EIGHT stores in Scotland belonging to the award-winning Games Centre video game chain have closed abruptly after the firm went into liquidation.

The chain began in Irvine in Ayrshire 25 years ago. A statement on the website said ‘Goodbye and thanks for the good times’, giving the telephone number of Glasgow-based insolvency firm Begbies Traynor.

The statement said: “Unfortunately Games Centre has ceased trading. We would like to thank all our customers both instore and online for your support over the last 25 years.

“We would like to say a special thank-you the people of Ayrshire for having us as part of your community. For further information please contact Begbies Traynor on +44 (0)141 222 2230.”

Games Centre was a well-respected business within the video games industry and had won several prizes in the MCV awards, the industry’s business ‘Oscars’, achieving the ‘best independent retailer’ award seven-times – including the 2018 award.

Video game retailers have been struggling of late due to the rapid growth of digital downloading of games.

The GamesIndustry.biz website reported that Grainger Games, an independent chain which operated 67 stores across the UK, closed down in March while independent online retailer GameSeek closed earlier this month.

Games Centre’s current co-owner and founder Robert Lindsay told GamesIndustry.biz that the news probably doesn’t come as a surprise because “the whole physical games market has been in decline for a while now and our business costs have risen significantly over the last 18 months. But it is heartbreaking nonetheless.”

Managing director Lindsay was in the news for much happier reasons in 2015 when the television show Long Lost Family re-united him with his Croatian father.

Linday’s mother Mary, who died in 2004, and his father, Mladen Durdevic, met she was 18 and working in London. She did not want to go and live in what was then communist Yugoslavia and she went home to Scotland while Durdevic went back to what became Croatia.

The reunion between Lindsay and his father was one of the most memorable meetings in that series.

It is not known how many jobs will be lost as a result of the closure but last year it had more than 40 employees.

Writing on Facebook, one staff member said: “I’m sorry I haven’t messaged anyone back regarding the Games Centre Irvine situation but I can now say the store is officially closed.

“Thanks for everyone’s constant support and it’s been great to meet everyone and share stories and memories with you all.

“To all my staff I have worked with throughout the years you have all been very special to me and I’m glad to have shared the time I did with you.”

All contacts were being referred to Bebgies Traynor, who have not yet returned a request for comment from The National.