Retro gamers turn back hands of time

Ronnie Marks, eight, left, from Cosham enjoys a game with Lennon Wearn, nine, from Wymering

Picture: Malcolm Wells (170420-1120)
Ronnie Marks, eight, left, from Cosham enjoys a game with Lennon Wearn, nine, from Wymering Picture: Malcolm Wells (170420-1120)

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GAMERS came out in force to take part in a retro games day at a church.

More than 150 people played games such as Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and Worms at St Peter and St Paul’s church in Medina Lane, Wymering.

From left, organiser Jamie Barnes, 42, with regular church-goers Barbara Bowers, 74, and Gillian Coles, 79

Picture: Malcolm Wells (170420-1129)

From left, organiser Jamie Barnes, 42, with regular church-goers Barbara Bowers, 74, and Gillian Coles, 79 Picture: Malcolm Wells (170420-1129)

Jamie Barnes, 42, an NHS theatre assistant from Portsmouth, volunteered to organise the retro games day in aid of charity.

The event – called Saint Games Day – took place over 12 hours on Thursday and saw families of all ages pay £5 for three hours to play on the multitude of games consoles available, as well as have access to the cafe in the church hall.

Some of the consoles provided were PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4, XBOX 360, Wii, Sega Mega Drive and a Virtual Reality headset.

Jamie and his team of six volunteers said they were pleased to see an exceptional turn-out of more than 150 people of all ages and backgrounds.

Jamie said: ‘Our doors were open to anyone, there’s no age limit, anyone and everyone was welcome.’

Portsmouth’s Lord Mayor David Fuller paid the event a visit and played some of the games.

He said: ‘I went along not really knowing what to expect. The great thing I noticed about the day was the brilliant community spirit.

‘Everyone was joining in, it was such a marvellous idea. The people who run it are brilliant.

‘An event like this is nice as it allows families who perhaps can’t afford these devices a chance to experience them, and I thought the event was very good value for money.’

The retro games day and cafe raised more than £500 in just one day.

Jamie said: ‘We’ll reinvest into the church and charities and give something back to the people who helped us.’

Jamie added: ‘This whole experience is very emotional, seeing people engaging like this. We didn’t have any trouble, any tantrums... everyone engaged so well and that’s what I want for this community.’

The event was promoting the IT walk-in workshop held at the church on Mondays and Fridays at 10am until 2pm.

Jamie got in touch with Game Over and Game On in Portsmouth and asked for help with donations. He was delighted that both companies offered to help.

Jamie said: ‘The amount of yesses I got was unbelievable.’

Due to the success, Jamie is thinking about doing more of these game days over the summer.

To get involved with Jamie’s game days and cafe, donate or book for his services email saintgamesplay@gmail.com.