A Video Game Lover's Guide to Amsterdam

Mike Driver / © Culture Trip
Mike Driver / © Culture Trip
Photo of Tom Coggins
9 March 2018

There is much more to Amsterdam than museums, canals and coffeeshops and, if you know where to look, there are plenty of alternative places to explore which pander to geekier sensibilities. Apart from the city’s comic-book stores, Amsterdam also contains numerous establishments centered around video games, including a gaming-themed hotel and two arcades that feature classic 1990s coin-op machines.

Where to stay

Obviously there are hundreds of hotels and hostels to choose from in central Amsterdam, but there is only one establishment in the city that caters specifically to passionate video gamers: The Arcade Hotel. This cozy hotel keeps an impressive selection of vintage and modern video games behind its front desk, all of which are available for hire. These disks and cartridges include games from Nintendo, Sony, Atari, and Microsoft, meaning that most major consoles from the past 30 years are well represented. Besides video games, Arcade Hotel also offers a mouthwatering array of Canadian delicacies, such as classic Bloody Caesar cocktails and delicious poutine.

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Video games and Bloody Caesars at the Arcade Hotel | © The Arcade Hotel Amsterdam 2016

Where to find modern video games

Although central Amsterdam isn’t the best place to find modern video games, most of the city’s outer neighborhoods contain at least one distributor. In fact, Amsterdam contains several franchised outlets that have numerous stores throughout the city. The main companies to look out for are Game Mania and CeX – both of which sell brand-new and pre-owned contemporary video games. Besides these larger businesses, gamers can also check out Next-Level, a well-established store run by a team of locals in Amsterdam-West.

The gaming control to control all games | © Mack Male / Flickr

Where to find retro video games

While most video game stores in Amsterdam have at least a small selection of older titles, Game Over? is undoubtedly the best place in the city to pick up vintage classics. The store is located on a small side street that looks directly onto Centraal Station, called Hasselaerssteeg, and contains a massive selection of vintage gaming gear that dates back to the 1970s. The store has serious credibility among gaming fans and always has an impressive stockpile of superbly preserved electronic merchandise.

Where to play video games

For obvious reasons, finding a place to actually play video games while abroad can be quite tricky. Fortunately for gamers in Amsterdam, the city is blessed with two fantastic arcades, both of which are owned and operated by TonTon Club. Each of these arcades is fully equipped with classic coin-op machines that hark back to a time when computer graphics were pixelated, and glorious. Iconic titles such as Time Crisis II, House of the Dead and Metal Slug can be found at TonTon Club’s Westerpark and Centrum locations, and can be enjoyed alongside a round of international beers.

Coin-op arcade games | © Thom van Boheemen / TonTon Club

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