KC's Consoles, Loughborough

By Damien McFerran - 31 Jan, 2006

Now, this won't mean anything to those of you based outside the midlands, but in the early 90's there was a console store in Loughborough, Leicestershire that was my Mecca. It was called KC's Consoles and Computer Magic and to this day it remains, in my humble opinion, the greatest console store in history. In the space of a decade, the store moved to four (at the last count) different locations in Loughborough (and changed names - the last name was the unfortunate 'Jive Consoles'). The store was owned by a chap called Pete (who sported a pretty nifty pony tail back in the day).

When I first visited KC's, the Megadrive had just been released in the UK and Super Famicom had just appeared in Japan. KC's was the first place I saw Nintendo's console working, and the impact was incredible. The store's main trade was import releases (although domestic consoles and computers such as the Amiga and PC were also supported). KC's was also the first videogames store I'd seen that did part exchanges and trade-ins.

The first location was 37 Pinfold Gate - a small shop just on the outskirts of Loughborough town centre. Most of the units there today are lying empty. These premises soon became too small for the store, and KC's moved to the No.3 High Street (which is now an opticians). A bigger store meant more room for stock, and more trade. I can recall how rammed it was on Saturdays...scary. And the smell from all those unwashed teenage gamers was staggering.

I stopped going to KC's after around 1993, so I'm a little unsure of where it went from then...I've been told it moved to a different location, but the last time I saw the store it was on Swan Street, just a little way down from the High Street location. There was a name change to 'Jive Consoles' and a shift from consoles to PCs (boo!). The small amount of console stock (PSX, Saturn, N64, etc) was also entirely domestic - advanced territory lockouts had brought the carefree importing days of the Megadrive to an end. I only visited this location once and to be honest it was pretty poor. It's now (another) bloody mobile phone shop. Like we need anymore of them.

The sad thing is nothing remains in Loughborough that is related to this fine store. I'd love to know what Pete is up to today - hopefully he'll have another pop at bringing a decent independent videogame import outlet to the town. At the moment it's poorly served by LAME (sorry, GAME) and an indie store called Voodoo Consoles (which has some decent prices but doesn't do imports).

I looked through a few old magazines and managed to dig out this advert from the Pinfold Gate days and this one from the High Street era. Exciting Stuff, eh? What do you mean 'no'?

Fellow Loughborough resident Superfamifreak has written in with his memories of the Jive Consoles era:

"Sometime around 1993 Pete moved the shop to Broad St, a shop that is now a printers, or was the last time I went by. From what I can hazily remember, the shop was quite small, but stocked loads of stuff, a fair chunk being US SNES games. In the shop there was a SSF2X cab, along with those pay as you play SNES & MD units. The cellar was used by all the games workshop/warhammer players, so we never ventured down there for fear of coming back up as a frog or mushroom or something similar.

It must have been around mid '95 when he moved again to Fennel St(Where Connexions now resides). This was a MUCH larger shop and the space was utilised well. At the front I remember there were the following cabs. Killer Instinct(I was actually the first person in Loughborough to play it as I just so happened to be in the shop when it was being set up), SSFIIX, a Football Champ/Wrestlefest 2-in-1, A Neo Geo 1 slot with Sidekicks 3 and the SNES/MD setups. On the far left as you walked in were all the SNES and MD titles, in the centre and by the counter was where the 'Next gen' systems like CDi, 3DO et al were positioned and at the back of the shop was where all the little import systems that only us nerds knew about resided. This included PC Engine & Neo Geo gear. Round the side was the room for the pointy hat brigade and also in there were a couple more JAMMA cabs including Speed Rumbler - BONUS at 10p a pop, Primal Rage & King of Fighters '95. Pete used to spend his time in the back and the customers were dealt with by a guy called Rob Palethorpe. Decent fella who used to let us play on the Saturn/PS1 when Pete wasn't about!

So many great memories of that shop. It was probably the most influential part in my introduction to import and hardcore gaming, as I got my first import Super Famicom & games, PC Engine GT & Neo Geo AES systems from him.

Overall probably the greatest games shop that ever was and VERY sorely missed"

Photos of the locations are shown below. If anyone has any KC-related memories or comments they'd like me to post, then fire away!

KCs Consoles

KCs Consoles

KCs Consoles

ShinynewJB - 03 May 2009, 17:16 GMT

Cool article. Really nostalgic.

I go to university at Loughborough. It'd be awesome if there was somewhere to find retro games here.

Scienide - 01 Feb 2013, 11:02 GMT

I grew up in loughborough and I don't rmember KC's but I do remember Jive Consoles. My memory of Jive is slightly different though. At the time I was going in there (early 90's I guess) it had plenty of console related things going on. Maybe not the imports but certainly plenty of other stuff. I remember it having the timers on the cabinets. 20p for 10 minutes or whatever it was. I remember playing Killer Instinct in there. I also have a hazy memory of playing some other games but I forget which now. I'm pretty sure I remember a guy called Pete behind the counter but I cant remember what he looked like. I know that we skipped school to hang out in Jive Consoles and that many of the first plays I had were in games in that store. I loved the place. Indie stores are so much better than the chains.

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