We've been tracking the build for Token, Ireland's first gaming bar, and last night saw the opening "beta test" event.
The event - which was strictly ticketed - took place at Token's permanent home on Queen St. in Smithfield and ran from early evening until late. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a decent smoking area, a friendly bouncer and a claw-arm machine that the equally friendly hostess told us was paying out big.
The decor, we were told, wasn't exactly finalised but that wasn't the real reason we were there. We came for the games. The arcade cabinets are stacked up neatly in to four separate areas, with Mario Kart GP taking up a full wall with its steering wheel and seats.
Point Blank, meanwhile, was rattling off in one section whilst a dedicated Fight Zone - complete with wrestling ropes around it - housed Mortal Kombat II, Tekken Tag Tournament, a vintage WWF WrestleMania and Street Fighter II.
Downstairs housed a decent selection of pinball machines with a darkened light scheme to really get the light effects come through. As well as this, the downstairs also had a lounge and seating area with its own bar as well.
The main bar housed a wide selection of beers, and although we didn't get a chance to sample the food or take any snaps, it did look pretty great.
The big concern, of course, is whether or not you'll actually get a chance to play any of the cabinets. Token have stated that their total capacity is 225, but last night's soft launch was less than that. The reason behind this is to figure out exactly how many people can comfortably fit into the place without it becoming crowded or inhospitable. The cabinets themselves operated via tokens, which were priced at 10 for €5.00, 22 for €10.00 and 50 for €20.00.
Depending on the cabinet, one token got you two credits on a game and in an hour, you'd probably use up 10 at a stretch with no drinking or the like.
For the most part, people moved from cabinet to cabinet pretty frequently- with the exception of Mario Kart, which seemed to be permanently occupied for the time we were there. The layout is pretty straightforward and although it was somewhat narrow between the cabinets, there were never enough people in the place for it to be an issue.
Dublin sorely needed a place like this and given the level of excitement surrounding its opening, it looks like Token's going to be a permanent fixture in Dublin.