To celebrate the launch of Stranger Things’ third series – which will feature the now infamous ‘New Coke’ – Coca-Cola has partnered with Netflix to bring the many mysteries of Hawkins to fans of the hit show beyond the screen. Which is why a Stranger Things-themed pop-up arcade – our homage to Hawkins’s ‘The Palace’ arcade – was brought to Shoreditch.
For one day and one day only, Stranger Things fans visited the arcade to experience the many gaming classics on offer – from Pac-Man to Street Fighter 2, and Defender to Dragon’s Lair (a lot harder than it looks, for the record). For many of the show’s younger fans, the arcade gave the opportunity to play games they’d fascinated over through the show for the very first time; and for the rest, a walk down memory lane.
Someone who confessed to falling into the latter demographic was Mick: “I grew up in Cornwall in the 80s, where there were amusement arcades everywhere. So, this is all very nostalgic,” Mick told us. “There’s not a game in there I wouldn’t have played growing up. Street Fighter was definitely one of my favourites.”
“I’m a big Stranger Things fan,” he went on. “I finished series three last night because I knew there would be a lot of fans here and I didn’t want anyone to inadvertently give me a spoiler!”
We’re sure hearing that many of the show’s devoted fans were excitedly queueing for a turn on the arcade machines won’t surprise you. But what definitely surprised them was the very big secret we had in store. The eagle-eyed fans that were present – which, we can safely say, there were many of – were able to figure out the (not-so) secret entrance to the arcade’s hidden upside-down world.
The first 800 visitors to the secret world were given a limited-edition Coca Cola x Stranger Things upside-down can. Two of that number were superfans of the show, Lauren and Claudia, who we caught up with:
“It was really fun,” said Lauren, on the upside-down world. “I definitely wasn’t expecting a Demogorgon to hand me a can of Coke!”
Of course, we were never going to recreate the upside-down world and not bring along its most notorious resident. But don’t worry, we made sure the door was left firmly closed. We think…
Did you spot New Coke in Stranger Things series three? See where you should be keeping an eye out for it here.