Sheffield 2 (Electric-Shef-aloo?)

The sequel to Sheffield sees me walking just about everywhere you can walk. City. Woodland. Countryside. Hills. Villages. Amazingly, this is all possible from this unique city.

An Expected Journey

Given the proximity to some of the best walking and climbing country in the UK, I thought it would be a shame not to get out and explore it over the weekend. A colleague recommended a route for me starting in a park in the city (Endcliffe Park) and ending in Hathersage.

The eleven mile walk took me through several parks then woodland, following alongside the Porter Brook, and eventually the landscape opened out in front of me. It’s amazing how rural and unspoilt the land is just a stones throw away from a heavily industrialised city.

I extended the walk by a few miles and walked along Stanage Edge before dropping down into the village, then finished off with a swim. Rather unusually, Hathersage has a heated outdoor swimming pool, and during my visit the water temperature was around 25 degrees Celcius. Comfortable, but combined with the air temperature of about 10 degrees it wasn’t exactly balmy.

Photo from

Eating Out

As exciting as the prospect of eating out for two weeks sounded originally, it wasn’t that long before the novelty wore off and I was missing my own kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I had some really nice food including a couple of meals from Ning’s Thai Street food, an unassuming but excellent thai restaurant close to my hotel, but it’s not normal food. I cannot fault it for that, as I wouldn’t want to go to the trouble of going out to eat normal food, but it’s not really designed for daily consumption. Like trying to live off takeaway food. It’s possible, but you might just die in the process.

Having moaned for an appropriate amount of time, I did have a rather delicious burger in Triple Point Brewing while admiring their mighty brewing apparatus, before being deafened by people banging on tanks or kegs for a reason that I have since forgotten. Ancient beer ritual? Perhaps. The food and beer were worth the trip, but I’ll give the industrial process music a pass.

National Videogame Museum

Videogames…in a museum? Yes, that’s not a typographical error, there is an actual museum dedicated to the highest artistic medium. I spent a couple of hours wandering round and playing with most of the exhibits on Sunday morning. The museum is housed in Castle House over one level (mild pun) with over 100 playable games and a variety of curated set pieces and cabinets.

I love finding out about obscure pieces of game hardware and accessories, and for that purpose the museum does not disappoint. They have an absolutely massive PS3 DECR-1000A debugging reference tool used for testing PS3 games during development (you can buy one if you have €2000 spare) and a variety of other development consoles which look marginally similar to the final consumer hardware. The PS3 DECR-1000A looks like a massive VCR, and isn’t quite as sleek as the console we ended up with.

Can you tell what it is yet? The PS3 DECR-1000A – the font hints at its true nature.

Several of the exhibits covered aspects of game development including an interview from Cris Blyth who, while working for Team17, worked on visual effects/cutscenes for the Worms series. One of the displays recreated his workstation including an Amiga and various documents from the time. Another weird find was the Casio Loopy, a Japanese game console targeted at female gamers with an inbuilt printer which could create stickers from screenshots. I had never seen or heard of this one, but it’s a pretty unique idea although I imagine the novelty wore off pretty quickly.

The Casio Loopy console with in-built sticker printer

Plenty of arcade cabinets were on display too, and I couldn’t resist playing a bit of Time Crisis. It’s one of my favourite gun games next to the House of the Dead series.

Sheffield has been a blast, but I’m homeward bound for the Ocean City and looking forward to getting back to normality.

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