I went to Blackpool…

…and didn’t even get a lousy t-shirt. I did come back from the rather excellent >R3PLAY expo with a 48K Spectrum, though! It’s currently connected to the television in the front room and, once this blog post is sorted, I’m going to take my (t)rusty Compaq laptop and see if it’s possible to load from it as an audio source.

But the Spectrum isn’t the reason for the post, I’m still seriously charged about R3PLAY itself – it was truly an excellent event and blew apart a couple of myths about the niche status of retro gaming, apparently attracting over 1,600 people on the busiest day. Even though we were quite near the front of the queue, walking into that vast, darkened space and the wall of sound, well it was exactly like the Personal Computer World and Commodore shows of the 1980s – in fact, the only real differences were that the machines on display were more battle worn and, unlike the older events, every single person I met was friendly, they were all just happy to be there!

So some thanks: to Sue for coming along with me and having such a good time into the bargain (she spent an hour playing Jelly Monsters on the VIC 20 at one point!), Spencer for driving us there and back and being fantastic company throughout, to all of the people behind the scenes of R3PLAY for being amazing and going so far above and beyond the call of duty to make it what it was (the poor bunnies all looked shattered!), Wayne for finding the Spectrums and Anna for selling me the Horizons tape for a quid, all of the interesting people I chatted to during the two days… I’d list names but the odds of me remembering everybody are pretty low considering how much talking I did and I don’t want to offend anyone!

The only down side to the entire event was that I didn’t get a chance to meet half the people I wanted to (and in a few cases didn’t get much of a chat with those I did find) and that it had to come to an end… but it looks like we’ll all be heading to Blackpool again in 2011 – yay!