๐Ÿ•น️ Kingdom Of Carts: The Paris Return ๐Ÿ•น️ @kingdomofcarts @BrittRecluseuk

Share This Post On Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share This Post On
I wrote an article on our previous retro gaming sojourn to Paris (one of Faye’s favourite places) last year and commented on the price there and the gaming culture of Paris in general, however, we didn’t really know what to expect on that occasion.
This time, we built the holiday specifically around our love of gaming and so we were able to visit more places and also plan our treks more (we ended up clocking over thirty miles of walking in three days!) than our previous trips.
Faye chose a hotel just off Boulevard Voltaire which is near the Oberkampf Metro stop, less than a five-minute walk from the main strip of video game stores in Paris (she doesn’t mess around).
After dropping off our bags in the hotel, we wandered over to the stores we had visited previously and could see that if anything, everything had become more expensive (more on this later) although there were some cool new items in stock.
It dawned on me as we made our way around the stores (Full 7, Retro Reflex, Trader Games et al) that the stores seemed to focus on a different style of gaming in order to corner their own share of the market in such a crowded place.
One would focus on Japanese imports, another may only stock Nintendo products whilst Full 7, for example, had a lot of extremely rare (and I suspect re-pro) Mega Drive / Genesis games. This section of our trip was pretty much a reconnaissance mission and afterwards, we sat down for some wine and tapas and discussed how the prohibitive pricing (when compared to the UK) meant that we would really have to research our possible purchases. It would be easy to get excited and massively overspend but we decided to instead pick up some gold instead of lots of bronze.
The next day, we wandered in blazing sunshine over to Rue de Maubeuge in order to visit ‘Coin-Op Table’, a wine bar/restaurant / retro arcade that we’d spotted on a flyer in one of the game stores. It was set a very pleasant thirty-minute walk away from Boulevard Voltaire and upon entering we instantly felt right at home. Having only opened a mere three months previously, Coin-Op Table was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

As we’d already eaten, we didn’t sample any food but the menu was enticing with some tasty-looking platters of meats and cheeses along with homemade soups and a really eye-watering selection of wines (of which the owner, Thomas, suggested, selected and poured for us during our stay). The focal point for us, however, was, of course, the arcade machines. We sat at a small table towards the back and Thomas kindly turned on all of the machines and was happy to answer any questions that we had.
It turns out that Thomas was aware of Boulevard Voltaire but felt that the market for retro games was becoming crowded and he especially expressed his disdain at the rocketing process of retro games. According to him, it was around 4/5 years ago that prices in Paris exploded and he lost faith in his hobby, instead deciding to move onto a new venture which he felt wasn’t being catered for in Paris, hence the opening of this bar. Thomas bought vintage parts for the machines from around the world and assembled them himself to give as much of an original experience as he could and the machines were immaculately maintained and clearly looked after with love, there was also quite a nice selection on offer, all on free play mode! One of my favourite memories of the trip was playing Wyvern Wings (and doing surprisingly well) whilst discussing the importance of scanlines in older games in broken French / English with three other Parisians, good!
The machines available at Coin-Op Table were:
Ghosts N Goblins – If possible, even harder than the sequel
Dragon’s Lair – I swear I spent an hour on this and still got nowhere near the end, damn you, Dirk!
Shock Troopers
Dig Dug
Pac Man
Metal Slug
Street Fighter 2
Wyvern Wings
(and one other fighting game that escapes me at the moment, sorry!

After having an awesome couple of hours at Coin-Op Table, we made our way to Reset Bar. We were slightly concerned that the bar would be similar to Coin-Op Table but I was pleased to see that Reset bar differs in quite a few ways, making both of them a great visit for gamers in Paris.
Reset Bar was very vibrant and busy both times we were there and had a more energetic mood than Coin-Op Table (although we admittedly visited in the evening whereas we frequented Coin-Op Table in the early afternoon) and instead of having a mellow, relaxed vibe, Reset was completely about multi-player action. We picked up two refreshing ‘Hero’ Cocktails (two types of vodka and loads of awesome fresh fruits) from the menu (which had replaced all of the standard cocktail names with gaming-related ones, a simple but effective touch) and walked around the moodily-lit bar. It would be hard for me to recall every game on offer but needless to say, there were LOTS.
Instead of arcades, Reset instead has the original consoles in Perspex cases with a single game available on each, accompanied with a screen and some seating. All of the games were free to play, multiplayer and mostly focused on competitive gaming, which suited the atmosphere. To add to the ambience, there were a few screens set up showing walkthroughs of classic adventure games. The two I saw were Flashback (one of my favourite games) and Little Big Adventure (How could I forget about you, Twinsen!), both of which, I noted, was made by French developers *pushes glasses firmly up nose*.
Alongside a vintage Ghostbusters arcade machine near the upstairs bar, I also liked that at the back of the downstairs section there was a full Rock Band set up complete with every single instrument. On our first visit (of two) a load of Parisians were belting out Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Call Me the Breeze’. Good!
Games available at Reset bar were (that I can remember, at least)
  • Virtua Tennis (Dreamcast)
  • Bomberman
  • SoulCalibur 5 (Xbox 360)
  • Diddy Kong Racing (N64)
  • Goldeneye (N64)
  • Mario Kart (Gamecube, N64 & Super Nintendo)
  • Street Fighter 2 (The fastest version of it that I’ve ever played)
  • Pandora’s Box 3 (in a custom cabinet)
  • Various Atari 2600 games (and many more that I can’t recall, sorry!)
The second day of our stay we did a LOT of walking and ended up in Notre Dame, yes, yes there’s a world-famous Cathedral….but more importantly, there are also a few game stores.

The first one we entered didn’t hold much of interest for us as it had mostly newer games in there but the second one had a ‘junk shop’ feel and we spent a fair bit of time in there, eventually coming away with a few games for the Mega Drive and Master System, which was absolutely fine.
We also found a third store a bit further down the same street which had a CIB version of Soleil for a BARGAIN price. My heart racing, I reached out with a shaky hand to buy it as fast as I could….and realised that it was the German Version (or ‘Allemagne’ as I luckily spotted on a small sticker). Faye is reasonably fluent in French but neither of us has a clue about German, so I left it on the shelf...and sulked.
There are also some chain stores scattered throughout Paris called ‘Micromania’ but these are little more than GAME is in Britain, so we walked in and straight back out of these as it’s basically just a slightly more expensive store for modern games.
Finally, something that Faye spotted on our travels is definitely worth a mention to all the gamers out there. There are loads of small tiled video game characters upon certain walls throughout Paris which we discovered were put up by the street artist ‘Invader’. I vaguely recalled hearing his name in the Banksy film ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ which we’d seen some years previously. It turns out that there’s an app that recognises the artwork that you photograph and gives you points for doing so.
Naturally, Faye got hips deep into this and it added an extra layer of fun to our walks around Paris, she spotted quite a few and apparently there are hundreds more in other worldwide locations…no prizes for guessing on what basis Faye is planning our next holiday…

Right, I’m off to play the gold that we picked up on our travels.


Britt & Faye

No comments:

Post a comment

Like what you see in the Games Freezer?
Why not tell us what you think with a few well-chosen comments? :)

๐ŸŽฎ Featured Posts ๐ŸŽฎ