"Sheffield has the feel of living in the largest village in the country"

Jim Freeman is an award-winning retailer who owns and runs the popular Patriot Games, a hobby games store in Sheffield city centre. A former sculptor and model maker, he became a Friendly Local Games Store owner to try to help create the community of like-minded gamers that he had always sought to be a part of.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 5:52 pm
Jim Freeman owner of Patriot Games on Union Street. Picture Scott Merrylees
Jim Freeman owner of Patriot Games on Union Street. Picture Scott Merrylees

In running the store and putting on thousands of organised gaming events Jim has been responsible for raising the profile of Sheffield in the gaming world. Theyhave included national and European to World Championships as well as regular local events that are open to anyone.

These days Jim and his team are often seen at events across the country, lending a hand and sharing their expertise. But when he gets a chance to take some down time Jim likes nothing more than to take in the beautiful green spaces in and around the city. That and try to get some actual gaming in himself. A sadly under achieved feat these days!

Patriot Games is currently looking for a new premises due to redevelopment of the existing site but hope to use this as a catalyst to step up into a bigger, better, site.

Jim Freeman, of Patriot Games, winner of the Outstanding Contribution award. He is pictured receiving his award from JoJo and Amanda Phillips, centre manager of The Moor.

COMMUNITY

When I first came to Sheffield as an 18-year-old on a visit to the universities to see if either were places that I wanted to spend the next four years, I did not know what to expect of the city or of its people. When my friend and I predictably got lost looking for a games shop, we asked a random stranger for directions. After starting to direct us he decided that it would be better if he just walked us back to the university. That single act probably had more influence on my decision to come to Sheffield than anything else.

One of my favourite things about Sheffield has always been the people. Overall, I have found that initial experience to have been very much the norm rather than an exception.

I chose to stay in Sheffield after I graduated and have now lived here for longer than I have lived anywhere else and have no intention of ever changing that.

I grew up in a village where everyone knew everyone and although Sheffield is vast in comparison, it definitely has a feel of living in the largest village in the country. Everyone might not know everyone, but they do all seem to know someone in common and it is that wide community feel that I really love about the city.

SECRET

Another thing I love about Sheffield is just how people from outside the area know so little about it.

That somehow even as we start 2020 people still think of it as a grim and grey industrial town.

I have been responsible for bringing people from all over the world to our city and I never tire of hearing how amazed they are by it. By the beautiful architecture of the city centre, the wonderful venues and theatres, how easy it is to get to and just how lovely a city it is Obviously, Sheffield deserves to be known by many more people, but there is something nice about having the place to ourselves.

GREENERY

Having grown up in the countryside I have always loved how much greenery there is in Sheffield. The number of tree lined streets, its many parks and wooded areas and of course the fact that something like a third of the city is within the Peak District National Park.

It seems that a growing number of the people of Sheffield are also enjoying this fact too. On Christmas Day on a walk around our local park I was very pleasantly surprised to see and exchange greetings with around 50 other people. I find the combination of the city’s low-rise nature and its plants and trees help to give it a feeling unlike many large cities, an open, light filled, airy place.

GAMERS

I think as the proprietor of a games store it would be remiss not to include the amazing community of gamers that live in and around Sheffield. Within that iverse community there are myriad small groups that have very different and specific gaming interests. But each of those groups brings their own thing that adds to the larger community.

Over the years we have exposed our community to lots of gamers from all over the world. Each time we do this I am always proud to see just how well we receive and are received by others. In skill, attitude and most importantly in hospitality. No one ever leaves Sheffield feeling that they were not made welcome or well looked after.