”Random gaming travel tips” is a series of handy information for anyone who’s out travelling, and wants to see more of what a city has to offer when it comes to gaming. My name is Mattias and I’ve been doing some travelling lately, mostly in Europe, and one of my main goals when going to new places is to find spots between the obvious sightseeing, stuff like retro stores, gaming bars, video game museums etc. Basically anything that in some way is related to video games. The first stop in this series will be Berlin, Germany. Then we will continue our journey through Amsterdam, Paris, New York and Stockholm. Hopefully I will be able to continue this series for more destinations around the world when I get the chance to travel. All of you who are following this blog will probably notice that this series is not written in Swedish. The reason is that I though it would be a good idea if more people would be able to find these places. So please join me in this journey, I hope you will find the information useful when you travel yourself. If you have other tips for the specific city I’m writing about then please feel free to write it in the comment field below!
The capital of Germany is mostly known for its rich culture and history, but it also has one of the most well known gaming attraction in Europe. This trip was actually my first one where video games were the main reason for the holiday. My amazing girlfriend bought a weekend trip for my 27:th birthday to go visit the Computerspielemuseum.
Before we go into more details of the spots you should visit, let’s take a general walkthrough of the city itself. Berlin is a very large city, trust me, you will not be able to walk between your destinations. Its divided into 12 districts with its own centres, which makes it very decentralized. Therefore, buying a ticket for public transportation is a must. It is very cheap, reliable and covers most parts of Berlin. If you are visiting just for a few days or a week, the best option would be the ”Berlin WelcomeCard” that covers both U-Bahn, S-Bahn and busses in the city. A 5 day card that covers all the zones (ABC), even to the airport, costs today 36,50 €. You can buy these at any subway station. This also helps when deciding where to stay, as you don’t have to live right in the middle of the tourist attractions, where the prices for hotels are a bit higher.
Before starting your exploring, make sure that you have a plan for the day, especially when you are there for a short time. If you decide to visit a specific district, you will probably go there with the subway and then walk around a lot. Because of the city’s size, and the amount of things that you can see and do, the chance that you will go back to the same district is not that big, so be sure not to miss anything worth seeing! Make sure that you know where you want to go when going out for the day as time flies when going in between attractions.
You would probably want to refresh your school German, or at least learn the basic phrases. You will probably be ok with the English as there are many tourists in the popular areas, but from time to time you will run into people that can have a hard time speaking English.
The Computerspielemuseum opened the first permanent exhibition in the world for video game culture in 1997. In 2000 it closed down and only had a website where you could see the exhibition, but in 2011 it reopened in the district of Friedrichshain, at Karl-Marx-allee 93A. The museum is one of the few permanent video game museums in the world at the moment and has an impressive collection of consoles, arcade machines and unique/custom made objects. You will find stuff like the Nimrod, which claims to be the first computer game ever. They also have various exhibitions from time to time, when I was there they had a cosplay room full of pictures. Please check out the website to find out what’s going on right now. There is a lot of great information and history about brands and consoles, all in both German and English, which is a big thumbs up. If you bring your friend, partner or kid who is not interested in the history of video games, there are also a lot of games that they could try out for themselves. The arcade collection is all playable and free, so this is probably a good place to bring the whole family, if you ask me at least… The museum also offer guided tours, where the guides take you through the whole area and talk about the history. They also let you try games like Nintendo Virtual Boy, which is not open for public. But instead of me talking about all the things you can do, I put together a video from Berlin and the museum, enjoy!
You have to remember that this is a museum and not a retro game collection, so you will not find collector games, top 10 most expensive games or rare merchandises. As you are not allowed to buy anything from the museum collection, it doesn’t really matter. Some things that can improve is the size of the museum, right now it’s a bit too small. I guess they could fit more things in there if they had a bigger area. But overall it’s a fantastic place for gamers, a great nostalgia trip. So this is a MUST when you are in Berlin! And don’t forget to visit their shop on the way out, I guarantee you will find something that you want to buy. As for me, just look at the picture to the right…
Karl-Marx-allee 93A, 10243 Berlin
Best way to get here is by taking the U-bahn line U5 to station Weberwiese, from there you should be able to see the museum.
Another tip, if you are visiting Alexanderplatz, which is also close to the big tower Fernsehturm that you can see from all over town, is to make the walk down through Karl-Marx-Allee. It takes about 20 min to walk. The street was East berlin’s parade street during the time after the second world war. It has amazing architecture and you will find historical places with pictures from it right after the war.
Open hours (local time)
Monday: 10.00 – 20.00
Wednesday: 10.00 – 20.00
Thursday: 10.00 – 20.00
Friday: 10.00 – 20.00
Saturday: 10.00 – 20.00
Sunday: 10.00 – 20.00
Adult: 8 €
Child/Senior: 5 €
Family: 15 €
If you are in to fleamarkets this is defenitly the place to go. In the north part of Mitte you will find Mauerpark, where every Sunday people gather to find some secondhand bargains. Of course there is alot of junk as in every fleamarket and its huge as well. But if you look aside the DDR dish sets, Nazi-era postcards and vintage fashions you will eventually find some nice and cheap video games. When we were there I was not able to find any collector games or rare consoles except some gameboys. But im sure that if you look hard or if you are only looking to fill up your collection you will probably not be disappointed. Most fleamarkets often do not realize the true price of video games, therefore you will probably make some good deals if you find what you are looking for. Good luck!
Take the U-bahn line U2 to station Eberswalder Straße or you could walk from Alexanderplatz. Its a long walk, takes about 30 min, make sure to have a map with you.
Open hours (local time)
Only sundays: 08:00 – 18:00
When you have been out all day walking you probably want to grab something to eat and drink. Meltdown Berlin is a newly opened permanent BarCraft/Esportsbar that you don’t want to miss. Depending on which night you will be visiting they have different game showing; StarCraft II, Dota 2, League of Legends, World of Tanks, Super Street Fighter IV etc. The interior design feels very much like Berlin, dark and industrial. When going there make sure not to miss the sign outside as it is quite descrete.
Go to Google Maps
Both U7 and U8 will take you to Hermannplatz station where you will be able to walk to Meltdown on street Urbanstrasse.
Open hours (local time)
All days of the week 17:00 – 02:00