Bingo might typically be an old-fashioned game for those with purple hair and a desire to have a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit rather than a cocktail and a shot, but no one seems to have told the folk at Hijingo that. This is not the bingo that your grandma used to play, so don’t even bother turning up if you’re hoping for a sedate evening dabbing off the numbers as they’re called. Instead, this is described as a ‘multi-sensory experience’ that combines the game itself with stadium-grade lighting, live entertainment and motion graphics that will blow your mind.
This isn’t a boring night out. This is an adrenaline-fuelled time with partying and dancing. Cocktails will flow as the bingo calls are mixed in with choreographed dancing. You don’t so much attend a night at Hijingo as you do experience it, with floor-to-ceiling LED lighting and dancers wearing futuristic headgear that will have you wondering what year it is. Depending on how much you tend to be immersed in what you’re experiencing, you might well find that you even question what planet you’re on, such is the extent to which this is an all-in night of fun.
The Theme Explained
Hijingo was created by Adam Breeden of Social Entertainment Ventures in association with James Gordon from Rebel Bingo; the names of both companies will give you some sense of what you’re likely to experience. The whole idea of this is that it gives you a feeling as though you’re playing bingo in the future. You will not be sat around in front of printed out cards with your dabber, sedately marking off the numbers as they’re drawn. Instead, this is a game that is based around high-tech play and offering a sensation that you’re actually playing 100 years from now.
The arena that Hijingo is played in can host up to 200 people, so you’re not going to be playing with just one or two others. Before the games even begins there will be dancers on the stage, setting the theme and getting everyone into the mood. As a sign of how this isn’t just like normal bingo, if you win then you’ll need to remember to shout ‘Hijingo’ rather than the old-fashioned ‘bingo’ term. The whole thing takes place in a purpose-built venue that has been designed to be as exciting and immersive as possible, meaning it is nothing like you’ll have experienced before.
Drinks Before You Even Enter
The Hijingo bingo hall, if you can call it that, is located down in the basement of the venue. Before you get there you’ll spend some time in the Lucky Cat Bar, which feels like something out of Blade Runner or some other futuristic film. High above the bar is a big clock counting down the time until the doors will open and you’ll be welcomed into the arena proper, so take advantage of your time here to have a few drinks and enjoy yourself. There are low and no-alcohol options for those that don’t drink, with plenty of exciting cocktails for those that do.
The entire point of Hijingo is that it is supposed to be an immersive experience, with even the food and drink being served in a way that will make you think that you’re not in the current year but instead well in the future. When it is time to head down for the bingo experience itself, you’ll go down the Showtime Tunnel, which probably offers you some sense of what it is that you’ve got yourself in for. They view it less as a bingo-playing experience and more like a chance to get you entirely engrossed in what it is that they are offering, so be prepared to be blown away.
The Bingo Is Out of This World
Heading into the bingo arena feels like you’re in a totally different world. The dancers are dressed up like they’re in Daft Punk, whilst the venue itself has LED lighting floor-to-ceiling. This is edge of your seat stuff, allowing you to be completely immersed in what you’re doing to the point that you’ll probably forget you’re even there to play bingo until the numbers start flashing up in ginormous form on the big screens all around you. The prizes on offer are great, with the music being thumping and ensuring that your pulse will be racing whether you’re a winner or not.
On a standard night at Hijingo you’ll have six chances to win across 90 minutes of play, so there are loads of opportunities to win. Rather than following the normal thing of having 90 numbers to look for, your bingo cards tend to be adorned with patterns, adding to the sense of it all being a little bit futuristic. There are three levels of prizes, so you can win everything from free drinks to designer jackets, cash prizes to European holidays. That you can choose to get a bottomless brunch depending on when you’re going probably tells you everything that you need to know about your bingo experience.