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Issues to do in Reykjavik on a Wet Day

Visit Freddi Arcade & Toy Museum in downtown Reykjavík on a rainy day.

Do you miss the great ol’ days when plumbers rescued princesses in a land of mushrooms, and pizza-obsessed reptiles fought the forces of evil from their sewer hideout? When a bunch of sword-wielding cat individuals protected the inhabitants of Third Earth and Prince Adam would get superhuman power by summoning the powers of Grayskull? (Significantly, was all people on medication within the 80s?)

Properly, you’re in luck! There’s a place in downtown Reykjavík that allows you to really feel like your outdated teenage self once more. A spot the place these affected by a nasty case of nostalgia can come and relive their glory days of the 80s and 90s. It’s referred to as Freddi Arcade & Toy Museum.

Freddi Arcade & Toy Museum on Bankastræti.

On a gray, wet day, I discovered myself with some free time on my hand, so I moseyed down Laugavegur purchasing road to the historic Bankastræti to go to the arcade. In case you are unfamiliar with downtown Reykjavík, Bankastræti is a brief stretch of street main from the west ends of Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur road to the intersection at Lækjartorg Sq..

On the backside of Bankastræti, proper earlier than the intersection, is what Icelanders wish to name “Núllið” (The Zero), or Bankastræti no. 0, because of the truth that it’s under all numbered homes. Núllið is a set of public bogs. The boys’s rest room on one facet of the road and the ladies’s on the opposite. And right here you’ll discover two of the extra fascinating museums in Reykjavík.

The bogs aren’t truly in use. They had been closed down for numerous causes (learn: medication, vandalism, fights, and so on.) in 2006. Town of Reykjavík thought that one of the best use for outdated, public bogs can be to utilise the area for one thing extra cultural. So in 2016, essentially the most becoming factor opened within the girls’s amenities: The Icelandic Punk Museum. Then in 2018, Freddi Arcade & Toy Museum moved within the males’s.

Similar to the house of our favorite crime-fighting turtles, each Freddi and the Punk Museum are underground, however it is best to be capable to discover them each simply. The Intercourse Pistols brand, a embellished M&M mascot and a few Jolly Rogers will lead you to the Punk Museum, and footage of well-known, video video games characters akin to Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man and Area Invaders line the steps that lead you right down to Freddi Arcade.

Decorations at Freddi Arcade & Toy Museum.

On the day of my go to, I adopted the digital figures down the steps to Freddi and was instantly greeted by acquainted noises of my childhood. Pings and clacking sounds of the pinball machines stuffed the room, and from one nook the deep, authoritative voice from Avenue Fighter exclaimed: “Prepared, Combat!”.

I seemed across the darkish room, which was largely lit by the machine’s screens and blinking lights. On each wall, there was an image of a superhero or a online game character. Close to the ceiling had been two cabinets full of the toys from my previous, one stuffed with numerous motion figures and the opposite one was solely devoted to Star Wars.

See a collection of Star Wars figurines at Freddi Arcade & Toy Museum

I seemed round and observed that in each nook and cranny of this small area was an fascinating toy. A stuffed ALF hid in a single nook whereas Ash from the Evil Useless motion pictures wielded his chainsaw on a shelf close to the money register. Retaining watch over mentioned register was a plastic E.T. and an old style boombox. Even the ground had popular culture reference because it had been coated in outdated covers of He-Man comedian books.

Amidst the glowing lights, clanking noises and toys stood my buddy Sunna, one of many individuals who run the arcade and museum. “That is my life now,” she mentioned smiling as she walked over to an Addams Household pinball machine and started to take it aside. “It is 2018, and my job is to line up Star Wars figures and restore pinball machines. It is superb!”

I walked round and tried to depend what number of toys from my previous had been right here, and Sunna instructed me concerning the numerous motion figures on the shelf above the arcade video games. There’s a Han Solo determine with an abnormally massive head, and I famous that it seems a bit bizarre. “Yeah, it’s truly a collectable” Sunna mentioned. “Just a few of those defected Solos had been made, and now they’re price a bunch of cash. In actual fact, most of those toys are price some huge cash”. And to suppose! I threw most of my outdated toys away. IDIOT!

An E.T. figurine at Freddi Arcade & Toy Museum in downtown Reykjavík

Though that is technically a museum, most of the toys on show are on the market, however you’ll have to pay a steep value for them. There are additionally a choice of newer toys and issues that play off of that retro-element; bow ties from the cult retailer Leynibúðin with footage of Batman or Divine, and motion figures with a twist (one is named ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turdles’…it’s brown…you get the remainder) from the on-line store Viktor’s Classic.

As Sunna instructed me about her day after day work and the historical past of Freddi, a person got here off the road with a puzzled look on his face and mumbled to himself “What is that this place?”. After adjusting to the darkness inside his eyes lit up as he squealed “Is {that a} Ms Pac-Man machine?!?” (It was).

Spend a rainy day at Freddi Arcade in downtown Reykjavík.

Sunna talked to him for some time about Freddi and every thing from Rubbish Pail Youngsters to Magic: The Gathering playing cards however his eyes by no means actually left Ms Pac-Man. It turned out he had “this actual machine” when he was a child however, sadly, it perished in a home fireplace. Though most of us don’t have such tragic tales (I hope), Freddi does carry out slightly unhappiness. It’s nice to see the toys and video games from my previous however seeing them jogged my memory of my misplaced toys and, subsequently, my misplaced time, which then spiralled into ideas about my inevitable mortality. (Issues obtained a bit darkish).

You’ll be able to, nevertheless, simply overlook this angst (I’m too younger to name it a mid-life disaster) with a flip at one of many many arcade video games discovered at Freddi. For simply 1000 ISK you possibly can spend an hour enjoying any machine within the arcade, and if you’re strapped for time, pay 500, and also you’ll get 20 minutes of playtime.

Apart from Ms Pac-Man, you’ll find a number of pinball machines, Galaga, Donkey Kong and a multi-box with 2019 basic video games like Tremendous Mario Bros, Avenue Fighter, Tetris and Megaman. There’s an N64 and a Gamecube, and on particular events, Freddi will join consoles like Atari, Dreamcast, Wii and PlayStation 1 and a couple of.

People playing at Freddi Arcade in downtown Reykjavík.

In line with Sunna, the youngest machine at Freddi is the Nintendo Wii, and by the way, it’s also the least widespread factor there. Many of the issues contained in the arcade are from the 80s, which is definitely when Freddi’s historical past started.

Earlier than opening at “The Zero”, Freddi spend a few years at a location additional up the road. Earlier than that, nevertheless, it had been dormant for many years.

Within the 80s and early 90s, telephones had rotary dials, MC Hammer was performed unironically on the radio, and Iceland was dominated by the world’s first elected girl president, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. It was additionally the height of the arcade period in Iceland.

Freddi was a magical place on the centre of Reykjavík the place youngsters would meet up and play the most recent arcade video games. On the peak of its recognition, it had over 40 video games (which apparently was rather a lot on the time).

However as dwelling computer systems grew to become steady home items and gaming by way of computer systems and consoles grew to become the popular alternative for gamers, the decline of arcades started. Very like video shops immediately, arcades simply grew to become out of date and so Freddi closed its doorways within the mid-90s, with no one anticipating their shock return nearly 30 years later (what this implies for video shops, we will solely guess).

At present, Freddi may not be as widespread because it was again within the day however for many who like to return and let their interior nerd out, that is the proper place. You’ll be able to really feel like a child once more at Freddi, and now, since you’re older, you possibly can carry your individual children and giggle how perplexed they’re at one thing that solely has three buttons.

So if you’re like me, an grownup who remains to be younger at coronary heart, come to an deserted public rest room the place you possibly can relive these days of innocence. (Isn’t Iceland superb?)



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