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Great thread. We used to have three in Walsall - MAD Computers in Station St, Software Horizons in Goodall St, then Comptazia in the Victorian Arcade. I think SH lasted the longest of any of them - can't recall when MAD went down despite me actually hanging out there nearly constantly from 87-90. Pretty sure it went in 1991.

SH was always a pokey kind of place, with a set of stairs right through the middle of the store. They were good for offers, and often had a release of the week for a much reduced price. I remember a guy I knew getting Paperboy for £5.95 (rrp £7.95!). What was bizarre though, was one of the owners, who often dressed as a woman - complete with stubble.

I hung in MAD with a group of mates - mainly during the ST/Amiga period. We got to play all the new games as soon as they arrived (the place had a private back room in which we had an ST set up) and while we never pirated anything from the store, we came across a lot of pirated stuff through people who frequented the place. On a Wednesday we'd pack up the ST (which belonged to a guy who worked there, on and off) and go to a local school who ran a computer club (which was actually a huge weekly copy-party). Come back in on Thursday and we'd distribute all the new games we'd got the night before. We helped kill the Amiga :(

Comptazia showed up in maybe 1988, and was seen as direct competition to MAD. Software Horizons were a bit more out of the way but Comptazia where bang in the middle of town. Some cheap prices as well and it was the first place I got to see Shadow Warriors running on the Amiga. We got on well with the guys there and often went in with the latest megademos.

Really, really fond times. Everything was so much simpler, the games better and the people nicer. /rosetint

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I used to go into Colchester Computer Centre and ogle at the Amiga and Atari games upstairs for the systems I didn't own. I did buy a few Amstrad CPC games from there though. I'd forgotten it becoming a Tiny store, but it rings a bell now you mention it. I think it's a nail bar now. I'm pretty sure they moved premises. There's a shop called Colchester Computer & Repair Centre in Greenstead that's apparently been in business for 25 years, so would fit the bill, but I'm not entirely sure they're one and the same thing. They probably won't be selling Milk Race and Feud on the Speccy in those swinging door displays anymore if it is.

The shop down Red Lion Walk was called Interactive Consoles. It was there since the early 90s and did indeed pack the amazing array you mention. They even had a Neo Geo arcade cabinet in there at one point. It was owned by a Mr Mattucci at one point (I don't remember his first name) but then seemingly taken over (or at least run) by another asian guy that's now running a newsagent near Queen Street. He sold the business (I remember the premises and stock being advertised as a whole) to a couple. Presumably that didn't work out well because it eventually closed a few years ago. (I think it was near 4 than 5 years).

Fun fact: I did a week of work experience at Interactive for school. It was supposed to be two weeks but my inability to talk to people particularly well worked against me and he told me he didn't think it was working out. :-| To be honest the place was too small for 3 people to be serving and I hated "badgering" customers asking if they needed anything because I hate staff who do the same thing. I think it was the week before the N64 price cut because I remember selling a few that week in full knowledge that it was going to be cheaper a week later. The other person that was working there (Gavin) was working in the Orange shop for a while. I haven't poked my head in there for ages to know if he's still around though.

I can't help with the other one unfortunately. I never used to venture outside of the town centre at the time it would have been around.

Yes- Colchester Computer Centre moved around the corner into that little alley where Time Records used to be, for the last few years of its life before it became Tiny, if I remember right. It had been nothing more than a bog standard PC reseller for years by that point though.

I'd forgotten about the upstairs bit too! For a few years (before the move) that bit became a kind of retro Aladdin's cave , I remember seeing all sorts of oddities like QLs and Acorn Electrons up there, during the time when downstairs was just PCs (486/ early Pentium era... I think). And shelves and shelves of old games. Kind of before retro took off as well so a bit unusual.

Interactive Consoles! That was the one. I remember the Asian guy, didn't know he was still around, might have to have a look in that newsagents next time I'm around and see if I recognise him.

I'd love it if someone else remembers the one by North Station.

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Yes- Colchester Computer Centre moved around the corner into that little alley where Time Records used to be, for the last few years of its life before it became Tiny, if I remember right. It had been nothing more than a bog standard PC reseller for years by that point though.

I'd forgotten about the upstairs bit too! For a few years (before the move) that bit became a kind of retro Aladdin's cave , I remember seeing all sorts of oddities like QLs and Acorn Electrons up there, during the time when downstairs was just PCs (486/ early Pentium era... I think). And shelves and shelves of old games. Kind of before retro took off as well so a bit unusual.

Interactive Consoles! That was the one. I remember the Asian guy, didn't know he was still around, might have to have a look in that newsagents next time I'm around and see if I recognise him.

I'd love it if someone else remembers the one by North Station.

Did it? I don't remember that at all. Despite not actually leaving the area, my knowledge of what used to be in Colchester has gone a bit rusty. I wonder what happened to all the stock. They could have probably done a trade in retro games if they'd hung onto them. Actually... I've just remembered there used to be a software place almost opposite to Time Records. It wasn't an indie though as there used to be one in Chelmsford too. I can't remember the name of it but I think it had a black and yellow logo (something like Software Plus I think). I remember looking at PC games in there for a 286 I acquired n the mid 90s (I was always at the forefront of computing technology in my childhood). There was a Lucasarts compilation I wanted to buy, but I don't think all the games ran in EGA. The only other thing I remember about the shop was that they apparently copied Amiga games out the back and sold them off at a cheaper price. It was in the unit that's now a Western Union store. It used to be Priory News at one point, but was empty for ages.

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Did it? I don't remember that at all. Despite not actually leaving the area, my knowledge of what used to be in Colchester has gone a bit rusty. I wonder what happened to all the stock. They could have probably done a trade in retro games if they'd hung onto them. Actually... I've just remembered there used to be a software place almost opposite to Time Records. It wasn't an indie though as there used to be one in Chelmsford too. I can't remember the name of it but I think it had a black and yellow logo (something like Software Plus I think). I remember looking at PC games in there for a 286 I acquired n the mid 90s (I was always at the forefront of computing technology in my childhood). There was a Lucasarts compilation I wanted to buy, but I don't think all the games ran in EGA. The only other thing I remember about the shop was that they apparently copied Amiga games out the back and sold them off at a cheaper price. It was in the unit that's now a Western Union store. It used to be Priory News at one point, but was empty for ages.

I'd completely forgotten about that one as well! I bought a few games from them, the last one I remember was Mortal Kombat 3 for the PC.

They sold public domain games in there - they would run copies off for you - didn't ever know they would copy commercial games though, but I suppose it would make sense that they might do this for customers they knew well.

The Colchester Computer Centre/Tiny shop was on the same side of the street, on the other end of the Sainsburys from Software Plus (if that's what it was called - rings a vague bell so it probably was). It might be a charity bookshop now? or a health food shop ... one of them ...

I don't think the retro upstairs bit of CCC lasted long - I remember it was there when I was at the 6th form college so 94- 96 sort of time. Then the shop moved round the corner. Trying to remember what else I saw in there - fairly sure they had Archimedes and Sam Coupes and fairly quirky things like that.

I should put an "if I remember correctly" disclaimer on all of this, as my memory is a bit rusty too.

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Im pretty sure That's Entertainment has shut in Lakeside Thurrock. Has been there for at least ten years if not more. It was always a shop i liked going in as whilst they stocked the latest games they had a large retro selection filled with all sorts of random stuff. The prices were reasonable too so the stock was always changing and there wasn't shelves filled with Fifa 97. They also sold odd things from plushies to 3rd party controllers so you'd always find the odd random thing in there like Saturn Memory cards.

Its a shame its gone, the Romford Market stall store is still there but thats past its former glories. They only stock the latest stuff, generally at GAME or even higher prices and have a retro collection that doesn't really go past the Xbox generation and even then its not anything too desirable. I think they do a roaring trade in yuguio (how ever you spell that) cards as they have a counter full of them. But gone are the days where they had all the consoles powered on, high up on shelves playing the demo attracts.

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I'd completely forgotten about that one as well! I bought a few games from them, the last one I remember was Mortal Kombat 3 for the PC.

They sold public domain games in there - they would run copies off for you - didn't ever know they would copy commercial games though, but I suppose it would make sense that they might do this for customers they knew well.

The Colchester Computer Centre/Tiny shop was on the same side of the street, on the other end of the Sainsburys from Software Plus (if that's what it was called - rings a vague bell so it probably was). It might be a charity bookshop now? or a health food shop ... one of them ...

I don't think the retro upstairs bit of CCC lasted long - I remember it was there when I was at the 6th form college so 94- 96 sort of time. Then the shop moved round the corner. Trying to remember what else I saw in there - fairly sure they had Archimedes and Sam Coupes and fairly quirky things like that.

I should put an "if I remember correctly" disclaimer on all of this, as my memory is a bit rusty too.

I only know about the Amiga games being copied because my god father told me and my dad that's where he got them from. There and car boot sales. I don't actually ever remember seeing a retail copy of an Amiga in their house. I don't remember CCC being down that street so I either didn't know about or have decided to erase it from my memory. :s The unit it was in could be anything; nothing seems to last long down there these days. They definitely had an Archimedes in there; it was the only place other than my primary school where I'd seen one. I know they had a rather obscure range of other computers running in there, but I didn't pay enough attention to them at the time to know for sure what they were.

Im pretty sure That's Entertainment has shut in Lakeside Thurrock. Has been there for at least ten years if not more. It was always a shop i liked going in as whilst they stocked the latest games they had a large retro selection filled with all sorts of random stuff. The prices were reasonable too so the stock was always changing and there wasn't shelves filled with Fifa 97. They also sold odd things from plushies to 3rd party controllers so you'd always find the odd random thing in there like Saturn Memory cards.

Its a shame its gone, the Romford Market stall store is still there but thats past its former glories. They only stock the latest stuff, generally at GAME or even higher prices and have a retro collection that doesn't really go past the Xbox generation and even then its not anything too desirable. I think they do a roaring trade in yuguio (how ever you spell that) cards as they have a counter full of them. But gone are the days where they had all the consoles powered on, high up on shelves playing the demo attracts.

I only remember going in there on a couple of occasions, but I have quite a fond memory of That's Entertainment. It was the only place other than Interactive Consoles that I knew of that were selling new Game Gear games at the end of its life. Not that I ever bought them from there as I always got them through mail order, but it was nice to actually see a box of Virtua Fighter or Mortal Kombat 3. It's a shame that it's gone now if that's the case.

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Oh and Charlies game are fucking crap, worst modders of consoles, biggest bullshitters ever, highest opinion of themselves possible.

I'm aware this reply is eight years later, but I take it you dealt with Craig back then. Bigggest bullshitter of all time.

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Kart Club in Aldershot.

Friendly staff, loads of rare games and being able to get new releases before their official street date. I have lots of fond childhood memories with me and my brother going there every saturday.

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Microsonic in Ipswich, used to be down the Norwich Road, think it lasted from about '94 up until 2001/02 ish, before that, it was called "Games R us" and was a market stall in Felixstowe, after the guy gave up the shop, he tried markets again, but I guess a stall called "Electronic Junkie" probably wasn't too family friendly ;p

Mike..

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Microsonic in Ipswich, used to be down the Norwich Road, think it lasted from about '94 up until 2001/02 ish, before that, it was called "Games R us" and was a market stall in Felixstowe, after the guy gave up the shop, he tried markets again, but I guess a stall called "Electronic Junkie" probably wasn't too family friendly ;p

Mike..

Before that there was Bits 'n' Bytes - where I got my Amiga from !

It was on that short street leading from the high street to where the Buttermarket is now, then it moved into the Buttermarket where, in common with most of these shops, it eventually became a bog standard PC retailer and then got closed down when PC World took over.

I think that was a small chain as well, maybe one in Norwich too from what I remember?

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Before that there was Bits 'n' Bytes - where I got my Amiga from !

It was on that short street leading from the high street to where the Buttermarket is now, then it moved into the Buttermarket where, in common with most of these shops, it eventually became a bog standard PC retailer and then got closed down when PC World took over.

I think that was a small chain as well, maybe one in Norwich too from what I remember?

I remember Bits n' Bytes as well, it was next to a jewellers (which is still there) and has since become a snadwich shop, delicatessen and several other things.

Distinctly remember playing "Ghoul Patrol" on the Snes on Import in there back in the day.

Ipswich used to be pretty good for games, you had Bits n bytes, Boot's, WH Smith, Andys records, Woolworths, Owen Owen (in the Buttermarket, I got Rival Turf from there :P), Blockbuster video, Dixons, Curry's, Microsonic and "The Computer Shop" on the opposite corner.

Later on, HMV and Virgin would join the fray, but many of the others had fallen by the wayside by then, and now it's just multi's in the town and they are all over priced / shit.

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  • 7 years later...

This is a brilliant thread.
I remember the Colchester Computer Centre, where it was on the corner of Long Wyre Street. I used to go in there to look upstairs at the baskets of old C64 games and programs. I even bought a Windows 98 PC there. The bloke who owned and ran it I think lived on Welshwood Park Road on the edge of Colchester. The company van was parked there a lot at any rate. The shop moved to various places in town, but the last time I saw it functioning, it was in a warehouse down by the Hythe, near the level crossing at the back of Tescos.

 

I remember going to WH Smiths back in the day and buying Continental Circus for the C64. Took the box to the counter and someone took it out the back to copy a fresh tape. Had to wait while it was being done. The tape was white, officially branded with the game title printed on it - it wasn't a blank TDK or something. Was told it was some sort of anti-theft procedure so people couldn't just nick the games off the shelves (the boxes were largely empty anyway), and so they could test to see if it was working if need be. Weird.

I also remember Interactive Consoles. Tiny place but they always seemed to have the latest stuff. That was where the cool kids went. I bought my copy of Championship Manager 99/00 from there the day it was released, then rushed home to play it on my Windows 98 machine. I think I got CM3 from there too a year earlier. If I recall, they used to put a lot of the newest boxed game titles on the shelf above the counter behind the bloke serving, who was always far too over friendly and trying to get you to buy something.

Cash Converters, when it was on Crouch Street used to be a good place to pick up retro stuff. I bought a megadrive from there in 1996 for £20, and C64 in 1997 for £10. Could you imagine that now, what with the price of old computers and consoles today?

Does anyone remember the place on the corner at the end of of Crouch Street, where Tescos Express is now? It was called Titles I think, before it became a Blockbuster(?) or something generic and then eventually Tescos. It seemed massive - went back a long way, and had a considerable amount of Amiga, Atari ST and PC games. I bought a few games from there. I'd love to go in there today and ask one of the Tescos staff where in store their copy of Cannon Fodder for Amiga was located!

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  • 3 months later...

Did anyone buy import consoles in their local indie shops?  I lived near Stoke in the early 90s and visited Console Concepts in Hanley. I remember seeing a Neo Geo in action and have a vague memory of seeing various PC Engine game boxes at the back of the shop (which was a rather smelly cellar underneath a carpet shop for the most part). I didn't take much interest at the time, since it seemed to expensive at the time, but wish I'd bought one now.

 

I was an Amiga fan during the late 90s and often had to visit tiny shops around the country to buy supplies. I remember walking around Burton-on-Trent to find a shop that sold a Zappo CD-ROM drive, and visiting Visage Computers in ilkeston to buy my accelerator and hard drive.

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For anyone Glasgow way, the guy that attends a lot of the gaming fairs ‘Allan’s Japanese Retro Games’ is opening a shop.

 

He’s got a load of swag and has arcade machines in the mix

 

 

C7DE5826-7DBB-40CB-AA8B-A45D5F1A3F3B.jpeg

F584856D-CF85-4304-AB9E-71C830183CDF.jpeg

BED8B2DF-8990-4CC8-825B-120FD9758ACC.jpeg

FF273089-5083-4D6F-B336-3E26F46D6E37.jpeg

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On 20/10/2020 at 15:46, Goemon said:

For anyone Glasgow way, the guy that attends a lot of the gaming fairs ‘Allan’s Japanese Retro Games’ is opening a shop.

 

He’s got a load of swag and has arcade machines in the mix

 

 

C7DE5826-7DBB-40CB-AA8B-A45D5F1A3F3B.jpeg

F584856D-CF85-4304-AB9E-71C830183CDF.jpeg

BED8B2DF-8990-4CC8-825B-120FD9758ACC.jpeg

FF273089-5083-4D6F-B336-3E26F46D6E37.jpeg


again, for those interested, this shop is now open

 

Shop address is - 

Forgotten Worlds
Unit 23, Magbiehill Park
Dunlop Road
Stewarton
KA3 3DX

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On 20/10/2020 at 14:04, knightbeat said:

Did anyone buy import consoles in their local indie shops?  I lived near Stoke in the early 90s and visited Console Concepts in Hanley. I remember seeing a Neo Geo in action and have a vague memory of seeing various PC Engine game boxes at the back of the shop (which was a rather smelly cellar underneath a carpet shop for the most part). I didn't take much interest at the time, since it seemed to expensive at the time, but wish I'd bought one now.

 

I was an Amiga fan during the late 90s and often had to visit tiny shops around the country to buy supplies. I remember walking around Burton-on-Trent to find a shop that sold a Zappo CD-ROM drive, and visiting Visage Computers in ilkeston to buy my accelerator and hard drive.

Delayed reply as I didn't notice this before ...

I remember Titles(?) but don't remember it selling Amiga games, I remember it as a massive video rental shop. I used to kill time in there after sixth form waiting for my friends to get into town so we could get pissed in Castle Park on Tudor Rose sherry. 

 

There's a tiny little shop tucked away in an industrial unit on Magdalene Street now (or there was a couple of years back) selling PC components and GPUs and what have you. I wonder if that is the remains of Colchester Computer Center. 

 

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