18 Life-Changingly Fun And Geeky Things To Do In Edinburgh
1. Chuck your change into the cabinets at Konbo.
If you live for super combo finishers, chiptune soundtracks, and giant clacking buttons, then you need to visit Konbo on Gilmour Place. It’s Edinburgh’s first arcade café and it has an array of ’80s and ’90s Japanese arcade machines, including Tekken. But remember, nobody likes an Eddy Gordo kick spammer.
2. Eat crispy chicken and play N64 games at Wings.
Your friendship may not survive a few GoldenEye death matches (“bagsie Odd-Job!”), but you can at least scoff some tasty chicken at Wings together. Oh and you also win a Nerf cannon if you finish a bowl of their suicide hot wings. Challenge accepted!
Where else are you going to see the likes of Oor Wullie, Darth Vader, and Iron Man chatting over a pint of Tennent’s? Held at the EICC every April, this is the place to check out the best Scottish comics, enter the cosplay contest, and get your photo taken with movie stars.
If you saw an eight-foot-tall hairy dude dismember someone at Meadowbank Stadium, you’d usually be straight on to the polis, but at this huge sci-fi convention it’s perfectly legit. Held every February, this charity event is rammed with comics, merch, TV, and movie stars galore. And wookies, obviously.
5. Play games while you dance to indie hits courtesy of We Throw Switches at The Caves.
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We Throw Switches put on gaming indie club nights as well as installations, tournaments, and developer showcases. Basically, they want to get games out of the house and into interesting places, like these spooky vaults underneath the city.
When you need to escape the crushing realisation that Half-Life 3 still isn’t a thing and that Firefly never got a second series, a trip to E-VR at Ocean Terminal will help. Their VR-pods can be hired for half an hour at a time, and games include Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine, Fruit Ninja VR, and Tilt Brush.
7. Browse new comics and rare finds at Deadhead Comics.
Rumour has it that this shop inspired Edinburgh-based comedian Dylan Moran to write Black Books. Either way you can easily spend an hour looking through this treasure trove of pulp, superhero, and indie comics. Who knows what you’ll find?
For all your graphic novel, sci-fi, toys, movie, and TV needs. Also, it’s on South Bridge, which is right in the centre of town. So handy.
9. Put your phones away and play board games at Tabletop Café.
Grab some pals, tell your phones to “get tae”, and gather round to crush armies and fight intergalactic space battles over coffee and ludicrously tasty doughnuts at this board game café in the historic centre of town.
10. Or grab a toastie and a pint at The Mousetrap.
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This Leith pub is literally wallpapered with game references, and their back room is a mini-arcade stocked with plenty of board games. Don’t try their shot roulette wheel on an empty stomach – their vodka tabasco mixer will give you the fear.
11. Wage miniature battles at the Warhammer shop.
The figures may be wee, but this institution on the High Street (what we call the Royal Mile – just a head’s up, tourists) is home to massive battles and hella good times. Just don’t forget to stock up on undercoat while you’re there.
Protip: don’t play their Dance Dance Revolution machine after trying the burger challenge at nearby pub McGowan’s. It’ll give you the boak, trust us on this one.
13. Or go even more retro at Gamesmasters in Leith.
This wee shop sells rare PlayStation, Sega, Xbox, and Nintendo games (mind when games used to be on cartridges?). Ask the owner to show you his really rare stuff, but be ready to fork over some serious dosh if you want to buy anything.
In the early ’00s kids came to this end of Princes Street to buy red hair dye, Dickie’s baggies, and weed-flavoured lollipops. Now there’s Anime Republic, the biggest manga and anime store in Scotland, which sells things you probably can’t pronounce or understand. Oh, and also lots and lots of Pokémon.
15. Play tons of card games at Games Hub.
No we’re not talking poker, or any of that other basic pish – this Tollcross geek retreat has oodles of really skilful card games that are seriously good fun to play with mates, especially when you wallop them. Oh, and the scran’s amazing too.
16. Quaff cappuccinos while bombing your pals’ battleships at Noughts and Coffees.
Noughts and Coffees on Morrison Street has the right idea – kick back with a nice coffee and some hefty eats, then wage plastic maritime war against your friends and co-workers. It’s an outrageously fun hang-out (unless you’re a sore loser).
17. Find your next adventure at Black Lion Games.
Remember what life was like before adulthood, when a Lothian Bus single cost a quid and our team almost beat Brazil in the World Cup? Well, this specialist game shop is like a portal to those simpler times of imagination, escapism, and fun – something that geeks get to experience almost every day. Come, join us!
18. And finally, get leathered in a world of TV fantasy at the Game of Thrones-themed Blood and Wine Bar.
This Game of Thrones-themed bar on Dublin Street is run by events company The Pop Up Geeks. It won’t be around forever, but the good news is that team behind it are launching a Walking Dead bar in Edinburgh this year.
Presumably anyone who skips out on a round will get their head caved by Lucille.