play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

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markopoloman
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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by markopoloman » Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:11 am

Not really an autograph person but had a good chat with him - what a superb guy! Grabbed a quick photo with him too. He said Red Dwarf 11 & 12 are on the cards :D
The event itself is awesome. Massive. Humongous!
I'll be wearing a play expo staff t shirt again today and hopefully will be in the retro area - just look for black shoes, jeans, expo t shirt and a beard! (maybe grey hoodie if not on duty).
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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by samhain81 » Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:19 am

Decent Enough on Saturday. Nowhere near as good as last year though. Really disliked the floor plan this year, and the fact that current generation hardeware/software was pretty much slapped in your face when you went in, on top of which took up way too much floor space at the front for my taste. Also didn't like that the Arcades/Pinballs were separated from each other, when they were basically back-to-back last year. This made finding my oldest brother (who loves pinball) quite difficult. Glad I only got the one day in the end. Might not go next year if the layout and precedence of current generation hardware is the same

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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by psj3809 » Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:04 pm

Well i could only make it the one day on saturday but had a great time.

As usual good to meet a lot of the gang. Its amazing how huge the place is ! I actually liked the layout, felt there was a lot of space around by the pinball machines and the arcade games. Previous shows seemed a bit more 'tight' but this was nice and spacious. Lots of retro machines laid out, lots of PC's playing old classic games as well. Sounds like you cant please them all, the layout was fine for me, no way i would not go just because of any of those issues. All good. Good to see the Attic Bug gang as usual.

I totally dont get that youtube 'sensation' Syndicate. There was a massive queue waiting to see him/get his autograph, bizarre ! Had a quick look at his videos on youtube and i dont 'get' the love for him at all, must be an age thing as the youngsters couldnt wait to see him.

Funny chatting to that K9 guy, didnt realise he was the original Bungle !! £15 an autograph seemed quite cheap compared to Comic Con shows my friend goes to where some celebs ask for much more.

Also met 'Mr Stern' of Stern Pinball, very friendly guy and i got a photo with him. Good to chat to Steve Pickford and John Gibson. The Speccy vs C64 chat was very amusing and well presented by Paul Drury.

Had a good chat with some iOS developers, theres a great 'Final Fight/Double Dragon' style game coming out early next year.

Amazing how big the show was. Had a go on quite a few arcade machines and pinball machines, loved it. Nice to see the usual gang, sadly didnt meet any new RG people but the place was huge ! Gutted i was only there one day

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RetroBob
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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by RetroBob » Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:16 pm

The organisation seems to improve each year - talks seemed to be a success with good turnouts at least for those I saw and also with a decent PA system not drowned out by other areas - times were publicised online but I didn't see any promotion inside the venue. Food issue (smelly vans) had been fixed last year so that was the same.

Did anyone go and talk to the 'lesser' celebs? All I saw as a queue for Chris Barrie. Also there was a crazy queue for what turned out to be some chump from You Tube... what the censored??
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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by psj3809 » Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:27 pm

RetroBob wrote:Did anyone go and talk to the 'lesser' celebs? All I saw as a queue for Chris Barrie. Also there was a crazy queue for what turned out to be some chump from You Tube... what the censored??
Yeah i did feel sorry for Boba Fett as his queue seemed non-existant but Chris Barries was huge. And yeah i agree with you about 'Syndicate'. I'm so old when i heard there was a stand for Syndicate i thought cool theres a new game coming out but nope, it was a cool 'youtube star' for the 'yoof' !

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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by Havantgottaclue » Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:08 pm

Just got back from Manchester. I have to say it was a terrific event, really enjoyed every minute of it. I took my dad this time, and I practically had to drag him away from the place. I've only been to a handful of events - I still remember the first one, at Leamington Spa Rugby club. That was a nice cosy event, but this was a very different kettle of fish - tons of machines to play on, and quite a few things I've not played before. Although it was busy there was always something free to play on. The rarer machines were in plentiful supply - I had a go on a Sam Coupé, Enterprise and FM Towns Marty, three machines I've not played on before. The FM Towns machine had a fantastic shooter on it, but I don't know the name because I can't read Japanese. Anyone else know what it was?

I was fascinated by the Fuze machine - I have a Raspberry Pi but up to now it has been used primarily for XBMC, although I have fiddled around with RiscOS a bit because I had a lot of fun with the Archimedes machines back in the day. It was way behind the Amiga and ST in the home of course, but ARM have found a way into (nearly) everyone's pocket - who could've foreseen that? I also loved the Fuze BASIC programming - it really just resonated with my days programming BBCs at lunchtime. I didn't get around to buying a kit for my Pi but it is in my bookmarks and maybe I will treat myself at Christmas.

Of all the games I saw, my favourite was Soul Star for the MegaCD - I thought the scaling method was so smooth, it was a fantastic achievement for the Megadrive.

It was nice to chat with TMR and playing his game Callisto, which is a great piece of work on a machine that I gather has a few technical difficulties with producing that sort of game. And great to catch up with Markopoloman and sons of course - if there is another RetroRevival in August in Wolverhampton, I'll be aiming to be there and I expect I'll be bringing the old man as well!
Soon you will have forgotten all things: soon all things will have forgotten you. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 7)

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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by ReplayRetro » Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:46 pm

Well regardless of whether or not my opinion matters i've voiced it every year so i'll do so again :) this year i only went for the saturday and so my review is based on that

Firstly a massive massive improvement on the entry and queuing, the doors opened on time and the line was moving at a steady pace, far better than previous years which have always gone wrong so seriously i cannot give enough praise of this. i did however miss getting a wristband as it was always a nice souvenir of sorts but i imagine this was done to make entry quicker? so i can understand it. One thing you need to be careful with though is nobody actually checked my ticket, my girlfriend was in front of me and hers was scanned, i was then about to show mine but the guy just wondered off (this was within 20 mins of door opening so still many people to go) from conversations i've had its clear that this happened to several people, including at least one person who was in the pay on the door line and didn't end up having to pay, again i'll assume this is related to wanting to be quicker but if you end up losing money then its not great and why in hell the guy scanning tickets just wondered off and let me (and presumably others) in with no proof of ticket is beyond me, many people next year may decide just to chance it? so now you've created a potential problem.

next up Screen Play, obviously this was a new thing and it was pretty cool really, quite small for now but the vehicles and props etc were interesting enough, will be interesting to see how it grows if it becomes a permanent feature of the show.

Cosplay, thank god that improved! last year was as has been mentioned before a bit of a farce with a very late start and the worlds most boring talk preceding the masquerade show, this year however it was back to the standard of previous years, the audience got what they came to see and the whole thing was much more streamlined, good to see Ziggy taking charge again, no doubt this explains the success, hoping to see more entries next year now that the pretentious feel of last year is gone, with any luck more people will feel they can give it a try and get involved with the masquerade.

Onto the layout, the show floor felt a little disjointed to me this year with the areas not all that clearly defined, in my head the show lends itself very easily to a crystal maze sort of layout (though im sure in reality its bloody hard to plan these things out so i hope nobody takes this to heart, i just personally found it a little hard to find stuff i'd stumbled across earlier, and the lack of a map didn't help (is it just in my head or have we had maps before? infact i'm pretty sure we've had schedules and other such things too?) some layout stuff was good though like Projector Games, good to see these guys getting a proper bit of space again, its felt like they've been downgraded every year to the point where last year they were projecting onto a rag in the middle of nowhere, but this year they were truly back on form and i loved it, was also great to see the Video Game Carnival grow again, those guys bring a truly unique experience to the show and i can't wait to see what delights they have for us next time.
It was however a pity to see no big developers or manufacturers set up at the show this year, Nintendo have always played an active part in previous expos and i feel that their absence this year was highly notable, we've also seen EA make a big impression before as well Sony, but this year nothing really, other than the indie devs who put in a massive showing so kudos to them working hard to promote their games. obviously i acknowledge that the expo team can hardly force large companies to come, but its a pity they didn't manage to secure anyone this year.

On the trading front things have definitely improved again, it felt like there were more traders than ever, more stuff to buy, more price competition and far more things to separate me from my money so that's all good, i think a few traders were missing from previous years though, including Retro Game Base but i assume this is just because such people didn't wish to attend this year? the traders felt a lot more organised as well, nice rows that could be easily browsed so as not to miss anything, this definitely helped, though again i feel the show floor map would have been very useful here to really help me remember where i'd seen stuff as i did lose track a few times of which way i was facing (it would also mean i could remember the name of the store i now wish i'd bought stuff from, does anyone remember a shop called hyper something? they sold framed box art prints??) Food wise though things have taken a step back, i enjoyed the variety last year whereas this year while there were 3 different food places (i think?) it was impossible to tell which you were queuing for because for some reason their signs and menus were on the floor against the counters behind where people were walking rather than being near the front of the queue which seemed a little odd to me, could they not have been hanging up somewhere more visible? although the food i had was very nice and i think fairly priced for an event like this, and to be fair it had to be better than the early days of the expo with the foul smelling corridor in the Norbreck :p

All in all this years expo was definitely a success again so full credit to the team for pulling it off yet again, i've been every year without fail and will continue to do so, however it didn't quite feel the same this year to me, it almost felt smaller? i don't know if that's because in my head i built it up so much or because it genuinely was smaller but something definitely wasn't quite right, i'd say the last 2 have been better somehow (though many aspects of this years expo were far far superior) i look forward to seeing how the expo grows and again i want to massively congratulate the Replay Events team for making it happen once again, good work all

. . . and if anyone remembers the name of that shop please let me know :)
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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by TMR » Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:01 pm

Home, knackered, big grin, hello lots of lovely people, going to pass out in a corner now. =-) Also, photos.

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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by sscott » Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:09 pm

Was nice to take my son to an event, only saw a few people there (incliding TMR, Felegekarp, woody cool, resident Paul and Boggy), he spent a lot of time on the arcade versions of Mr. do! And Bombjack (good choices) but I am sure there were a lot of people roaming around I didn't see.
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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by flatapex » Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:11 pm

My 2ps worth....
Did both days as i did last year, different experience as last year we got a cheap hotel room, this year the hotels were so expensive.

The layout was interesting, a map would have been great as we spent ages initially getting our bearings, at least the areas were clearly defined.

I spent some time at the retrocollect stand, great place, thinking of offering assistance if required for blackpool.

The pinballs were better this year as they seemed to be lots more working ones. Arcade machines were great.

Would personally have had screenplay in the hall with the lights in the curtains (event city regulars will know what i mean) and stalls grouped by what they sold.

Overall it was a great event
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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by sscott » Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:16 pm

flatapex wrote:My 2ps worth....
Did both days as i did last year, different experience as last year we got a cheap hotel room, this year the hotels were so expensive.

The layout was interesting, a map would have been great as we spent ages initially getting our bearings, at least the areas were clearly defined.

I spent some time at the retrocollect stand, great place, thinking of offering assistance if required for blackpool.

The pinballs were better this year as they seemed to be lots more working ones. Arcade machines were great.

Would personally have had screenplay in the hall with the lights in the curtains (event city regulars will know what i mean) and stalls grouped by what they sold.

Overall it was a great event
A few people I spoke to wanted to meet you but how would anyone have known?
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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by Sputryk » Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:19 pm

I don't know if it was down to my lack of attendance since the final year at Norbreck, but I felt underwhelmed by this year's event. I just couldn't get in to the spirit of it all. Sure, I had fun (who doesn't, reliving misspent youth in the arcade?), but there was none of the air that Norbreck had (and I'm not referring to anything fetid, or the coastal aroma). It was just one big...thing; whereas Blackpool was like being round a mates house (big house, with lots of mates). Or am I just getting old?

Only spotted SirC of everyone on here I recognise, and he was deep in conversation with someone. At Norbreck I lost count of the number of RG'ers that I recognise. I'm sure I will have passed some of you. Anyone who saw: backpack, houndstooth sports jacket, jeans, glasses, balding, Battle Royale t-shirt - that was me. And for long enough I had a large square of paper sticking out of my top pocket with my RG name on it. Maybe next year, eh?

Great to get some goes on the Outrun hydraulic - I want one! Don't have room for one, but.... As for most of the others, having gotten so used to using keys to play at home, I've lost the knack with a stick! Must do better.

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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by markopoloman » Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:40 pm

Well, that was a long weekend! 578 miles of driving but well worth it :)

The event layout, I thought was so much better than last year. The Retro section was absobloodylutely massive and very well thought out/set up.
The huge amount of PC's linked together is something that really really needs sorting better next time though. Whoever these guys are that run it need to be more polite and honest rather than the attitude of not giving a toss that their machines were not even turned on 3 hours into the event! :evil: The excuse that they had no power... when all the monitors and PC's had power lights turned on!
Didn't really get involved with the arcades or Pinball sections (as mostly staffed the retro section) but they looked great.
Odd bunch of people in the big seated area behind the retro section - looked like 300 people playing snap and getting very excited :lol:
The shops were very good and set out well although I didn't buy anything.
Now play was a sea of PS4's so held little interest - and when I got lumbered with manning the over 18's PS4 zone and looking at the dire games being played, my return to retro was like a trip from hell to heaven. These poor kids looked in to see what their parents were playing on and all I could say to them was 'not worth looking as they are only playing some football game!' There were driving games too and some FPS's - but really just a load of generic modern crap.
The competition corner was a better idea - a separate place to register and play. I was getting a barrage of questions from paying customers asking where they sign up and others complaining some comps were not on due to equipment not working or not enough controllers (Xbos360 ring mainly).
Celebs.... Oh yes! Chris Barrie was such a great guy to talk to and really down to earth. He was very nice and let me and my mate Milton get a photo with him (no charge). Then there was Craig Charles who at first seemed a little self important and insisted that £15 be paid for a photo of him before we could snap a shot.... but after quite a lengthy chat and telling him we were just poor unpaid staff he agreed :D Really nice guys and even better, both confirmed Red Dwarf 11 & 12 will be on the way!!!!!!!!
Beer £3.50 a pint - not too bad. Crap beer though. Food was pricey but ok.

Overall and almost exceptional weekend. Why almost? It's a long drive with my sons and best friend that we do every year and we always offer to help (yes it gets us free entry - but that's not why we do it). I've been a part of this retro community event thing since Boyo started his and I feel like part of the family, but with a large amount of 'free help' not turning up/off sick, the organisers were obviously stretched to the limits - and to the point where me and my boys were split up to work in different areas :(
Maybe it is time to employ these helpers? More would turn up and more would offer to help. As for next year - I'm in two minds as to what to do. Part of me is very attached to the whole thing but part of me says 'nah, pay for a ticket and just go play games and have some fun' as that is what we ultimately go there for. I wonder who does get paid at these events? We were drafted onto 'paid' staff 2 years ago and never received a penny - I just hope that someone is getting some form of wages out of these as I can't see them not bringing a large amount of money in!

Oh, and the C64 vs Speccy chat was brilliant. The outcome of 50/50 in the votes was slightly dubious!!! I believe the C64 won as the person counting the Speccy votes was non other than speccy loving Martyn Carroll :shock: So you can't trust his counting :lol:

At the end of the day though we had an amazing weekend and met up with some great old friends and new ones too, played loads of games and ate too much. Looking forward to the next one.
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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by markopoloman » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:53 am

To add to the above, id also like to thank Dave, Gordon, Helen, Simon, the man in a leopard skin shirt, Matt and the rest of the team for the hard work and effort put into organising these events.
And finally got to meet flatapex after much hunting! Its amused me that I've been calling him flat-a-pex all this time and it turns out its flat apex :lol: Obvious now I think about it!
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Re: play expo, manchester, october 11-12 2014

Post by psj3809 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:09 am

Sputryk wrote:I don't know if it was down to my lack of attendance since the final year at Norbreck, but I felt underwhelmed by this year's event. I just couldn't get in to the spirit of it all. Sure, I had fun (who doesn't, reliving misspent youth in the arcade?), but there was none of the air that Norbreck had (and I'm not referring to anything fetid, or the coastal aroma). It was just one big...thing; whereas Blackpool was like being round a mates house (big house, with lots of mates). Or am I just getting old?
I get what you mean but what i like is that you have a choice now, theres much smaller events which are great, theres medium sized ones and also a whopper like this. I try and go to a few over the year and again its all sizes (NERG was limited to 900 people for example). I quite like the mix you get and also i'm happy to see how popular these shows are. Love walking past someone playing on an arcade machine and hearing them saying 'i used to play this when i was a lad' or seeing some dad with their 7 year old son, the lads playing on Manic Miner and loving it and you see the look on the dads face of 'yes i've got him into retro'

But i'm getting old, i dont 'get' Cosplay at all, even more so i dont get the love for that youtuber either

But again great to meet a fair few RG people, shame we only get together every 6 months or a year !

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