interesting and a nice trip down memory lane as I watched clips from so many video games I played from when I was a child up until now when I am not so much of a child.

The last room was just full of gaming cabinets from across the years from Frogger and Donkey Kong to Crazy Taxi and Virtua Tennis. We had a go on pretty much all of these. I lost to Tim Henman in the third round of Virtua Tennis and didn’t manage to make it to the other side of the pond on Frogger.

It was a quite enjoyable exhibition though I think £12 for it was a bit steep. Yeah, you got to have a go on lots of games you don’t really have access to anymore and you had a long time to play them but there wasn’t really the range that I was expecting. I think you can go to other events with more variations for cheaper but it was an enjoyable afternoon.

Afterwards we decided to get something to eat. Milk Jam has recently opened on Oxford Road in a place which seems slightly cursed. It’s had a high turn over of food places, including a waffle place that I was sad to see go. I think at that upper end of Oxford Road is a difficult area for food places to be as they are just out of reach of the main student areas and there are a couple of restaurants around which will make it difficult for anywhere just serving sweet food. Milk Jam has the people who make the extravagant stacked cakes for Home Sweet Home and the ice cream place that used to be in Afflecks Palace. Basically, you can have ice cream, cake or brownies however you want. I went for an Oreo cookie brownie with honey and ginger ice cream in the middle. The honey tasted pretty earthy but it was a good and rich snack. I’d definitely recommend going if you’re craving a sweet treat fix. I hope it breaks the trend and does well.

Ice cream and brownie from Milk Jame

Finally that evening I met up with a few friends for a couple of drinks. We ended up going to the Marble Arch pub. I used to live further down Cheetham Hill Road and walked past the Marble Arch on a daily basis. I always said that we’d go in there for a drink before I moved but it never happened. The inside is surprisingly spacious and quite charming, though a Rekorderlig does cost over £6, something they know isn’t right because when I ordered it the barman told me the price and asked if that was alright. I chose something else. We ended up eating there and after much discussion all ended up going for the Sunday roast. Disappointingly there wasn’t a roast chicken option so I went for the roast beef. I don’t have Sunday roasts very often anymore since leaving home; we used to have them every Sunday, so it is a bit of a treat when I get to have one now. It was very good, no frills but tasty food. Yorkshire puddings are one of my food drugs and theirs was a good one so I was happy. I wish that mint sauce got offered with all types of roast and not just lamb because really it’s one of the condiments of Gods. Goes with anything. Anyway, I’d be gladly to go there again.

Sunday roast at the Marble Arch