Along with all the money that CF2 made, the games room was my legacy to Sensible. When I arrived at the company, it was just a junk room full of builder's rubble and a few bits of weight-lifting gear. I realised almost instantly that Saffron Walden was a twee, near-dead little town (village, really) offering almost no forms of entertainment other than a lovely, friendly little pub which had 2am lock-ins several nights a week (which I won't name, just in case it still does) and a handful of really good restaurants, cafés and takeaways (if there was anything you could do really well in Saffron Walden, it was eat). On a Friday night, the local kids used to gather in the market square because it had a phonebox.
So armed with my weekly copy of CoinSlot (implausibly stocked by a local newsagent, I didn't have to order it or anything), it was a simple task to persuade Jops and Chris that a quick flex of the then-healthy company credit card would see Sensible become the centre of a veritable Utopia of excitement which would hopefully coax the staff into turning up a bit more often.
The possibilities for fun in the Sensible games room were almost limitless. In the shot you can plainly see a pool table (the most-used item in the room and the scene of my first, and so far only, eight-ball clearance), two arcade cabinets (the further-away one is a Time Pilot, I can't remember what the other one was), a pinball table (The Machine: Bride Of Pinbot), a 25" Sony satellite-equipped TV on which we all watched the UK-nation-free 1994 World Cup, an American SNES, a Megadrive complete with Mega CD and 32X, an imported Playstation and Saturn (early on I took the company credit card for a trip to London to buy the Japanese PS for £500 from the original CEX in Rathbone Place, along with a £100 copy of Ridge Racer - this was my idea of a job, all right), and two of our £200-jackpot "club" fruit machines.
(You can also see one of the five giant bean bags we bought on a memorable trip to Argos in Cambridge one day, when me and two Sensible colleagues squeezed into my Mini Metro - this was before I bought my flash sports car with the bonus for delivering CF2 on time - with all five jumbo beanbags crammed in as well. Visibility was somewhat impaired on the way back, but it didn't really matter, since the car was effectively one huge airbag. I could have driven off a 100-foot cliff onto jagged rocks and nobody would have sustained so much as a scratch.)
Out of shot are the rest of the beanbags, two more fruities (the complete lineup was Blackjack Club, Celebration Club, Club Connect and Club Pontoon, I think), a dartboard and the weight-lifting barbell, which would come in handy at a later date. And at the right-hand side, you can see the window we legged it out of when it did. The games room was a happy place.