Most gamers will recognise the struggle that is balancing the need to be social and gaming alone, right? We know we should go out for drinks, but that new game we just bought  continues to beckon. So, what about a local cafe that combines both? A chill atmosphere with drinks and food, and most importantly, free games. Located on the sea front, just past The Sea Life Centre, is C:\ Side Quest, a gaming cafe and the place to be for chill Friday nights, Mario Kart tournaments and some of the best vegan food around. 

I got a chance to speak to Alice Nevermore about how Loading, the gaming chain behind C:\ Side Quest came to Brighton. “We’ve been quite popular from the very start. People were waiting for our opening which had to be delayed a couple of times as it always happens. When we decided to open here, we knew that there was a very supportive audience, and in a way reaching the community here is much easier than in London just because of the size and how everyone is connected.” 

With their first cafe born in Cornwall in 2010, Loading now has four locations with three in London and one in Brighton. Brighton offers many opportunities for businesses but it’s not as big as London, so what exactly attracted to them to our seaside city? “Brighton is already very well established in the games industry, there are plenty of independent studios, Unity offices and the huge Develop conference – it was just missing us!” 

Loading definitely caught onto something here. Video games and the industry continue to grow every day and the likelihood is gaming cafes will boom in popularity. Alice explained why she thinks Loading has grown the way it has, “There is a rise in the type of people who want to go out and socialise, but don’t want to drink like crazy – they want to do it in a more intelligent way. There had been board game clubs and arcades, but nothing that mixed the gaming experience with a casual cafe environment. Easy access is another point, it’s free, no need to book and everyone is welcome. You don’t even really need to be into games, you can just come and have a coffee and a doughnut.”

Games and doughnuts? I’m sold.

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