A Geek/Gamer’s Guide to Sweden (and some Money Saving Tips!)
My name’s Karl, I’m from Newcastle in Northern England. The same city that gave the world Geordie Shore, Mr Bean, Earl Grey (The Tea Man!), the Pet Shop Boys, Sting and the actual Hogwarts (Alnwick Castle) just further up the coast! This pic of me you see is when I went to the Legend of Zelda Orchestra at Hovet back in November here!
I’m an Exchange Student at Stockholm University for this academic year and I’m studying Accounting, Finance with a little bit of Politics and Swedish thrown in for good measure! My hobbies include Cosplay, Gaming and Travelling off the beaten track, I’ve been on lots of road trips across with Europe and the USA with my parents and my travel mascot, Yoshi! Even when I started my Exchange Year we drove all the way from Newcastle to Stockholm across the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden!
Sweden is one of the hotbeds of gaming and everything to do with it. Developers like Mojang (Who made Minecraft), King (Who are behind Candy Crush) and EA are all based in Stockholm and there are plenty of professional e-sports players who come from here! I’m a little bit of an addict with anything Nintendo and recently I’ve been getting into Overwatch and Final Fantasy XV as I brought my PS4 over! For those of you who love gaming and don’t have any of their gaming stuff here then fear not! There’s still loads for you to check out!
If you’re into Trading Card Games and Board Games, Dragon’s Lair by Rådhuset on the T-Bana is an Aladdin’s Cave of anything gaming, their basement is full of games you can play with others and make friends with like-minded locals. You get to try out the place for the first time absolutely free and you can buy a “Season Pass” if you feel like you’d be a regular!
Missing your Gaming PC back home and desperate to play some CS:GO or maybe Overwatch? Inferno Online at Odenplan has you covered, you can hire a PC to play your favourite multiplayer games via. LAN for as little as 10kr an hour if you book an overnight session! And yes, plenty of Monster and Rockstar to keep you going through the night!
You’re a fan of Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Anime, Manga or anything Sci-Fi related? Sci-Fi Bokhandeln in Gamla Stan is packed to the rafters with merchandise of all kinds and the odd guest signing, I got to meet Joseph Fink, the author of Welcome To Night Vale (A brilliant comedy/fantasy podcast) a few months ago! There are a few Comic Book stores around Gamla Stan if you keep your eyes open, they all sell comics in both English and Swedish, a great way to improve your Swedish!
One event I recommend is Dreamhack, held in Jönköping (About 200km from Stockholm, you can get there by bus!). It’s the largest gaming event in all of Europe with over 20000 attending over 4 days to game and spectate pro gamers show how it’s done in massive prize money tournaments, you can even bring your own PC/Console and link up to the massive LAN network they have set up and play throughout the entire event. Even if you don’t have your own stuff, there’s plenty of freebies to get, games to play, competitions to enter and people to meet there. Included in your weekend pass is access to the sleeping hall, bring your sleeping bag and airbed and you can sleep in there, saves tons on hotels! The next Dreamhack is on in Late June!
Närcon in Linköping is also a really good anime convention with loads of cosplay, gaming and panels that are held in English and a few special guests too, you can easily get there by train from Stockholm and Linköping is pretty cheap compared to Stockholm too! There are other conventions around Sweden including Kodachicon in Lund, Picacon in Katrinehamn, searching around on Facebook is your best friend as you can find all different Comic Cons round Sweden in places you may never have thought of visiting! All these cons tend to have sleeping halls included in the ticket price or for a little extra!
Later on this semester I’ll be taking the Night Train up to Kiruna/Narvik to enjoy the Midnight Sun, over on cruises to Tallin and Helsinki as well as a couple days in Gothenburg/Oslo too. (I’ve heard Norway is cripplingly expensive so my wallet might cry in agony if I buy a Big Mac there though I’ve been reading up on Tripadvisor on how to do Norway on a budget!)
I thought I’d also add a few of the decent discounts I’ve discovered that you can get with your SUS membership, some of which are somewhat unknown by the masses! Here are some of my favourites below!
· 10% off EVERYTHING at Clas Ohlson
· 60kr tickets at SF Bio (Cinema) every week from Monday to Thursday
· Cheaper coffee at Pressbyrån (Good when travelling by Train!)
· Free “Plus Meny” upgrade and Sauce of your choice at MAX, just order at the front, not the Express Tills! (This even works at the MAX restaurants at Arlanda!)
· 5kr off meals at McDonald’s (Download the app for even more offers!)
· 10kr off meals at Burger King
· 10% off at Wayne’s Coffee
· 140kr each way on the Arlanda Express
· 70% off all food at Panini Internazionale when it’s 1 hour before closing
· Reduced fares on SJ (National Rail), Swebus, Bus4You and Nettbuss
· The cheap (but long) way to Arlanda via Märsta on the Pendeltåg and the 583 bus!
· Prisjakt for finding good deals in general (Perfect if you’re planning of buying something like a new mobile or a large electrical appliance!)
· SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Under 26 Youth Fares
· Take your Student Card with Photo ID when you travel round Europe, loads of Museums and Tourist Attractions offer discount! (I’ve just got back from Berlin and saved a good €25 on museum entry just by showing my Student Card!)
And for those of you who like British Telly/Film, I definitely recommend you check out The Inbetweeners, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Father Ted, Wallace & Gromit, Trainspotting and Planet Earth 2. They’re all classics!
Have a great time while you’re here and happy gaming/bargain hunting!
I’ll leave you with a pic of one of my favourite cosplays of mine, a character called Robin from a Nintendo video game series called Fire Emblem!
Karl (and Yoshi!) J