I’ve been up north in Manchester today to indulge in a day of retro gaming at an event dedicated to the wonderful world of homebrew games. Playing any number of classic games on older systems is always great, but as i’ve discovered today, playing and discovering new (or at least very recent) homebrew titles with the usual crowd of retro gamers and friends has been bags of fun.
Heading off early on this glorious spring type day…soon to change and was a bit of a (nice) surprise to enter a brief winter wonderland when driving up high in the Pennines.
It’s a shame I only had my phone camera with me, it really was beautiful up here.
No time to waste, got to head off to get my game on.
I must be getting used to finding the Lass O Gowrie pub, the venue of the todays event, as I didn’t need my GPS this time, despite white knuckle ride into the heart of the city centre on a busy Saturday morning – make one mistake and it seems you may be going the wrong way on a one way street :-s
It’s nice to be at ‘The Lass’ again and it’s been a quite a while since I was last here. Eurocon was held here in 2010 and what a great weekend/event that was.
Upstairs, retro computers and consoles were set up and despite this being a small event, there was a whole stash of titles to play. After saying hello’s and catching up my friends I spotted a Vectrex console and Jon’s shoebox stuffed full of Homebrew cartridges.
Scanning through the pile of carts i noticed quite a few here that I’ve not played or have only seen screenshots/YouTube videos. It was great to finally play games like Protector (Defender), Vectrexians (Galaxians) and Omega Chase which looked and played every bit if not better that the Midway classic Omega Race that it’s based on.
VeCaves – never heard of it, but was I in for a treat!
VeCaves is one of those utterly simple yet hugely playable games that becomes very addictive…and I spent ages on this one. Simply press button three to increase your snake, worm,light trail-thingymebob’s altitude or let go of the button let gravity pull you down. With this rudimentary control, you have to dodge and avoid obstacles and try to last as long as you can without hitting anything and your score increases.
VeCaves quickly became very popular with the attendees today and so it wasn’t long before a bit of a of competition was formed. You wouldn’t think by looking at my video footage that I scored the highest (1012)…although in my defense, it was only my second go when I shot this..the sun was in my eye..my controller was faulty etc etc
A really nice collection of Colecovision and Atari homebrew games. Road Fighter on the Coleco was really good as was the Atari 7800 homebrew port – Asteroids Deluxe with its rather novel 2-up battle and co-op mode.
Homebrew gaming on the Acorn Atom computer.
I couldn’t get a good shot of this rather excellent Bomberman clone on the BBC Micro. Shame we couldn’t get the joysticks working properly either.
I had my iPad with me and so I passed it around with c64anabalt running on the Commodore 64 emulator and it appeared to be well received keeping a few busy whilst I practised for the next tournament on a popular event favourite – Castle Crisis on the Atari 800xl.
Now I’ve heard how great this Warlords clone is, especially when played with four players and yet, until today I’ve never played it before (pretty sure i have Warlords for my 2600) Even though i was no match for the pros, it was such a great laugh to play and my thanks to Helen for introducing me to it.
Although the event was quite a small affair compared to others, it’s focus on just homebrew gives it a unique approach and I hope they’ll be many more to follow. It’s something we ought to consider at he Retro Computer Museum.
When I got back home, so hooked on VeCave, I’ve started to research online to see if I could buy myself a copy for my own Vectrex. Sadly, it looks like only 100 copies were ever released and examples have been traded on eBay as high as $1000. Damn shame.