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Jonathan Thompson, born in Salfordmarker, Greater Manchestermarker, November 1976 is a Britishmarker television presenter, actor and entrepreneur. He is an avid collector of classic arcade games, and is a figure in the retro gaming community.

Early life

Thompson was educated at St James' Primary School, Rusholmemarker and Trinity C of E High School, Manchestermarker, before attending Manchester Grammar Schoolmarker. He went on to study at both the University of Salfordmarker where he gained a HND in Design & Media Communications in 1997, and the University of Central Lancashiremarker from which he graduated with BA (Hons) Television and Radio in 1999.

Media career

Thompson started his broadcasting career at the age of 18 when he presented on SKY’s Nickelodeon channel. In addition he presented on hospital radio based in the Manchester Royal Infirmarymarker where he presented various evening and weekend shows. BBC GMR where he presented a program called “The People” He also had a role in the BBC’s popular drama ”Cutting It” in 2005.

Thompson has scaled down his media activity, but he still operates on a freelance basis when time allows and has conducted interviews with some science fiction actors, including Dave Prowse and Elisabeth Sladen.

He has also done freelance reporting work for Southport Reporter, and Channel M.

Retro gaming

Thompson’s obsession with video games started at an early age when he was first encountered a ”TRON” machine, this fascination with arcades led frequent trips to Blackpoolmarker and it was on one of these trips that he purchased his first Star Wars machine. This sparked the collecting bug, and he had amassed a small collection whilst still in his early teens. He was able to take advantage of the lack of interest in old hardware in the early 1990’s and managed to make several block purchases of machines for bargain prices, using the then fledgling Ebay to search for machines. The retro gaming revival and subsequent rise in interest in classic machines enabled him to build a successful business, .

He now runs a company, which deal in original machines, Sci Fi Machines which offers machines for hire . His company was also commissioned to produce commemorative cabinets to celebrate the release of ”Taito Legends” in 2005. He is a familiar face on the retro gaming circuit and a regular guest speaker at exhibitions, along with more established figures such as Archer Maclean.

Star Wars

Thompson’s love of Star Wars led him to collect as many of the machines as possible, and the 1997 cinema re-release of the trilogy led to a stroke of good fortune. Several machines were sited at a local cinema which led to an unexpected demand for his machines. Thompson currently is the PR front man for the largest collection of Star Wars arcade machines in Europe, they have been exhibited all over the country and will feature prominently at Star Wars Celebration Europe commemorating the movie’s 30th anniversary.

Video Game and Computer Museum Project

The first stage of Jonathan's campaign to bring to the UK was a competition called the the 'Voyager Crusade',. This competition was run in Liverpool and was aimed at finding young up-and-coming game designers with the emphasis on playability, rather than the modern gaming trend of style over substance. The idea being to drum up interest in video gaming. The winner was announced before the end of 2008.

The next stage of this project is held in Manchester at the Urbis center. The exhibition opened in May 2009 and runs until 20 September 2009, called "Videogame Nation". This event will log the interest from the public and will allow a study of who people react to this subject.

External links


  1. Jonathan Thompson's online mini biography
  2. Games development press releases by Develop -
  3. Press Invite! Fancy some drinks next Friday afternoon? //
  4. Retro Gamer, Page 6, April 2007. Also see
  5. [1] M.E.N. Media Ltd. Also see newspaper article in Manchester Evening News, published on 25 June 2009 - Page 25
  6. Southport Reporter - 'Video Game Generation Exhibition...'

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