Hands on with Tennent's Barcade: A retro way to brighten up your boozer

The Barcade in action

Scotland’s unofficial national lager Tennent’s is brewed a stone’s throw from the heart of Glasgow within the Wellpark Brewery; its iconic T logo adorns the blokey boozers dotting the city, colourful murals from its online comedy shorts appear unexpectedly in alleys and it sponsors Scotland’s largest music festival, T in the Park – literally Tennent's in the Park.

The brand has the exposure, is embedded in Weegie culture and won't be going anywhere any time soon, however, it is making efforts to fortify itself against the rise of rivals who threaten its dominant position with the launch of a new initiative called Barcade, which if you cannot read between the lines is a crossover between bar and arcade – a concept, I suspect, which has many youngish people scratching their heads wondering 'Why isn't this already a thing?'

A continuation of the Wellpark mythos strongly represented in the brand's online comedy shorts, the Barcade blends Scottish humour and arcade nostalgia, injecting life back into Scottish pubs while getting drinkers, gamers and bystanders to engage with the brand in a unique way.

The Drum was invited down to the Wellpark Brewery to test the gaming cabinets and get a feel for the new initiative. Full disclosure, I intended to film the launch party to capture games in all their retro beauty. However, frustration at my inability to top the games' leaderboards on top of a thirst for the on-tap Tennent’s drained both my time and sobriety, birthing what is now a picture diary.

The Barcade features four specially designed games.

Chap-Door-Run features Wellpark regular Bobby, and as the title suggests, the premise requires players to knock the door and sprint from the occupant, dodging all the urban debris during the escape.

Then there’s T in the Park bartender, which sees you tasked with pouring endless pints of Tennent’s (or Magners) to the thirsty masses at the festival. Throwing a curveball at users, you’ll also have to collect the empty glasses. Difficult. I never quite got the hang of it.

And finally, there’s Wally, football wally, and tennis wally, it's your choice. Players are required to punt their respective ball off a wall, while dodging obstacles (some of which look remarkably similar to the empty bottles of a certain Italian beer brand).

To be clear, each game is fully realised, funny and addictive – this is more than a half-arsed attempt at gamification. The cabinets, after serving a stint at T in the Park, will go on tour, featuring in select bars and pubs from 25 July, in a push supplemented by the brand’s social media channels.

And here’s the kicker, to play the game, pub-goers will have to purchase a pint of Tennent’s and in turn will receive a token, theoretically both catalysing brand awareness and sales.

Paul Condron, Tennent’s marketing director, said: “Lots of us look back fondly on the days before smartphones and Facebook, when we’d entertain ourselves outside playing games like Wallie and Chappy. So we thought it would be fun for punters to re-live the nostalgia of younger days and have a bit of a laugh as part of the latest Wellpark series.”

Mission accomplished Paul, there’s nothing more satisfying than entering an expletive into the high scores.

Check out the trailer below.

Update: Since publication of this piece, bar chain Barcade has contacted The Drum to highlight that Tennent's unlawfully has infringed its brand IP and that the campaign will proceed under the name Tennent's Arcade.

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