Gaming culture and Amsterdam aren’t two things that were traditionally coupled together. In the past, video gaming – and its community – was mostly associated with the US, Japan or the UK, leaving little room for their European brethren. All that is changing, and Amsterdam is one of the cities that’s leading the charge. The days of gamers as nerds, dweebs and geeks are becoming a thing of the past. Gaming is all but fully accepted in today’s society, and it’s amazing. Amsterdam has fully embraced the industry, and it shows. Here are just a few reasons why Amsterdam is one of gaming’s most promising up-and-coming hotspots.
Amsterdam’s TonTon Club
“Just one more go,” said every kid to ever set foot in an arcade. I miss that feeling ever-so-impulsive feeling, and so do many others across Amsterdam, which is why TonTon Club is doing remarkably well with its two Amsterdam-based locations. You can sip on a beer while playing all your favourite arcade classics, including Mortal Kombat, Dance Dance Revolution, Mario Kart: Arcade GP, movie-based pinball machines and much, much more. There are also more hands-on classics, such as air hockey, claw machines and ticket-churning redemption games – complete with prizes that you can exchange your tickets for. I can almost taste the nostalgia! Where TonTon Club really mixes things up is with its unique takes on classic games: there’s hectic 360-degree ping pong, Jägermeister crane and whack-a-mole games, blacklight air hockey and many other zany twists on traditional games – perfect for adding a new flair to some of those classic gaming memories. There’s also burgers, hotdogs and a selection of drinks to fuel your gaming.
Amsterdam: A gaming hub for international companies
You might not know it, but some of the biggest players – no pun intended – in the gaming industry are based in Amsterdam. This is because the city is well-connected geographically and in terms of its infrastructure; it’s super-innovative technologically too, which definitely doesn’t hurt. Activision-Blizzard, known for creating gaming phenomena such as Destiny, Overwatch and Call of Duty, have an office in the Dutch capital. There’s also mobile-phone-gaming aficionados King’s Lane and Rough Cookie, and the recently virtual-reality-only Vanguard Entertainment (more on virtual reality later.) The crowned gaming jewel of Amsterdam is Guerrilla Games, whose main office is based on Amsterdam’s iconic Herengracht. The studio is currently in the middle of developing action role-playing game Horizon Zero Dawn. The game is on most gaming outlets’ most anticipated lists and has been previewing insanely well, so this game is due to solidify gaming’s strong presence in Amsterdam.
The Arcade Hotel
If you’re a fan of retro gaming and you’re visiting Amsterdam, you can’t go far wrong the Arcade Hotel. Based in the sought-after De Pijp area of Amsterdam, it was the first gaming-centric hotel in the world. Each room is fitted with a TV and retro game console for you to game on, with a wide selection of consoles and games available to rent at the front desk – from Ms. Pac Man on the Atari 2600 to GoldenEye on the N64, the Gaming Hotel has your retro-gaming needs covered. That’s not all though: there’s also a comic book library, bike rental and a selection of international food and drink available, and the hotel hosts a range of gaming competitions and events to boot. Game on!
VR in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a hotbed for one of the most promising pieces of tech of the 21st century: virtual reality (VR). Jaunt Inc., an award-winning developer of VR hardware and software, recently opened an office in Amsterdam, and cofounder and interim CEO Arthur van Hoff had this to say: “As a truly international city, Amsterdam is a hotbed for engineers and developers known for pushing the boundaries of technology.” He couldn’t be more right; thanks to Amsterdam’s VRBase – a scheme to help speed up the growth of VR startups – and the Force Field VR School – a collaboration with Hogeschool van Amsterdam that aims to train 20 VR hopefuls each year. If you want to work in VR, locating to Amsterdam looks like a safe bet.