Play Expo Blackpool - It's nearly here!


It’s getting close to that time of year again retro gaming fans. We all start thinking about heading to Blackpool for loads of gaming fun & catching up with the retro community. Play Blackpool is being held at Norcalympia Exhibition Centre from Saturday 30 April to Sunday 1 May - I’m getting excited.

Article by Darren Cater - @RetroGamerDaz

Yes I will be there on Saturday 30th April (along with my GamesYouLoved buddies over the weekend) & after last year’s event I’m really looking forward to it, so much so that I thought it deserved an article from an excited retro gamer (me).

Last year I had so much fun at the event I thought I would share what am I looking forward to this year?

Play Expo Blackpool

Arcades, Arcades & More Arcades

Playing proper retro arcades is always fun but playing them surrounded by other retro gaming fans is something else.

Last year the atmosphere & the low lighting was spot on & it was like being a kid again. There are always loads of classic arcade cabs to play & I can’t wait to play the old classics like Space Invaders as well as other classic titles from the 80’s & 90’s. Pinball machines will also be making an appearance this year too which will be very cool.  

Keep an eye on as more details will be revealed as we get closer to the event. The stand-up Star Wars cab will be making a return again this year which is fantastic news. If you see me on the arcades come & say hi & have a game too just don’t put me off my trench run!

Consoles & Computers

There will be loads of consoles & computers to play as well. This will be a great opportunity to play the systems I don’t own & some of the more unusual systems. Last year there were rows & rows of tables full of retro systems so if you haven’t attended before do be prepared to be blown away. A massive hall filled with classic computers & consoles which are all there to be played is a fantastic sight & experience. I love just walking around looking at all the systems & of course playing them as well. Of course there will also be current generation systems as well if you fancy it.

Jon Hare

Guest Speakers

Jon Hare & Jim Bagley, do I need to say anything else. If you are a similar age to myself these guys were so influential.

Also Henrique Olifiers from Bossa Studios will be on hand to talk about the amazing ZX Spectrum and his love of the ZX Spectrum > 

Henrique Olifiers

Sociable Soccer will be on show at the event & checking out this Sensible Soccer reboot will definitely be worth a look as ‘Sensi’ is a true 90’s classic. You can also try the game as well as taking part in a tournament during the weekend’s festivities. It will great to see John at the event along with this exciting new title.

It will also be great to be able to hear from Jim talk about his experiences in the industry & what he is doing now along with upcoming projects. Jim has worked on so many games including arcade conversions as well as his recent world record breaking conversion of Dragon’s Lair to Sinclair ZX81 (which Jim had on show at last year’s event).

Jim Bagley GWR Play Expo 257X300

I contacted Jim Bagley to ask him a few questions about the upcoming event & here’s what happened.

Is there anything in particular Jim that you're looking forward to this year at Play Blackpool?

Seeing my friends and playing some games and doing my Q&A session.

The event is always a great chance to meet other members of the retro community. Do you think this side of the event holds any similarities to the computer fairs from the early days of home computing?

Yeah it's where like-minded people meet up and can talk about and play games.

As a special guest at this year’s event if you were offered a dressing room with a backstage retro gaming rider & could choose 2 arcade cabs what would you ask for?

If that were the case I'd ask for Scramble and Point Blank 2, hold on a minute you mean that's not the case? Lol.

There's always tournaments at the event are there any games in particular that you'd think you could do well against other gamers?

There's a few, Scramble, Mr Do! Point Blank 1 & 2, Pacman but Jon Stoodley would destroy me ha-ha.

Last one & nothing to do with Blackpool but a question from my 6yr Son Dom (a young current gen & some time retro gamer) - how should I start making a game?

Use something like Game Maker from Yoyo games, or Scratch where it's a drag and drop system to get you started in learning how game designing and logic works.

Thanks to Jim for answering my questions.

Lots of Stuff to Buy

Bring plenty of cash if you’re planning a spending spree because there will games, games & more games to buy from all the various traders. I’ve gone a bit crazy buying stuff of late so we’ll see what happens when I get to Blackpool. I do like a bargain & last year if you shopped around between the stall’s you could certainly find some. I’m thinking perhaps a few Sega Saturn titles might be on the agenda but I’m sure anything could catch my eye. I’m a bit of a sucker for a cool looking T-shirt or two as well so I’m looking forward to what unusual designs might be on offer.

Play Blackppol 2015

The Social Side

This is what I’m really looking forward! This event is a bit of a big meet up for the retro community. Last year I met loads of different people & it is always nice to meet people I interact with all the time on Twitter for example. Guys & girls from Twitter, YouTube & podcasters will all be there so it should be fun & great opportunity for a chat. Hopefully some games will be played with these guys as well. It’s always interesting to hear other retro gamers discussing what games they’ve seen for sale, discussing prices & what they may or may not purchase. It’s also a good opportunity to talk about what people have got happening in their gaming lives & just have a good catch up. I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of the people I already know who are scattered across the UK & hopefully meeting some new people too. The social side of this event is really fantastic with gamers surrounded by games & arcade cab’s what else could you want?

Cosplay Fun

It’s always fun to see the cosplayers & what characters they’ve decided to appear as. I have never done anything like this myself but will you? To be honest I don’t think I have the time to plan a costume based on one of my fandoms but it’s certainly fun to see Storm Troopers or Street Fighter characters wandering around the event. Like last year I’m sure the Cosplay masquerade will be worth a watch whilst having a beverage break.

So Much More

Of course there’s loads of other stuff going on as well with gaming tournaments also playing a part as well as board games & an F1 simulator but I’m being selfish & going on about what I’m specifically looking forward to. I’m not much of a tournament player but it is always interesting to see & I’m sure the indie developers will amaze me with something they’re showing. Overall I’m really looking forward to my day out at Play Blackpool & all it has to offer this year. Keep an eye on this very website after the event as I will be writing about my experience at the event & I’m sure other cool content won’t be too far away either.

Off to Blackpool we go & hopefully see you there.


On Twitter: @RetroGamerDaz
YouTube: The Daz Channel
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