The arcade was developed in collaboration with Wargaming, the computer game manufacturer behind the historically accurate naval combat game World of Warships, which now includes two versions of the HMS Belfast from WWII and the 1950s.
The facility allows players to play World of Warships and World of Warships: Legends on powerful PC and video game consoles. The games have registered more than 50 million player accounts from around the world and allow players to pilot hundreds of historic ships in real-time strategy and combat games.
HMS Belfast is an urban-class light cruiser commissioned in 1936 and launched in 1938. It was in service during World War II, including escorting Arctic convoys. It saw more combat actions during the Korean War before it was dismantled in 1963. It was transferred to the ownership of the Imperial War Museum in 1978.
Recent renovations include new exhibit and exhibit spaces and uncover stories from crew members. The game content available from the World of Warships Command Center is based on historical documents and blueprints from the first half of the 20th century, including material about HMS Belfast itself.
HMS Belfast Senior Curator Rob Rumble told Naval Technology: “I have been very involved in the refitting of the ship, updating the displays and performance and trying to bring in more stories from the sailors who served in Belfast and the conflicts in the that the ship was. involved with.
“The ship had many functions, mainly it was a weapon of war, but there is also more than that. It was a home for sailors, it was a symbol of British power and prosperity, and in that capacity the flag of Great Britain flew in the various ports of the world.
“It’s a real mix on board of heavy technology, the war machine interspersed between the hammocks, the kitchens, the infirmary, the officers’ dining rooms. We believe that the stories that relate to these various spaces provide our visitors with a balanced variety of tones, from the serious conflicts in which Belfast was involved, to the most carefree and absurd; Christmas, the celebrations. the line crossing ceremony where King Neptune would greet the new young sailors crossing the equator. All those elements that made life aboard sailors and made Belfast their home. ”
HMS Belfast head of retail and brand licensing David Fenton explained that Wargaming reached out to Imperial War Museums about the collaboration.
“Because HMS Belfast was already in the game, we had a great response from everyone at the museum saying that this is exactly the kind of thing that we are waiting for, to add something to the people coming on board,” he said. saying.
“It is an honor to be able to say that you can play the boat in the game on the boat. There won’t be many places where you can do that. We’ve been talking to Wargaming for over two years and we had the intention to do a pre-pandemic arcade in the summer of 2019, then everything slowed down so it’s great to finally do this. ”
Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi added: “Over the past year, we had the privilege of working with naval museums around the world and supporting them through an immensely difficult time. We are delighted to be able to add a new dimension to the already incredible offering aboard HMS Belfast and we can’t wait to see how this historic warship delights and educates visitors once again. ”