Underground Gaming Gem: NQ64

Despite living in Manchester my entire life and being of drinking age for 6 years now, I could probably count the amount of Northern Quarter bars I’ve visited on one hand. Ah, the tribulations of being a poor student. However, last night I visited the recently opened NQ64 bar which is hidden away between the Short Street entrance of Afflecks Palace and next door to Crazy Pedro’s NQ for one of my closest friend’s birthday celebrations (Happy birthday Georgia!) and I thought I’d share what I loved about the nostalgic, underground bar. 🕹️

As you walk down the stairs you are immediately greeted with the vibrant, neon lights and nostalgic, arcade noises underneath the hip-hop music playing across the bar – a lot of beloved classics played throughout my night including Stan by Eminem and of course, Ludacris’s Move Bitch. A completely on point soundtrack for playing Mario Kart on the SNES.

NQ64 opened a month or two ago and it has definitely become a popular space for both gamers and non-gamers as the place was very busy and bustling, however the rule of ‘no game hogging’ seemed like a non-spoken manner that everybody abided which was nice. It wasn’t difficult at all to try out different games throughout the night with nobody spending too long on one thing. Throughout the night I got to play Street Fighter (which I sucked at), Space Invaders, Golden Axe, Mario Kart, Spiderman Pinball and Guitar Hero Arcade (which I thought I was decent at, until I came back later to go against a friend and realised I sucked if you put the difficulty any higher than easy, oops.) But there was tons of more consoles and arcade machines to try – even one in the ladies toilets! 👾

Sick bar wall!

The drinks menu at the bar was really cool – with Camden Pale on draught and a lot to choose from on the board behind the bar if you fancied anything specific but the real thing that sets NQ64 apart from other bars in Northern Quarter, for me anyways, is it’s game-themed cocktail menu. I went in to the night, personally deciding I’d try and stick to just one cocktail to save money, went away having tried at least 3 of the £8 cocktails. RIP bank account. I tried their ‘Root Beer Tapper’ and ‘Bubble Bubble’ but my absolute favourite was their ‘Dig Dug’ cocktail. Absolutely deeeeelicious. It just tasted like Irn Bru with a slight tequila tinge which is a dangerous game for me and cocktails! At least with some alcoholic drinks, you drink them slowly because your tastebuds are very aware it’s alcoholic and it doesn’t taste more-ish but the Dig Dug did. I finished my first one so quick because it was just so tasty! At £8 for all their cocktails though, if you want to save money try and not storm through your first drink or you’ll find yourself spending a lot of cash.

Overall I absolutely can’t wait to revisit NQ64 and I will be recommending it to a lot of friends. The atmosphere is great and nostalgic and the drinks are not to be turned down. I would quite like to see a mocktail maybe at a pound or two cheaper for people who do not drink but I imagine you can buy a glass of lemonade or root beer alone if you asked! £8 for their amazing cocktails though is standard Northern Quarter price I’d say though so if you plan to visit NQ and you’re open to paying the NQ price – visit NQ64 solely for the retro nostalgia trip.

Find out more at NQ64.co.uk 👽

Sometimes being selfish makes me feel good

This post is probably more of a personal, ‘what I did today’ blog post than anything else. Lately in the run up to Christmas I think everyone’s getting a little more stressed and retail is probably not the most favourable place to work right now. Although I must say having little old ladies and men go ‘are they making you work Christmas Eve?!? bless you, you poor thing’ is kind of endearing – to which I halfheartedly laugh and go ‘Aw I know’, don’t think they’d bless me as much if I told them I said I’d work Christmas Eve if I could have New Years off so I can stay at home hungover..

But yeah today has been an up and down kind of day. I definitely started today off on a positive note – my UCAS application is almost sent off! I finished my personal statement and got it double checked at my old college (shout-out to Trafford College, my rights as a student to get help with University applications lasts up to 3 years after leaving!), paid for the choices and now I just await my tutor to attach a reference and off it goes! I’m feeling extremely excited about it.

Then at work I did get a slight bollocking about ‘wandering off’, when really I had gone to help on a department that had no staff. I thought I was taking the initiative and doing something that would be helpful to the rest of the store/staff but alas. I’ve never been good with being shouted at, especially in front of peers, so that did put a downer on my day.

So after work tonight when I went Christmas shopping with my mother – I decided to be selfish and treat myself. It’s very fulfilling ‘treating yourself’, even if it’s short lived. I do recommend having ‘treat yo self’ moments. Obviously not everytime can be self indulgent purchases BUT, you can try things like bubble baths, treating yourself to chocolate/cakes, watching your favourite movie, buying yourself some takeout – even I class having naps as treating myself after a long day cause it just relaxes me so much. Naps always give me a bit of an energy lift because I get so cranky when I’m tired.

Photo 08-10-2015, 18 04 46.jpg
Bubble baths are great for de-stressing

But yeah I went and got myself… (drum roll) ANIMAL CROSSING HAPPY HOME DESIGNER!

File 22-12-2015, 11 10 51 p.m..jpeg
Please excuse the bright pink pj bottoms…

It’s been so long since I treated myself to a video game; considering they are one of my favourite things. I’ve heard good things about this spin off and Animal Crossing is one of the most relaxing games I’ve ever played. I can’t wait to play it.

I also got myself a big ass jumper. Or in a less sweary description – a men’s medium size cream jumper from Tesco’s. I love getting men’s jumpers because they just seem so much more thick and baggy than womens. I do love the designs and cuteness of women’s jumpers but sometimes I can’t take the ‘fitted’ design. I look good in them in the daytime and then after eating or drinking, the fitted bit tugs over my little food belly and I feel so uncomfortable. Sad face.

But yeah! Always take time in a week to self care and treat yourself! I hope everyone else is having a good week in the run up to Christmas.

tumblr_static_8s9h73t2ay4okco80gwcc800w

Thanks for reading!
Helena x x

 

Some of my favourite video game ladies!

So today I joined the absolutely lovely Jemma‘s twitter ‘Girl Gang’ group and am absolutely chuffed and excited to be involved in a great idea that will bring girl bloggers together to unite, discuss and make friendships! Definitely go and check out Jemma’s blog at www.dorkface.co.uk!

On the subject of awesome, empowering girls I decided to make a post about one of my favourite mediums and the characters I love! I feel like I may accidentally miss out some of them and they’re in no particular order, so definitely comment any characters you think are honourable mentions!

IMG_4126
Elizabeth Comstock – Bioshock Infinite

Ah, my sweet, dear Elizabeth. Definitely a character I knew I was going to love and appreciate when I first watched the past E3 demos of Bioshock Infinite. The Bioshock series is one of my favourite game series and even though out of all the editions to the series, Infinite has it’s flaws and I believe they may of somewhat held Elizabeth’s involvement in mechanics back a bit, I absolutely love her. You’re introduced to her as your typical Disney princess in a castle trapped from the big world with the naivety of what is out there. She sits in her rooms reading and makes tears to see Paris. She dreams of the big, wild world but is not entirely sure of what the plans her father, Comstock, dictates for her future. But soon she helps the protagonist Booker make his way through Columbia trying to figure out why she was trapped in her ‘towers’ with her powers and her amazing knowledge. She is such a strong, intelligent character and I think it is great that Irrational made her the playable character in chapter two of Burial At Sea.

11999939_10206535764664554_1678565677_n.jpg
Tetra from The Legend of Zelda

Admittedly, I have still not finished Wind Waker, which I am ashamed to say because it’s such an amazing looking game and the art style is so lovely and inspiring. If I was to ever be able to 3D model and texture in a style similar I’d be so happy. However Tetra had to make my list because she is a character I also fell in love with straight away when playing. She is very outspoken and her devilish smirk is adorable. I can’t wait to continue playing and see how her story develops.

webcam-toy-photo5
Chie Satonaka from Persona 4

Persona 4 is my favourite game of all time. I cannot recommend it enough and you’re damn right if you think I’ll probably make a Persona 5 review when it comes out. Chie is a ‘tomboy’ish girl from a small town called Inaba with a love for kung-fu, red meat and fighting for justice alongside her friends. Before gaining her ‘persona’, Chie has an inferiority complex towards her childhood best friend Yukiko and feels that she is not feminine enough to fit in at school and is jealous of all the attention Yukiko recieves. This then stems for her to internally gain satisfaction from Yukiko’s need to rely on Chie for confidence and support. Chie finally confronts her ‘shadow’ (the manifestation of these internal feelings) and overcomes them whilst gaining confidence and knowing she should not compare herself to her best friend and has her own strengths. Chie is an incredibly admirable character and also extremely funny and adorable and I loved following her stories in Persona 4.

Pizza-Hut-Thin-N-Crispy-Veggie-Lovers-Pizza-09-pg-full
Junko Enoshima from Dangan Ronpa (WARNING: Spoilers Ahead)

Now Junko is hardly a character to look up to and class as a role model. Considering she murders a lot of people, manipulates classmates into murdering other people and each other in a game of life or death and basically causes the destruction of mankind. But she is so well written and such a unique character that I am drawn to her and just had to put her on this list. It’s been a while since I played Dangan Ronpa or Super Dangan Ronpa 2 but she is an extremely intelligent villain that creates her plan for the ‘despair of mankind’ purely for despair. Not in revenge, not over other characters. She’s just cold-blooded and thrives off despair. She even owns up as a ‘loser’ to her own game at the end of game one and takes part in an execution because she is so full of energy from the despair. She’s a mad and interesting character and you won’t find another character exactly like her.

Some honourable mentions also include Snow White from The Wolf Among Us, Ellie from The Last Of Us, Mikan Tsumiki from Super Dangan Ronpa 2, Nami from Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life and Cassandra from Dragon Age Inquisition.

What female video characters do you love? Have a comment below!

Helena x x