Press Start to Join – The Event


All eyes of the gaming world were centred on Burgess Hill in Sussex on the night of Thursday 29th October as we, the self-titled ‘End of Level Bosses’ (Hedger and Preece), launched our first video gaming night: Press Start to Join.

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By Dean Hedger & Jon Preece

Having collected video games for a number of years we felt it was only right and proper to give the public the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labour. It also rather nicely served as a way to justify our collections to our long-suffering wives…

The day started in earnest with a breakfast of champions – fry up. Then the van was collected and the loading began. By noon we had the formation of a gaming event in the centre of a decent sized conference room. It has clearly seen its share of corporate training and probably the odd wedding reception or two.

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However this was to be different, very different. The team of press ganged volunteer friends and family arrived and by 6pm we were all set – 26 Consoles surrounding the room – We called it ‘The Hedger Lounge’. 4 player PC LAN humming away nicely with Battlefield 1942. A further 7 consoles with 2 projectors downstairs ready to host the days tournaments – We called that (the rather smutty sounding) Preece Parlour.

The promotion of the event had been communicated over social media and through various local establishments giving out flyers, as well as a guest appearance by the pair of us on Uckfield FM. As complete novices at running events of this nature we (quite involuntarily) started shrieking quite loudly as a queue formed outside, in the rain no less, clearly the result of our efforts. The pressure was now real, we had to deliver the goods.

The doors opened and in they came, gamers in all shapes and sizes, with Mums, with Dads, with friends and some flying solo.

What quickly became clear was we had nailed it. The wow factor was delivering the goods as we heard comments like “Look they’ve got ,” “Wow they have a ,” and “Not seen that for years, fantastic!”

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From the off the consoles were occupied by nostalgic gamers, particular favourites were Phoenix on the Atrai 2600, Mashed on the Xbox, Mario Kart on N64, Micro Machines on PS1 and Diablo 3 on the Xbox 360. This is to name just a few.

There is no way we can convey the great atmosphere in both of the rooms, but it is safe to say that the FIFA tournament was electric. With 12 teams entered on a 2 vs 2 basis, the final was won by Bayern Munich beating Real Madrid 2-1 with an 88th minute scorcher in the top left-hand corner. The Sega tournament brought out the finest gameplay on some classic Sega favourites: The fastest player to complete Sonic the Hedgehog - Green Hill Zone on Megadrive managed it in 27 seconds.

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GamesYouLoved also did some activity for the event - Dean Hedger (pictured) said:

"The GYL team provide nostalgic content in an engaging way and we wanted to bring that to our event. The support from GYL across social media was fantastic and they have helped us deliver a great retro experience for all our guests"

The highest score on Afterburner on Master System was just over 1.3M And the biggest bass caught on Dreamcast was 5.4KG – using fishing rod controller of course. Rock Band on the PS3 turned out to one of the most popular attractions of the night, as former players realised that the old magic was still present in their fingers after many years lying dormant.

Who knows how many different parents were recipients of the question “What is that?” as they walked around the room with their kids, but it was when a nine year-old boy pointed out an Atari 2600 to his Dad and said “I want that for Christmas” we knew we’d done it right. Although quite what the Dad thought about the prospect of now having to navigate eBay to fulfil his son’s wish because of us is anyone’s guess…

The next event is Saturday 5th December in the Martlets Hall, Burgess Hill 4pm till 9pm and we cannot wait.

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