Autistic Portsmouth man realises life-long dream by opening retro gaming centre

AN AUTISTIC Portsmouth man has realised his life-long dream by setting up a new game centre open to all.

By Ana Cazan
Saturday, 29th January 2022, 4:55 am

Ben Snook, 27, from Cosham is excited to welcome customers to Retro Gaming when it opens to the public on February 5 – a venture that was made possible after inheriting money from his grandad.

The gaming centre, which can be found on Cosham High Street, offers a range of video games as well as classic board games.

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Ben Snook at Retro Gameplay in Cosham Picture: Habibur Rahman

Ben’s mum Jo Barrett, who will help him run the site, said: ‘People on the autistic spectrum tend to develop a passion, and Ben’s is video-gaming and dinosaurs.

‘That is one thing that Ben really enjoyed and has helped him socially.’

She said Ben had struggled to finding a job his whole adult life as he couldn’t get past the interview processes, due to being on the autism spectrum.

‘He is part of a board gaming network; they get together and play dungeons and dragons and other strategy games,’ she added.

Ben Snook and his mum Jo Barrett Picture: Habibur Rahman

Ben and Jo’s vision was to create a space for people to socialise and have a good time, a space to ‘unplug from the internet’. So there is also a board game room, for people that want to get away from a screen, with games such as Hungry Hippos and Jenga.

And customers can expect games going back to the early 80s into the 90s from Atari game consoles to PlayStation, Sega Mega Drive, Wii, Nintendo 64, Xbox, and Wii.

To visit it costs £5 for a single gamer session during the week, and £7 on the weekend, with discounts for groups and families.

Retro Gameplay in Cosham Picture: Habibur Rahman

They will also do special offers for community groups, and the home-schooling community has reached out to them to help home-schooled children socialise They are also hoping to have a few sessions for the scouts.

Jo added: ‘We are not in it for massive profits.

‘Having a fun time with your mates is what it’s all about.’

To visit the centre on opening day go to Retro Gaming at 58D Cosham High Street on February 5 from 11am.

Ben Snook, with the help of his mum Jo Barrett, will be opening a gaming centre in Cosham high street, Portsmouth Pictured: GV of Retro Gameplay, Cosham, Portsmouth on Wednesday 26 January 2022 Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Retro Gameplay in Cosham Picture: Habibur Rahman