With the Retro Computer Museum’s British collection of computer to setup this morning I skipped breakfast and headed on down to the Lass early in the morning. Focusing on some of the earlier systems we set about lugging computers and monitors from various car boots forever keeping an eye out for the roaming traffic wardens (parking was incredibly limited).
Jupiter Ace, which at first was very temperamental and refused to work.
Sinclair ZX80 which, thanks to the ingenuity of Richard, was able to load rom images from his iPhone!
Another example of Richards technical skill, his fully home built Acorn Atom.
Sinclair ZX81 running a graphics demo displaying routines though impossible with the limitation of the hardware.
All systems are go! Other computers included were a ZX Spectrum 48k (with Compact Flash addon mod), Dragon64, Oric 1 & Atmos, Amstrad CPC 6128 with addition radio tuner and disk drive mod and a BBC model B for all those Chuckie Egg fans!
With everything setup and ready to go and already attracting quite a crowd in our small room a few of us decided to grab a bite to eat and visit the busy trade stalls that had been setup upstairs.
Mr and Mrs Atari from the Netherlands had brought over a huge collection of Atari goodies and thanks to the large amount of buying I’m hoping they didn’t have too much stuff to take back on the plane. That boxed Atari Lynx 1 was a tempting buy!
Star Wars for the NES, been looking out for this for a while now.
Back downstairs, Eurocon was in full swing with happy gamers taking in the delights of an impressive collection of older consoles. The RCM room was jam packed again so we left them to it whilst enjoying lunch over at the gaming tables.
Sitting opposite Mike as we battled out on a two-up game of Mr Do!
Thankfully the machines were set to free play and i would have spent a fortune on this R-Type machine.
The Lass also had an extensive collection of old computer magazines to browse through, so surrounded with the sounds of vintage machine noice and friendly banter, I settled down to relax with a very old copy of one of my favorite magazines of yesteryear, Zzap64.
Now i mentioned a few post ago, that there was one particular system that I’d not had a lot of exposure to and one that i was deeply falling in love with. This computer is the Oric-1 (and Oric Atmos). I spent most of the late afternoon enjoying the delights of this wonderful little machine and thanks to Karl’s ingenious way of loading games – sound samples of taped games played back at speed via a laptop & MS Windows sound recorder connected to the phono input, was able to play quite a few from his collection.
One such game was Defence Force, a colourful Defender clone that just oozed playability. I was totally hooked on this game and so began the mini competition between myself and Sophie for the highest score. Throughout the course of the evening, we battled out for hours trying to jostle for position. At one point I’d amassed an impressive 86,000 points which had eclipsed her 23,000 only to find whilst nipping to get a drink that she’d beaten this again a stonking 92,00o!
This was fighting talk, I HAD to give it my all on one last attempt. With a crowd gathering, wrists aching and sweating palms i gave settled down for the fight. After about half hour I’d done it with a whopping 112,000 score. I was shattered but my glory only lasted an hour or so as Sophie had to give it one more go. At the end of a frantic hour, she’d beaten me with an incredible score of 263,000 and knowing that I couldn’t even come close i had to concede defeat. One of the best few hours of the whole event.
The final score on Saturday, well done Sophie!
Taking a time out from this epic battle, some of the guest speakers were arriving and one that i really wanted to meet was Bob Wakelin, famed artist who has produced some of the most iconic game box art to grace so many classic games including many from Imagine and Ocean software. For me, his artwork, along with Oliver Frey was synonymous with gaming in the eighties and many a duff games I kept from the bin purely for the stunning box art.
I found him outside having a drink so I plucked up the courage to go and talk to him for a few moments. He was just the nicest chap you could ever meet and chatted with me, Karl and Andy for about an hour regaled stories and anecdotes from his time as a game artist.
Bob Wakelin and myself.
He also kindly signed Andy’s t-shirt which to compliment the other signatures he obtained from various programers and artists.
Bob was also on hand to sign prints of some of his most iconic game covers such as the my favorites, Target Renegade, New Zealand Story, Rastan and Wizball.
Mmm, Target Renegade! – see blog post http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/retro-gaming-target-renegade-sinclair-spectrumc64/
Meeting Bob was the just one of many great moments Eurocon had to offer. Another would be the film crew from Channel Five that dropped by to film a program about Retro Gaming and interviewed a few of us. If we don’t end up on the editing room floor, the camera man I spoke to said the program might aired around December therefore will post any further news as it arrives.
Saturday was such a brilliant and actioned packed day and it wasn’t until getting back to the hotel room I could take stock of all that had happened. Suffice to say, sleep came very easily!