The economics of 2p machines

The pictures have been up since the event itself last weekend, but here’s the “official” post about myself, my Beloved, Spencer and three storage boxes of Oldschool Gaming systems heading off to Play Blackpool. This year we were set up in the corridor to one side of the main hall rather than the entrance which was more noisy (making conversations about the games running with people who were playing them more difficult) but warmer than last year and conveniently placed near where the cosplayers were gathering for photos.

Sadly, there’s just a couple of pictures I took of the heritage trams that passed us on our final journey from hotel to venue on Monday because I ended up suffering with a raging toothache that day and was of absolutely no use to anybody. Since then I’ve been trying to sleep through the pain and have actually visited an emergency dentist to have work done despite a deep-seated childhood phobia, all of which is my excuse for this post and the May workprint being late – there’s not much to say anyway, but it’ll be sorted during the coming week.

Despite my being useless on the Monday, there’s still quite a few pictures from the other two days in the relevant gallery.

Off to Blackpool… again!

Last weekend myself, my partner Sue and our friend Spencer all piled into his car with a couple of storage boxes of retro computing gear and, after a false start and some time on the road, stopped at a little seaside hotel not far from this tram:

But this wasn’t some random trip to the beach; the storage boxes contained some of the Oldschool Gaming computers and we were taking them to put out at Play Blackpool. As regular readers might know, Blackpool was the original home of the Play Expo back when it was called Replay so this was it coming home as it were. And we had a bloody brilliant time; the machines were left to their own devices (Mark “Groovybee” Ball was there on the first day demoing some of his latest Intellivision code and kept an eye on them) and we pootled around looking at and playing whatever took our fancy.

There were lots of interesting people to talk to as well, including Jessie McClure – one of the stars of Storage Hunters, which is shown regularly on Dave – who was there to give a talk about his passion for coin-op arcade machines and how he has a collection that are rented out to local establishments. His talk was combined with a couple of others, one about the Cherry Blossom Inn (a Blackpool seafront hotel with a retro arcade) and the current UK record holder for Missile Command in tournament mode, Tony Temple. Anyway, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

…and a few more galleries have been added at the same time for Revival Mini 2013, GEEK 2014 and the first Leeds Video Game Market – have a look at the galleries page and here’s a picture of a Commodore 8032 to end the post!

Return from Replay 2011

Good grief… this time last week I was in Blackpool in the process of getting set up for Replay 2011!

I was there under the Oldschool Gaming flag and had a C64 with a 1541 Ultimate running Jason Tinkler’s Out-Space, a VIC 20 (which was loading from the C64’s 1541U) which usually either had The Keep or my unreleased 16K version of Lunar Blitz (which i really must get around to cleaning up and releasing) on the go, a Spectrum +2 with a painfully wobbly DivIDE that just about loaded Dingo or Reaxion if you spoke to it nicely, an Atari 800XL equipped with an SIO2SD that spent most of day one running Space Harrier from cartridge and day two showing off my sadly still work-in-progress shooter Callisto with a burst of Mighty Jill Off here and there. And at the end was my partially converted C64GS, running cartridges of Edge Grinder and Blok Copy for pretty much the entire event.

Those were joined by Antiriad’s Oric Atmos which spent some time showing off the nearly complete conversion of Skool Daze, Kenz’s Specadore 64 which had an Easyflash and Prince of Persia for some of the event and Mark Ball’s Atari 7800, which had what was one of only two XM expansion modules connected and was running quite a few games that utilised the shiny new hardware!

OSG was set up in the entrance hall before the doors to the event itself and in the long run that worked out pretty well; the main hall was, as with last year, reminiscent of 1980s gaming events, in other words a cacophony of excited chatter, 8- and 16-bit sounds with PA announcements overlaid. Had we been in there or even the second hall where we were originally pencilled in to be, the odds are I’d not have been able to talk to anybody… and I did a quite frankly scary amount of talking! During the course of the weekend I chatted to all manner of people including James Monkman, Frank Gasking, Sean Connolly, Jason Tinkler, Colin Davies, Jason “Kenz” Mackenzie, Dan Gillgrass, Mark R. Jones, Soren “Sokurah” Borgquist, Jens Schönfeld, Darran Jones, Andrew Fisher, Gasman… the list continues well past the capacity of my memory and I’m surprised my voice didn’t give out completely!

I’d just like to thank the organisers Dave, Gordon and Matt for putting in so much effort to get this event off the ground again, all the volunteers who put time, effort and hardware into making those grand plans possible, everybody who wandered past the Oldschool Gaming stand and stopped to play or chat and Spencer Guest for driving me and the computers there and back. Finally, I didn’t take many pictures because my eyesight was a bit crap during the weekend but here’s the entire Replay 2011 gallery along with all the preamble images from posts prior to the event: