A Perfectly Preserved Nugget Of The 90’s
If you ever wondered what the 90’s looked like to its tribes of yo-yo spinning, tamagotchi clutching youth, you needn’t head off in desperate search of a time machine to find out – or scroll through page after page of 90’s tumblrs. For a slice of bygone history wedged firmly in the present, head over to the basement of Majestic City for a fossilised display of an era where the Spice Girls reigned supreme and Justin Timberlake was still in a boy band.
P. G. Martin. Trusty supplier of every birthday partys’ balloon, candy floss and bouncy castle, this was the go to place for mothers to secure matching Little Mermaid napkins and cups for the hordes of screaming toddlers that would descend upon their gleaming houses come birthday time.
But since every day isn’t your birthday, P. G. Martin extended their services to open up a ‘Wonderworld’ at the basement of Majestic City, recreating the party experience all year round for just Rs. 60 an entry token. With ball ponds, rides and arcades games, the colourful amusement arena was vastly popular with Colombo’s kids. But as the years moved forward, the Wonderworld didn’t. The rides never changed, the walls weren’t given the fresh licks of paint they so badly needed, and the little pleasure dome fell into a surreal state of decline.
January 2013. The Wonderworld lies ensconced beneath the many storeys of shopping and cinematic extravaganza that has become Majestic City. Walk through the low ceilinged corridor to enter the dingy, faded space, cluttered with a plethora of old school arcade games: alpine racer, dance dance revolution, air hockey. In a way that was never intended, the P.G. Martin Wonderworld really has become a rabbit hole winding into Wonderland – for grown ups. Descend into the mall’s drab underbelly to uncover a melancholy vestige of the children’s 90’s. Arcade games that were played before the rapid evolution of videogames saw an Xbox in every living room and a PSP console in every hand. Soft, pink clouds of candyfloss and mounds of freshly popped corn. A mechanical silver arm whirring above a pile of fluorescent teddy bears. A dirty air hockey mallet resting on a smooth neon table.
While the P. G. Martin Wonderworld may prove a rather depressing option for an outing with the kids, for the wide-eyed adult it can offer a small and surreal little space for retrospective journeying. It’s an odd place, dark and dingy, and weirdly preserved in time. But the games still work, and if you’re nostalgic or homesick for a youth well versed in fairground treats and arcade highs, have a visit. It’s strangely weird and strangely wonderful.