The Gamer’s Guide to Glasgow 2020

Hello readers and welcome to the second edition of the Gamer’s Guide to Glasgow, now updated for 2020! A few things have changed in the city since I released the first edition (for better and worse), and there is a whole new calendar of events to attend this year so why not take a look and see if anything inspires you.

There are lots of travel guides already available for Glasgow but instead of focusing on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Whisky, I want to highlight all the great reasons for gamers (and fans of other geeky things) to visit Scotland’s biggest city. The guide is divided into 3 sections: Annual Events, Shops, Bars and Cafes and ‘Other Recommendations‘, so scroll down to check out whatever interests you!


Annual Events

Glasgow has a fairly busy calendar of gaming and geek culture events. This list isn’t necessarily comprehensive, but aims to highlight the best events the city has to offer in 2020.

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KupoCon: Freepom

When? 15th February, 2020

Where? Hilton Glasgow – 1 William Street, Glasgow, G3 8HT

What? Final Fantasy themed fan convention with activities, a band, cosplay and talks from two of the series star voice actors – John Bentley (Barret, FF VII remake) and Rachel Robinson (Fang, FF XIII)

Football v Homophobia – FIFA Tournament

When? 22nd February, 2020

Where? R-Cade – 146 Saltmarket, Glasgow G1 5LB

What? Tournament organised by Football V Homophobia Scotland featuring lots of different versions of FIFA and tackling discrimination in football and gaming. Free to enter.

Rai-Con

When?ย 4th April, 2020 and 7th November, 2020

Where? Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – 2 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3NY

What? Twice yearly anime and manga convention featuring a cosplay stage, screening room, artists, workshops and demonstrations.

The Assassin’s Creed Symphony

When? 27th April, 2020

Where? Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – 2 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3NY

What? A Symphony Orchestra plays tunes from the Assassin’s Creed series in a massive concert hall!

Play Expo

When? 13th & 14th June, 2020

Where? Braehead Arena – King’s Inch Rd, Glasgow G51 4BN

What? Also available in other UK cities, it has loads of retro, and some modern games in a big hall with two stages, one for cosplay and one for tournaments. Big merchandise area which includes some cool local artists.

Resonate Total Gaming

When? 18th & 19th July, 2020

Where? The SEC – Exhibition Way, Glasgow G3 8YW

What? Apparently Scotland’s number one gaming festival AND the ultimate gaming experience. I think this is the place to try out games before release in Scotland and it seems to have a pretty massive lineup.

Film & Comicon

When? 15th & 16th August, 2020

Where? Braehead Arena – King’s Inch Rd, Glasgow G51 4BN

What? Faces from the world of TV, film and comics as well as all the memorabilia you could imagine. This year they’ve got stars from Doctor Who, Star Wars, Game of Thrones and, erm, ‘Allo ‘Allo?

MCM Comicon

When? Usually late September

Where? The SEC – Exhibition Way, Glasgow G3 8YW

What? Scotland’s biggest pop-culture show and probably the same as MCM Comicons everywhere else. Special guests from stage and screen, voice actors and games experts descend on Glasgow and cause chaos on the public transport system. Every year I meet someone dressed as Link whilst this is on. Every year.

Scotland Loves Anime

When? Usually Mid October

Where? The Glasgow Film Theatre – 12 Rose St, Glasgow G3 6RB

What? Three days of wall-to-wall anime films featuring many UK and European premieres. Weekend passes are available at a very bargainous price. I’ll be at the back with a pint and some Pocky.

Glasgow Games Festival

When? Usually November

Where? Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – 2 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3NY

What? Old and new board games, card games and dice games for players young and old alike.

Shops/Bars/Cafes

Sure, you’ve hung out at Play Expo or got all dressed up for MCM Comicon but what are you going to do for the rest of your visit? Never fear! Glasgow has lots of permanent shops, bars and cafes that are gaming or nerd culture themed!

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Super Bario

Where? 7 King St, Glasgow G1 5QZ

What? The best place. Serves a wide variety of delicious beers (other beverages are available) and crisps. Has various (and ever-changing) arcade machines including Tekken Tag Tournament, Super Monkey Ball, House of the Dead, Mortal Kombat II and Crazy Taxi. Friendly and wonderful.

R-Cade

Where? 146 Saltmarket, Glasgow G1 5LB

What? BYOB arcade noodle cafe thing with hire-able consoles and arcade machines. Hosts over 18’s nights regularly where they apparently play lots of ‘over 18’s stuff’ and sometimes has special events and tournaments.

Forbidden Planet

Where? 122-126 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3DH

What? It’s probably the same as all the other Forbidden Planets, but since it moved premises in November 2019 I haven’t actually visited. Lots of Manga and weird toy things. Sometimes hosts signings and similar events.

Game

Where? St Enoch Shopping Centre, St Enoch Square, Glasgow G1 4BW and 43 Union St, Glasgow G1 3RB

What? Oh come on. It’s Game. The St Enoch store is a particularly nice one though and it is (as of recently) the only dedicated video game shop in the city centre (as far as I know…unless you include CEX…).

Tokyo Toys

Where? 27 Union St, Glasgow G1 3RB

What? TOYS. Also Manga and anime for sale plus lots of keyrings and similarly charming tat. Sometimes hosts cosplay parties and other fun events that usually involve K-Pop.

Geek-a-Boo

Where? 74 Queen St, Glasgow G1 3DS

What? A nice shop selling a variety of merch relating to video games, anime and other nerdy things. Also sells clothes which is a big plus. Has a dedicated space for tabletop gaming.

Geek Retreat

Where? 63 Union St, Glasgow G1 3RB

What? A combination of comic book store, cafe and online store dedicated to geek culture. Conveniently located right next to Central Station. It’s down a scary flight of stairs but if you’re braver than me, give it a go!

Static Games

Where? 39 King St, Glasgow G1 5RA

What? Friendly and knowledgeable board game shop in the city centre (very near both RCade and Super Bario, so if you’re in the neighbourhood…)

West End Games

Where? 18 Woodlands Rd, Glasgow G3 6UR

What? A tabletop gaming cafe open until 10pm most days. They host days for specific games from Pokemon cards to Dungeons and Dragons and have a wide variety of games to play when they are not getting specific.

The Summoner’s

Where? 201 Pitt St, Glasgow G2 4DS

What? Newish ESports bar right in the centre of Glasgow’s ‘going out’ district. Apparently serves Chinese cocktails and streams Esports tournaments as well as hosting its own competitions.

Other Recommendations

Whilst this is a guide primarily intended to be of interest to gamers, I figure that as well as being a gamer you probably have lots of other interests. They may well not be the same as mine, but just in case they are I’m going to recommend a few non-gaming things to do whilst you’re in the city!

Rufus T Firefly

Where? 207 Hope St, Glasgow G2 2UW

What? Rock and metal bar near the centre of town. Does various deals involving pizza, sells a good selection of beers and a questionable selection of cocktails. As a bonus they have a PS1 and a SNES hooked up to a big TV. One of the best places ever.

Oaka Supercity

Where? 130 George St, Glasgow G1 1RG and 181 Byres Rd, Glasgow G12 8TS

What? Sells a wide selection of asian foods and has a small sit in area for eating freshly steamed dim sum and delicious custard tarts. Beautiful eastern pottery also available. Super friendly and excellent value for money.

Sharmanka

Where? 103 Trongate, Glasgow G1 5HD

What? Erm…Kinetic Theatre (?!) by a Glasgow based Russian artist. It really has to be seen to be believed. If possible attend one of the longer showings in order to see more of the kinetic installations in action. If it gives you a taste for Russian culture then Scotland’s only Russian restaurant is next door and is well worth a visit!

Drury Street

Where? Drury St, Glasgow G2 5AA

What? Big basement bar with a good beer selection and nice menu. Busy on weekend evenings but otherwise a nice safe hangout spot. Don’t be surprised if you meet some board game and D&D enthusiasts whilst you’re there.

Platform

Where? The Arches, 253 Argyle Street, Glasgow G2 8DL

What?ย Cavernous street food and craft beer venue set in some old railway arches. Large variety of food and drink available including an on-site brewery courtesy of Innis & Gunn. Great place to avoid people and/or weather but only open Fri/Sat/Sun.

Grunting Growler

Where? 51 Old Dumbarton Rd, Glasgow G3 8RF

What? All the craft beer served by a friendly American. Also, Corn Nuts. Shows NFL on Sundays.

The Kelvingrove Museum

Where? Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8AG

What? The real jewel in Glasgow’s cultural crown, it is a huge museum and art gallery filled with many crazy and wonderful things, from a room full of dangling ceramic heads to a friendly Giant Irish Deer skeleton.

Street Art

Where? All around the city but particularly in the centre near the University of Strathclyde and at SWG3 in the west end.

What? There is an absolute ton of amazing street art in Glasgow (some of which is pictured further up), including an annual festival called Yardworks at SWG3 which normally happens in May.

The Botanic Gardens

Where? 730 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 0UE

What? Glasgow is full of parks and if you’re in the west end already then the Botanics is within easy reach. Why not make your way down to the river where you can enjoy a peaceful stroll and meet the local duck population. If you go the right way you’ll end up at a riverside pub called Inn Deep which is always a decent stop off point.

Hillhead Bookclub

Where? 17 Vinicombe Street, Glasgow G12 8BH

What?ย Massive west end bar housed in a rather grand former-cinema. Good beer, fun times and a retro-gaming cage (erm…) with around 40 games.

Visit Yharnam

Where? University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ

What? Ok, not really, but some bits of Glasgow, particularly around the University in the west end can look eerily similar to Bloodborne. Probably need to go at dusk or dawn to see it at its best, but if you do then I don’t suppose you’d mind collecting my Blood Echoes?


Hopefully that’s given you a decent flavour of the city and the things you can do there. It is a really fun, vibrant city to live in and still a bit of an unknown gem in tourist terms so I really do recommend giving it a shot. Any questions or additions you’d like to see here? Let me know in comments!

Thanks for reading,

Pix1001 x

6 thoughts on “The Gamer’s Guide to Glasgow 2020

Add yours

  1. You know, I’ve been planning a trip to Scotland with someone for about July. We think we’ll probably be passing-through Glasgow and might stay the night, so this has proved most helpful. Who knows, we might get the chance to meetup. If you’ve got any information about Sandaig (where we’re going), that’d be useful, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well that would be fab! If you need anymore detailed info (y’know, hotels and stuff) then just let me know.

    Sandaig is wayyyyyyy remote! I’m sure it will be absolutely beautiful. I don’t really know that part of Scotland unfortunately as it isn’t easy to access without a car.

    Liked by 1 person

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