The big one Play:Expo.

This weekend, the UK’s biggest independent gaming expo is back for two days of gaming fun and as I missed last year am rather excited about attending again.

This year looks to be the biggest event that ReplayEvents have hosted and therefore have had to relocated to bigger premises in Manchester instead of at the Norbeck in Blackpool. This new location is perfect for us really as it a shorter journey and Mrs StiGGy is really looking forward to having the entire city to shop whilst I enjoy my ‘nerd-fest’ as she puts it.

This year also see a new format to previous expos and is an amalgamation of four gaming areas. Firstly we have Re.Play which is the main reason I’m going and comprises of 100’s of classic computers, consoles and handhelds all ready to be enjoyed by all. There’s also huge array of classic arcade machines, Jamma cabs and Pinball machines all set to free play and its said that this will be the largest collection of arcade machines in the UK since the heyday of the 80’s arcades…bring it on!

Next we have Now:Play which focuses on more modern gaming systems and exhibitions from the likes of EA, Konami and Nintendo who incidentally will be giving gamers a pre launch play on the new Wii U console. There’s also a stack of competitions and Q&A sessions with a host of developers from today’s game scene.

Next there’s Pro:Play which will host a series of competitions for professional gaming teams and individuals who can battle it out on a range of modern games for large cash prizes. I’m not much of a modern gamer myself but with so much going on I’ll definitely be stopping by to take a look.

Lastly we have CO:Play which is the events Cosplay section and appears to have grown from a small number of dedicated individuals a few year back to whole entourage of cosplay fans.

Getting back to the Re.Play, here’s some of the other stuff happening over the weekend.

Retail Outlets

AmigaKit – Amiga bargains galore!
The Attic Bug – Brand new sealed old stock of many classic games.
Bespoke Arcades – Hope to pick up some new Joys here.
Console Passion
Tech Shack

Independent Developers

LlamasoftNice to see that Jeff Minter will be attending again.
Utopian World of Sandwiches

Homebrew Gaming – This is my kind of place!

Oldschool Gaming
RGCD – Looking forward to seeing what homebrew C64 cartridges they have for sale.
Dave Brown’s Miniature Arcade Cabinets –

Check out that mini Star Wars cabinet…..must have a go!

Jim Bagley’s PacManicMinerMan
Spec Tank from Dylan Smith

Gaming Communities
Northern Lights Pinball

Konami are celebrating 25 years of Metal Gear Solid and they’ll be an interactive exhibition allowing you to play every version from the MSX right up to the latest version on the PS3. I have to admit, shamefully it’s not a series I’m given must time to apart from on the NES and one I keep meaning to look at, especially the almighty PlayStation version.

Talks and Q&A sessions with –

MD of Bitmap Brother, producers of classics games such as Xenon, Speedball & Chaos Engines.

Mark Edmonson, Founder of Reflections Studios who was behind such classics as Shadow of the Beast, Ballistix and the Destruction Derby series.

‘The 30 year war:live’ – This ones going to be hilarious. To mark the 30th anniversary of the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64, this live debate between a collection of famous coders may bring an end to argument that started in school grounds and play fields of my youth. Which is best, C64 or Speccy? I know which camp I’m firmly in, let’s see who’ll win!

They’ll also be a Q&S session with producers of the upcoming videogame documentary ‘Bedroom to Billions’. A kickstarter project I’ve been following with interest so it’s should be good fun to attend this one.

Replay usually have a few surprise guest too so I’m wondering if we’ll see Archer Maclean, Jon Hare and Ben Daglish again? Darren and Co. from Retro Gamer magazine are attending too.

There’s so much more news being released each day it’s going to be one hellava event.

..and of course, there’s the best bit about attending any retro gaming event, the chance to catch up and chat with friends from the retro gaming scene whilst enjoying a game or three.

A common concern amongst fellow retro gamers is that this event may have become TO big and what started off as a hobbiest event with Retro Reunited some four years ago <;see previous post>; which was such a great weekend, will be lost in the sea of corporate sponsorship and reduce it’s ‘retro’ heritage in favour of the latest gaming machines and games. Lets find out.

Check out the dedicated site for details including ticket information –

Maybe see you there?


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