Play Expo Blackpool 2016 - So a week has passed & Play Expo Blackpool is over for another year. After a hellish seven hour car journey the day before & then a comfortable overnight stay I was ready to go Saturday morning. Here’s what happened.
Article by RetrogamerDaz (LINKS info below)
Fuelled by a good night’s sleep followed by a double sausage & egg McMuffin I took the short drive Saturday morning to Play Expo. Having just parked in the rear car park I bumped into Paul from the Maximum Power Up podcast & together we made our way into the building.It was still early & over an hour before the official opening time but fortunately once inside I bumped into Chris from this very website (GamesYouLoved of course) who got me in early. I also had the opportunity to meet Henrique Olifiers who is a really nice guy.
Inside it was fantastic to walk around all the different systems & arcades without the crowds. It was also a good opportunity to check out the trade area to see what was on offer. Surprisingly there wasn’t as many game stalls this year compared to 2015 but after getting my Vectrex last month I was never going to go on a major spending spree anyway. The pixel bead art stall was really good with some cool framed Streets of Rage & Punch Out pieces. There was also an awesome looking WWF Wrestle Fest Ultimate Warrior framed piece which caught everybody’s eye. It was great to get in early, wander around & chat with people & in what seemed like no time at all ten o’clock rolled around & in came the crowds of gaming fans.
It was at the beginning of the day that I played the most arcade games. I got some time in with Bezerk, Afterburner, Missile Command, Robotron & of course Star Wars. The collection of arcade games was fantastic this year & was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed playing Bezerk for the first time on a proper arcade cab, I have played it on my Vectrex & on Coin Ops 7 but this was the real thing. The same can be said for Robotron 2084 which I have played before but it is always great to get some game time with the proper cab. It’s interesting that nowadays I am drawn more to the games from the late 1970’s & early 1980’s rather than the 1990’s titles that I spent all my money during seaside trips in my teenage years.
It was shortly after this arcade session that I started bumping into all my retro gaming mates who were now floating around & this ended up with a plan to record a pod cast later on in the day. I accepted the kind offer from Andy Godoy to take part in the RGDS ‘Mega Cast’ podcast recording & headed off to ZX Spectrum talk by Henrique Olifiers.
I really enjoyed the talk & the announcement of the ZX Spectrum Next was really interesting & seemed to get the audience very excited. Being more of a Commodore man at heart I was still drawn into the excitement of the announcement & the images of the system design by Rick Dickinson looked absolutely fantastic. Exciting times ahead for Speccy fans.
Following the talk I ended up taking part pretty much straight away in the RGDS podcast hosted by Andy & featuring loads of fellow retro gamers. It was great fun to take part & a right laugh so do check it out as it is out now. All the guys involved are top fella’s so I’ll quickly send my thanks to: Andy, Matt A, Matt L, Steve, Shaun, Aaron, Barry & Benny.
After finishing the podcast recording I got some food, played some more arcades & then headed back into the trade room area. I ended up buying Armor Attack for the Vectrex & Shell Shock for the Sega Saturn (which sadly didn’t load but a replacement is being sorted) & from there it was time to take the long road trip back home.
The day was a whirlwind but a fantastically enjoyable one. I really could have easily spent the whole weekend at the event just to fit some more gaming time in (maybe next year). I would’ve loved to have spent more time on the arcades but the hours just flew by. I have said it before but the really big pull of the event for me personally is the social side & meeting up with people you only usually communicate with via online.
I would definitely encourage anyone reading this to visit one of the Play Expo events if they haven’t already as it really is a lot of fun. Hopefully I will get to some of the other bigger events also being held this year too as Play Expo Blackpool has certainly inspired me to try. Overall I had a great day out at Play Expo Blackpool so two thumbs up from Daz.
Article by RetrogamerDaz