Super Tomato: Nestled more or less opposite Tesco on Salisbury Road, Super Tomato houses an Aladdin’s cave of retro games, manga, toys and awesome imported action figures from Japan. To further satisfy your inner geek and keep you entertained during term time are a wide range of sparkly electronics and cool gadgets.
As Super Tomato mainly concentrates on retro games and consoles, not surprisingly much of the focus is on Nintendo and their console cold war rival Sega, with everything from the Power Glove to the Sega Mega CD being stocked. There is also room for more obscure and niche machines such as the PC-Engine and Neo Geo, as well as oddities such as Nintendo’s Virtual boy (essentially a 90s version of the 3DS but seemingly designed for the sole purpose of blinding children). For more mainstream tastes they also stock a variety of PlayStation and Xbox games so you can relive how disappointing your childhood was if you didn’t have a Dreamcast or GameCube.
Manga wise they do a big selection ranging from ones about penguin crime fighters from Mars through to the usual 99 million animes about teenage witches and sentient ninja potatoes. Look I don’t know – I don’t read Manga alright?! But there’s a lot of it, so they’re bound to have something you like. They also do western comics and graphic novels for those of you who enjoy pre-emptively ruining every superhero film ever for your housemates.
With a huge selection of imports and UK titles it’s not hard to swoop in and pick up a bargain, especially with games starting as low as 99p. Probably your best bet for a pre-drinks console is an N64 with Goldeneye and Mario Kart while in terms of portables you can’t go wrong with a Game Boy Advance SP and literally any Mario game. Or if you just prefer some no-nonsense arcade style shooting things get a Sega Megadrive and something like Gunstar Heroes or Streets of Rage 2.
Super Tomato Owner Tom Amato (yes really), explained the appeal of his retro game store by saying – “You can walk into HMV or Waterstones and buy a film or book published prior to the last six months. With videogames, there’s no facility to explore the heritage of the medium. Super Tomato offers that resource, in a friendly tactile, tangible environment where browsing and exploration are encouraged.”
– Rolan O’Lorcain
Cardiff Geek Party: Partying and gaming has never really worked in the past (no matter how many times I’ve tried to convince my friends to let me get my Rock Band out at house parties). Fortunately, Cardiff Geek Party have worked out the magical formula to combining both partying and gaming into one simple, yet glorious package. They provide you a unique retro party experience with your personal choice of consoles, handhelds and games. Also included are TV sets, party bags, decorations and cardboard cut-outs of your favourite video game characters. They even deliver to your address and set up the consoles for you.
Feeling the retro vibes but not down to party? That’s fine too! You can rent individual consoles, two controllers, a TV and a few games for £25 per night. You can get a nice selection of consoles that will open up the path to memory lane, including Atari, Sega and PlayStation.
If your craving for nostalgia still isn’t satiated then you can pop down to their shop in the Castle Emporium on Womanby Street (open Thursday – Sunday) and buy as many 80s, 90s and 00s games that you can get your hands on.
Gaming Society: Missing a few soldiers from your squad? In need of fellow adventurers to aid you in your explorations? Or maybe you need a worthy adversary to match your world-class gaming skills? If any of the above applies to you then you should consider joining the gaming society. Every week they hold a casual gaming event where you can take your laptop and game to your heart’s content. The deal is sweetened even more with the addition of pizza and usually a rendezvous at the pub afterwards. If you’re good enough then you can compete in the eSports varsity and go head to head with our bitter rivals: Swansea University.
– Saman Izadyar @SamanIzadyar