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PlayExpo 2017 Weekend

PlayExpo 2017 Weekend Our 6th year at PlayExpo Manchester and what a blast! There really is no soaking it all in when you go to an event like this, that has such a variety of stuff. If you were stood there and thought where to go next, you may end up having 2 giant hands come down through the ceiling and just rip you to bits and then a mouth appears and says ‘well that’s what you asked for’ because you simply can’t be where you want to be at any point. Take a breath, grab a pint and ponder where you would be if you hadn’t. So this year, I was fortunate to finally meet (another) Neil aka @Retrogamersclub, we’ve gotten kinda close on Twitter recently and it seemed the perfect time for that to happen. After a 3 hour drive from Nottingham, Friday night, Neil and I headed for the Trafford Centre to hook up with a couple of other friends, Richard and Rob, who visited my pit of depravity last year. We went for a quick meal because the two Amigo’s were starving and then moved on to Namco in pretty swift fashion to check out some games. It’s rather glorious in the Trafford Centre, reminds me of a Sultan’s Palace or somewhat and Neil did seem to be overly impressed. For a second I did consider asking the boys if they wanted a game of ten pin but quickly dismissed it because they really didn’t do all that driving or planes (Rob comes from Holland) and after a brief recon mission, Richard and Neil jumped straight on Pac-Man (pretty sure there was a bit of Galaga first) whilst I just had to try the AMC machine of The Walking Dead. You can pitch me a tent at this point because I’d quite liked to have messed about with that game way more than I did. The odd pint occurred with my better half collecting us around 11pm.                       Day 1 Saturday morning ran smoothly and we arrived in plenty of time. As we were all Press for the Expo, we were in the hall very early at 9.45am or so, the beauty of no queues. The queue system had moved indoors, a wise move I thought for those pre-processed for tickets, but we breezed right past the lot. We headed straight for the arcade section which get’s rather busy, jumping on AfterBurner (premium version) and continued to play in this section for quite a while. Neil hit the pinball almost instantly as it demands massive attention, he had a lot of fun in that section both days. The overwhelming urge to meet up with people took a grip so it was a quick reckie of the car-park (the usual meeting place at Play) and we headed back in and scanned the entrance area for indie games, saying hello to the usual Dev’s from MakinGames (Raging Justice’s Nic and Anna) and asking how the Xbox One port was being received. I was determined I would get a shot at that game version after missing out at EGX and being an Xbox gamer but at a later time. We trawled the whole middle section after that, checking out the trader stalls where I bought a Sega Saturn Arcade Racer steering wheel, followed by the GamesYouLoved area for a bit of a meet and greet then literally back in the arcades. At this point, I knew I would have to break off from the pack if I was going to see more Indie games but we were having too much fun as the rat-pack so it never came. We soaked the odd beer up when hunger struck at 2pm and the rest of the day vanished as we had to leave by 3.30pm to grab food at a hotel before going on to Arcade Club. Arcade Club is another story for another day.   Day 2 Sunday morning also started well, however as we went for the door, we were confronted by an ‘over-keen’ security guard that told us “You never came in the Expo before 10am yesterday” funny that, we had pictures at the back of the hall at 9.48am so guess who’s wrong there dumb-ass! I guess someone never got their oats. We wasn’t prepared to argue, so skipped hand-in-hand across to Krispy Kreme for a coffee. Whilst there, we thoughtfully bought the Expo staff 12 Donuts and it appeared we were given 12 more, however, my £6.49 bill mysteriously turned into £11 so I take it back, maybe I paid for them without asking, seriously no idea but the guy was nice enough serving, so who cares? Balancing 2 boxes of Doughnuts, we made our way back, plonking them on the Press desk (after sneaking one out to a security guard round the front entrance). It’s nice to be nice and ‘thanks for the hard work so far’ but we gotta go lol. Back inside, after missing Darth Maul thankfully, it was more of the same, however of course, it was Cos-Play day, which always makes things more interesting. On a side note, PlayExpo seems to be consistently busy but Sunday’s do seem to draw in the merchandise buyers. Luckily there seemed to be more ‘free-roam space’ this year. I’m not sure if the trader stalls had been cut or it was just the layout, but it seemed much easier to view things even as people shopped. One to remember for future Expo’s right there in my opinion…. Pretty soon the 2 panels we had been looking forward to, came round. Goldeneye to start with and as both Neil’s had purposely purchased boxed games, we were intent on getting them signed. I had positioned 8ft from the RHS of the stage speaker for maximum clarity with 2 recording devices. Some other poor sod had gone for the view and was destined for echo. You may spot us both walking back from a crowd of people towards camera, that was the point where DURING the event (49:50), I actually went on stage sneakily during the voting confusion by the hosts and got both signed. We did have a giggle about that because everyone else tried the same but were put in place. Cheeky Cheeky Very Cheeky… After lunch, it continued with the Spectrum Panel, however unfortunately, at home, my SD card reader went faulty and decided to wipe all my other interviews and all my pictures so promptly went in the bin and was replaced by a better one. Needless to say, this ruined the latter part of my recording day as I had multiple other interviews. Late Sunday afternoon was all about the merchandise, where I spent a shocking amount of money buying T-Shirts and Hoodies for everyone in our party, plus my daughters. All I got was a stupid Dev signed boxed, absolutely adorned, Goldeneye and a Sega Wheel that adds to my Saturn boxed collection, too bad eh? Ah well, there’s always PlayExpo 2018 and I for one, am already looking forward to it. For this one? It’s a strong 9.4/10. Adios Amigos.

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My Top 5 Favourite Retro-Gaming Consoles Ever For Real

These are My Top 5 Favourite Retro-Gaming Consoles. Sometimes I look on YouTube and see channels reeling off top 5 this, top 10 that and know full well that’s it’s total bait and a way to get conversations going and arguments started. When I consider my top 5 consoles, I prefer a much more relaxed and sombre affair, with only a relatively brief amount of reasoning involved, simplistic if you will. I would rather it was like considering a red wine than being severe reeling of the fishing rod by having extrovert views. On that note, here is my top 5 consoles.   Has to be the Sega Mega-Drive. It had some awesome games that hold strong even today and the value of the games haven’t gone absolute nuts and that’s why it made the list.       The Nintendo Entertainment System. Although the games have gone up in price, it’s older than the SNES and the carts don’t tend to come in at stupid prices. It’s 8-bit which is awesome and that is that!     I’m going to have to call a few people out here I’m afraid by saying Xbox Original. It was Microsoft’s 1st Gen of consoles and was hackable, plus it is 16 years old now since release. You are free to disagree. Coin-ops one of these though and you are in serious game heaven!       I simply love the Vectrex. It’s virtually a portable full system. How many consoles can you say in 2017 that can use a black & white TV, use cards to add colour OR use vector’s? Not to mention it has a thriving 3rd party developer-base TO THIS DAY. The owners even made the games Public Domain Property… they loved it so much, it was offered up so future generations could enjoy them. Simply Awesome!     I never owned a Nintendo Game & Watch in my youth, however when my kids grew up and I had money (I was poor as a teen), like a lot of those that missed the release by decades, I fell in love. Simplistic LCD, beautiful boxes and a range of games to die for. I have tried not to include expensive or over-priced games in here, however, we all have indulgences and I’m no Monk to spending money. I only own 3 but I hold them all in high regard. One day I may stand there like this guy! THE AWE.   Anyone that knows me, knows I pretty much love all consoles and grew up playing mainly Atari, Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64. Now I could probably have added N64, however Super Nintendo is being hunted and sold by eBaY Sniper’s and I hate it so I don’t want to recommend it as a top 5 console. I’m sure this happens on almost every retro anything these days, so I wanted to add diversity under the retro section whilst ensuring it gave an education of gaming for the younger generation, which is important to me and likely the community that I spend most of my time with. I also love the simpler games that have the ability to keep you ‘hooked’ and if you can get a similar sense of a great purchase and fun as you do an education, I’m more for that, than pointing out the same top 5 games list most of the glam-whores more than likely have in their top 5 trying to look cool and who advertise on their site. We chose to remove adverts a long time ago and should probably try other routes, however, I would rather pay happily for my server than expect a younger generation to think they HAVE to help to be part of it. I will build a Patroen, I’d rather you just enjoyed my reasons for picking these fine consoles and have fun.

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A Piece Of The Pi

Several months ago, an Indigogo campaign was launched, promising ‘retro-gaming simplified’ ‘4K graphics’ and ‘custom OS firmware’ and it was all a lie that totalled over $600,000 and ended up being RetrOrangePi on a stolen (edited) operating system. Due to the planning put into the layout of the system, users will have to download the operating system themselves, negating ‘distribution’ violation in a crude interface designed by Doyodo that made the campaign. it certainly wasn’t right for that to happen, however, that is what followed on the RetroEngine Sigma. After the initial outrage of people discovering what the system would have cost to put together themselves and (of course) dumping the OS in favour of the original version, the system isn’t half bad at all, though, there is a huge possibility of a class action lawsuit being faced for ‘taking the piss’. Orange Retro Pi is pretty much how it sounds, a take on Raspberry Pi, but for a board it’s size, it really can deliver retro gaming in HDMI via emulation a lot cheaper than building a PC or buying a laptop. Now I admit this is somewhat of a by-product of stolen funds which cost each user $100 or £70 rather than going to Ali Express where you can buy a whole kit for $26 but it essentially forced people to learn something they might never have bothered with. In my mind, Raspberry Pi was something for coders, a board which took programming skills to even use, one of the main reasons I never even looked into it and this turns out to be totally false. It’s as simple as downloading an image, flashing a 16 or 32GB SD card via USB and you have your operating system done already. Just load a bunch of Roms into a mirrored folder of the SD card (go into each emulator and it tells you the folders to build) and in about 20 minutes you can be HD retro-gaming for the price of 3 sets of fish & chips on Blackpool promenade. It’s a pretty cool concept! Whilst a lot of us feel pretty betrayed, especially the less than tech savvy who this architecture has posed a nightmare for, I’m not going to bitch and whine because whilst they were deceptive bastards, they did manage to open my eyes to Pi and I guess whilst figuring out their shitty methods of connecting your WiFi, we learnt a little bit along the way (mainly to fuck it off and get the real version, throwing in a Bluetooth keyboard). That’s about it folk, I can’t bitch about something that fascinates me – I will leave that to those that feel harder done to. Orange Pi Lite is actually a little bit of genius that I certainly want to try out, plus it plays NES right through to PS1 and possibly some of the lesser resource intensive N64 games. What’s not to like other than Doyodo?

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Are We Paying For Nintendo Plastic?

Something came to me the other day… If the NES Classic Mini plays SNES games, is the upcoming September 28-29th release of the SNES Classic Mini literally just the Mini NES unit rebranded and rewrapped in a different plastic shell and different software? If so, would we literally be paying £30 more for 2 SNES controllers costing £1.26 each to manufacture (bearing in mind one controller came with the Mini NES already) based on a clone from the actual SNES whilst compensating by losing the licensing on nine extra games we got on the NES Mini (21 games down from 30.. and what’s with the 20+1 yeah I get Starwing/fox 2 is on there but it’s still 21 right)? I kinda don’t get it. I mean, this is not a definite spec thing as it stands, as I have yet to see the specs of the SNES Mini, but in all likelihood if SNES games play on MNES then is it likely they would change anything other than the controllers and the looks? It may be one of the most bullshitted sales exercises of all time, riding on the crest of a million disgruntled consumers that pre-ordered the MNES (with companies like Gameseek) that never actually received a god damn thing after months of waiting… other than an apology filled with hopefulness and a refund at least (that hopefulness led to nothing and there were no further updates about remaining in the queue once refunded may I add as I was one of them). Nintendo seem to be very good at labelling shit as gold bricks I have come to notice as of late. It seems everything is in short supply that they make and trickled out in such a fashion it creates panic-buying, eBaY scalpers and the like. I know the majority of gamers out there especially in the UK despise this with a passion, yet it never seems to have any effect on Nintendo whatsoever. A perfect example of this would be the petition I put up over on change.org to ask for a continued supply of the Mini NES, which either highlights the fact I haven’t shouted about it enough with less than 600 signatories or highlights the fact that everyone knows Nintendo will pay zero attention to anything anyone ever says if the money is screaming through their doors. It’s a sorry state of affairs in a lot of respects but the Nintendo Switch was there to save their arses and give them focus away from those issues, so like good japanese ostrich’s (does japan have ostrich’s? Actually yes, there are over 450 construction companies that side-breed Ostrich for meat after a slump in their native business) they bury their heads in the good and positive stuff and let you get shafted on eBaY. It’s a far cry from Nintendo of old, Nintendo of old was all about loyalty and giving back but then in the last few years they shut the club down and go totally rogue, hitting up content creators on YouTube, forcing them to partner on a 60-40 profit share and only leaving those partners alone if they adhere to a strict set of games titles that Nintendo themselves dictate. I was quite surprised the other day when one guy said he had no idea all of this was happening so I’m guessing there are more out there that are not aware of the callous nature of Nintendo post 2015. I don’t hate Nintendo, I just dislike their methods in marketing and creating revenue. I also think that if the board used in the MSNES is the same as the MNES, there is no reason to charge an extra £20 as well as lose 9 games just to gain 1 extra controller. Hell, the MNES controllers were only £7.99 (well, if they ever had any to sell lmfao) so where does the £20 and 9 lost games come into it? Surely 16 bit isn’t 8 bits more expensive right? Just don’t get me started on fucking Amiibo’s, you bought a piece of plastic you can’t use, likely don’t want to open and even if you did, what the fuck would you do with them? You good sir really did pay for plastic. Gaming always was and should remain as such, for the masses. I would hate to be 10 years old right now and want to ask my parents for this Amiibo for Christmas. This needs to be stamped out.   It may be time for consumers to stop helping Nintendo trap a marketplace that has no real value. If you want value, go and buy a few Game & Watch boxed portable handhelds. Thanks for reading, stay frosty and ’till next time, adios and bonjour compadre!

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The Genius Of Codemasters

The Genius Of Codemasters If you look at the simplest of mass produced electronics and I do mean the simplest, then just take a minute to look at the board design, like myself, you may wonder ‘how the hell did they do that?’. Not to put myself down but some of us talk the talk and some of us walk the walk and guess I’m the one talking right now so enough said. Codemasters have always come across to me and maybe yourself(?) as being very consumer friendly. They have made great games as far back in time as I ever remember and were notorious for making some of the best Playstation games in the form of Dirt 2, Micro Machines and one of the hardest games I ever did play, Operation Flashpoint followed by Dragon Rising / Red River on the 360. Seriously, if you breathed too hard you were dead in that game. Back in the earlier days though, they produced some really cool stuff that seemed to take gaming up a notch as well as deliver some gaming tricks to not only save them a buck but us gamers too. I do of course refer to the legend that was the NES Pass-Through Cart (Plug-Thru). Now if you are unfamiliar with the Pass-Through, it was like seeing a genuine bonafide company hacking their own products, which was a very bold move back in the day, essentially putting out cartridges containing a ROM and utilising all the extra gubbins from another cart in your collection, which in turn kept production costs down and passed a saving onto you the consumer of the gaming variety. It was a really cool outlook on the gaming industry and rather visionary at the time from a couple of ‘Darling’ brothers that once worked for Mastertronic making simple Spectrum puzzlers and Dizzy (which I can’t class in the same league). Now although the Pass-Through Cartridges were seen as acceptable, Nintendo really took issue to the Game Genie in 1990, which utilised the same ‘pass’ technique to deliver unlimited cheat-codes into games and as ‘Galoob’ released these throughout the US, that’s who they sued, which was a little harsh considering it was offered as a Nintendo officially branded product but rejected (typical Nin). Anyways, Nintendo lost that battle at a cost of $15 million plus a year’s court fees so decided to start adding checksum technology into their games which was bypassed eventually. All this time, Sega had embraced the Game Genie with just one stipulation – Don’t cheat a story game and we’re ‘ok’.   $15 million in 1991 wow that’s $28,719,111 in 2017 jeez that must have stung. One of the games that came out using that Pass-Through technology was Micro-Machines, a veritable tabletop adventure that slung itself into chicken coops, workshops, building sites and just about anywhere else you can imagine. In Micro-Machines v4 when Codemasters essentially took the game back to it’s roots there were over 700 cars to choose from, which shows how above and beyond Codemasters really did go to excel at games (as well as making up mock reviews for themselves). The strategy worked though and as the money came in, Codemasters dropped the lower budget titles in favour of AA and AAA games, most notably the F1 driver series but hell it’s nice to see them go back to their roots by releasing a new Micro-Machines on all major platforms in April 2017, so look out for that one. It all makes you wonder with a resurgence of 8/16/32 bit games whether Codemasters will consider going back over more old ground. If you look at a list of their previous games for example, they had some fantastic games that could be re-developed for the VR world or newer generation consoles with Dizzy, Ghost Hunters and 3D Starfighter or how about Firehawk? Right now though guys and gal’s it’s exciting enough to see the Micro’s coming back on the scene so if you haven’t checked out the video, you can see it below. Short and sweet yes but looks a lot of fun. Do you have any fond memories about Codemaster products or games? If so, drop us a comment and hey if you speaka da eenglish maybe you can do us a post so don’t be shy (we can edit it) – if you don’t at least talk the talk then you’re talent may be wasted. Also don’t forget to grab yourself a Sinclair Vega+ if nostalgia takes a grip and you want to head back to Dizzying heights with the old classic Spectrum games. Adios. Fun Facts Codemasters have been part owned by Reliance Entertainment who are massive in Hollywood, funding various films and are closely linked with Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment. The Game Genie was originally labelled as the Power Pak. In 2008 Codemasters founders ‘the Darling Brothers’ were named in the Queen’s list of CBE’s (Commanders of the Order of the British Empire) for their contribution to the gaming industry. Codemasters is amongst the oldest UK gaming studio’s still in existence and are an indie studio. Now check out the new Micro Machines labelled up for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows

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Mini NES A Classic Mistake?

Mini NES A Classic Mistake? When Nintendo first started making cards, I’m presuming they wanted to sell as many packs as possible. Like any business that will thrive, this is just good business sense, however, one could wonder if there is anything common between the sense they showed back then and the way it is dealing with it’s products in today’s market. The Nintendo Classic Mini was supposed to be a celebration and a look back at all the games that made Nintendo the gaming company it trades as today, however on November 11th this year, I witnessed first-hand just how badly the ‘NES Mini’ has been handled by Nintendo. Since the boom of social media, we have seen platforms develop and expand across a huge range of applications and novelties. Twitter brought us the hashtag, Facebook moved into marketplace selling and Reddit seems to have become a mod paradise. Along this road, clubs are formed and communities are built as people discuss topics of similar interest across the globe. One such ‘head’ that has grown over the last few year’s is the ‘#retrogaming’ community and I have watched this develop as people share their fond memories of all their yesteryear gaming memories. I pre-ordered two of the Mini NES, one for myself and one for a charity event giveaway at very different times on the run-up to release date and was looking forward to getting my grubby little mits on a console that finally played some of Nintendo’s greatest classic’s using HDMI. Lord know’s it was overdue. My first pre-order was placed with Gameseek, mainly due to a very early competitive price laid down on their website the night the console was publically announced. I placed my order around 8-10 weeks before the unit’s release. The second order (Game.co.uk) was placed a mere four weeks before release as we began collating item’s we could giveaway to one lucky winner who donated over £10 to a young girl with cancer. I thought it was rather fitting to put some new old technology in there, hoping it would help boost the wonderful prizes donated by our Twitter friends. It became apparent very early on, that pre-orders were in high demand as site after site closed down their pre-orders which had potentially been filled. It was an astounding result and really cemented what a lot of us already knew. Retrogaming was becoming huge globally. What none of us could foresee, was what was to happen next. November 11th came around finally, but there were no packages to be seen so I jumped on Gameseek.co.uk to check my order and noticed it still said it was on pre-order status. Now bearing in mind, I had paid in full more than two month earlier, I rang them to find out what was going on. “unfortunately we have received a very limited amount of our initial 1000 unit’s ordered. It appears Nintendo cannot meet demand and are sending out the units in waves. We are dispatching units on a first come first served basis” When I asked the manager at Gameseek how many were received in the first wave, I was told 125 out of 1000. So essentially, 875 pre-ordered units out of 1000 or possibly 875 upset gamers on release. That is simply disgraceful. Now I realise Gameseek can’t be held responsible for non-delivery here and their distributor wants to distribute too but I simply cannot understand how Nintendo can blatantly advertise and design a console and then trip up with production levels and distribution. Through Gameseek alone, if everyone simply cancelled and gave up, that is £52,491 in combined lost revenue. Even if we take just 50% of that amount for Nintendo, with just one single small website they have lost £25K. Now I wonder how many similar stories we would hear if we had the figures available to draw up lost revenue across the entire regional area’s that this has happened…. Needless to point out Nintendo’s weak Wii U sales and yet here they are simply throwing potential sales down the drain due to a completely botched campaign. Has the success of the Pokemon application fried their tiny circuits? Does somebodies brain need re-flashing? What’s going on? When are Nintendo going to deliver a console that isn’t in ridiculously short supply? Even the Playstation 2 debacle wasn’t nearly as poorly delivered as this Ninten’Doh mini disaster (thanks for the pun LA). Then I look at the size of the box of the one that finally arrived (via Game) and think ‘how many billions of them would fit on one pallet compared to Xbox One’. Come on Nintendo step your game up, you are making the chinese look better than the Japanese, it’s a joke! What was supposed to be a celebration of 3 decades of gaming has become a numbing silence and an empty void. Makes me want to throw some barrels.

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Play Expo Manchester 2016 Review

Play Expo Manchester 2016 Review Play Expo Manchester has always been right around the corner for me, so it always tends to feel like I’m cheating when attending, especially when the NEC in Birmingham hosts other larger events which we frequent. However, these other larger events, have a rather small retro-gaming section, if any at all, so Play always feels a little different to most other expo’s. Now one of the things I have noticed over the years, is that Play Manchester has had it’s hits and misses when it comes to the size of the event, however, I never knew why this was until a recent press release essentially told me I had attended every single event. I had absolutely no idea that was the case, so it’s easy to see why it had taken the organisers a few years to balance out the event into a sustainable size. In 2014, we saw a huge rise in the sections displayed in Play, with the introduction of film and TV being present. I thought it was totally awesome that they had diversified to get possibly either a larger crowd, a greater offering of choices or both, so I was quite shocked to see that it had taken rather a back seat (if there was any there whatsoever).   2016 was the year of Tomb-raider feat. Lara Croft at Play, quite simply due to it having it’s 20th Anniversary since Eidos released the game onto the first Playstation and there was quite a buzz that a lot of the original development team along with Nathalie Cook (one of the 4 original Lara Croft models) would be attending. The buzz was brought about due to a lot of the staff having not seen each other in the majority of time since the game’s initial release, due to some moving on to new projects with other teams. Also, there was a gaming section dedicated to every iteration of the game which was great to see, along with a photo-shoot area with Nathalie herself adjacent. With a huge selection of pin-ball and original arcade machines, as well as a huge sit-down area full of some of the first consoles and PC’s, there was plenty for the retro-gaming community to sink their teeth into. As well as an area for the retro, there was also a Minecraft area, a board-game area and plenty of gaming and memorabilia stands to peruse at your leisure, which has become quite the accepted norm towards the back of the facility in recent years. Towards the front we had some great indie titles (most notably ‘Snake Pass’ by Sumo Digital) along with several photo booth’s and VR area’s to test out the latest games and concepts. There was even a Redbull stage running a competition near the bar area. The only bar area actually, which was a little strange compared to recent years, as the queues did get a little silly in the early afternoon. Then of course there was Cosplay which was just left of the entrance and it seemed there was some extra-ordinary effort put into some of the costumes this year and way more technical than it’s predecessors.   Now I haven’t really met a great deal of people at Play Manchester in the past, however this year due to making more and more similar minded Twitter friends, we had an awesome time hooking up on a social level. Some years I have wondered about on my own or with just 1 friend but this year, there were between six and ten people at times (mainly at the bar haha) but a lot of these I had never met before and had only chatted with, so I would have to say that it was my favourite year just for that reason alone. Bashing some retro classics is all fair and well but it’s pretty cool when others send you some pictures of yourself actually playing a game or having fun, rather than being behind the camera all the time. It also raised spirits as we meandered between our favourite section with more eyes than they have camera’s in a supermarket. What really topped off the event, apart from listening to the Tomb-raider developers in a stage session, was nipping out of the press area where they sat catching up as a full team and grabbing a pretty good looking copy of the game and dashing back in to see if I could get it signed whilst they remained together. Yes they all signed it and here is the proof.   As usual it was all over too soon for us gamer types but I came away feeling we had achieved what the event was created for. I’m just never a fan of those Monday morning reality blues. Play Expo Manchester 2016 was a great event and I’m proud to have both attended every year from it’s birth and to have met such a great amount of truly solid gamers. I am sure it will not be our last and expect an even larger group from Twitter to form next year. A truly solid performance and a 9/10 for the event. Check out our highlight pictures here.  

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Draw Me A Line – A Story About My Life In Gaming

Draw Me A Line – By Neil Dee Fuck adding pictures, I’m going old-school so google them or send me your fax number for me to ignore. Besides, I haven’t learnt to make one of those monotonous 25 page galleries with 18 words on each. So sue me. I would love to say this was a retro-gaming post but in reality, it’s more of a post about gaming. When you have been in the gaming sector for over 30 years, it’s easy to blur the entire thing into one. In this modern age of consoles and PC with ultra-modern graphics compared to (or replicating) the 8-Bit/16-bit era, it’s more a case of keep buying what you buy. Now make no mistake, I too, go backwards with my console purchases. I never owned a Dragon Amiga Spectrum 64K (now that would make a great PC). Far from it, I owned a second-hand Atari. When I think of that, I ask myself whether I was truly a gamer at all. I mean, realistically, all I ever wanted was a console I could both enjoy and fit in with… with all the other guys who were having conversations about them in school. Did that make me a gamer? Well the answer really lies in the era, nobody was REALLY a gamer as it was the start of the cycle that led to today. If you broke this down into ‘did you have an Atari’ Yes ‘did you have a NES or SNES’ Yes and it fails past the N64 and totally fails on the PC side, as I never owned a Spectrum, Amstrad or Commodore 64, the best I ever had in PC gaming was a Vic 20 which was obviously useless, looking back. To put that Vic 20 into today’s perspective, I owned a 3D printed plastic version of the C64. In my opinion, if you bought one now, you would be a retro-fool. Now, back when I was a wee laddie, full of spunk and vinegar like most young men, I met the ultimate console… a girl. I say ultimate because you could fool around way more than with the consoles of my generation, so I got rid of the lot and went into that sector, and it is a sector and rather a small part of your life in reflection. Girls (like consoles or boys, if you are a girl or homesexual) tend to get boring when you are younger. Next thing you know, she’s pregnant, you need money and your entire outlook changes (and I’m not talking email addresses). I followed this exact route. Not a pot to piss in for years, until one day, those kids weren’t kids anymore. The financial strain had eased and suddenly I had money to spend. When time suddenly becomes favourable again (and trust me, I was a DJ at this point so had less time than most 9-5’ers) you find yourself soul-searching what to do next. It’s an alien in your world and you have no idea what to do. At that point the hobbyist in you, digs down and remembers where you left off and creates a gamer, artist, film buff or whatever. It’s pretty simple I guess, unlike getting all those consoles back, that you owned once. Welcome to the retro-gaming phenomena. Now lucky for some young-lings, they now have social media to learn about it and get into retro-gaming quite quickly. Even without money, any basic laptop on it’s last legs will allow an emulator to run 8 or 16 bit. Plus you have YouTube and other such area’s to envelop or watch, which can grow your passion. Now here lieth the difference. Can you imagine with no eBaY or similar, no YouTube, no Amazon… no Facebook, Twitter, Reddit… where the fuck we would get… maybe a pad if ours broke? The only answer available to us in that era would be either a second-hand shop or a friend or his/hers, maybe a new buy extra from the original supplier at extra cost. It was tragic let me tell you that. These days, the world is not only your oyster, but so is the market to buy, import, repair, restore or modify ANY console or PC of your choosing. Now how lucky do you feel compared to the kid with the broken Atari controller? Unfortunately, it grew with that kid that had the broken controller too. I now lie in a demographic that re-bought all of those consoles and PC’s whether I owned them or not. Then there’s everything N64 forward and the Kickstarter or INDIGOGO campaigns. I have more money and a better job so I ask you where do I stop buying? It gives an addictive buzz too. One that you younger generation cannot fully understand. I can sit on Twitter and have most of the consoles or PC’s or both EVER MADE (mainstream). Maybe next I buy myself a slice of a different Pi unlike the pie that created my family back when twiddling with knob’s was a job she knew better than me. Where does it end? One thing is for sure, this is a demographic you sorely want to be part of and maybe one day you will be. The question is, did you start it with pie or with Pi? I figure at my current rate of video’s, it would take me until 326 years of age to produce a video for every game, console, accessory or Dev-kit to get it’s own video. Fuck that shit, I’m up for a beer and some pie.

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Atari And Commodore To Hook Up With Sinclair?

Atari And Commodore To Hook Up With Sinclair? Retro gaming went total rumour-ville here at GaminGuys recently when Sinclair, master’s of the 1980’s and also Indiegogo campaigns with the Vega and Vega+, hinted that Atari are in a collaboration with them to develop (or is it re-develop?) a handheld console. Did I also mention Commodore? After an amazing 2hr 37min pod-cast, raw recording with Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel (80’s gaming legend programmer) hinting that Atari (or at least the licensee’s of Atari these days) and Commodore may be hooking up with the ‘new’ Sinclair team on a similar project to Sinclair’s own. Atari QL was Dr Janko Mrsic-Flogel’s strongest point, if you can even remember it. Crazy as it may seem for the era, but his first actual release was at the age of 14. Jump forward to 2016, we interview him on behalf of Sinclair (thanks to their PR lady Suzanne) after being the only people allowed to officially video-record the factory tour at SMS Electronics around the Stoke area, for the Vega. What a tour. Now we have Rick Dickinson that designed the QL designing the Vega Plus, possibly aided by a slight change in management, we could be seeing a retro alignment involving mobile, handheld and it seems more than one project is in the queue. Now essentially, I was recording the ‘prelude’ to the pod-cast, That little meet and greet you need to do before the polished article. We hit a point where we were chatting about the ‘acorn Eco-net’ and then all of a sudden we seemed to have been informed that not only Atari are coming via the same route but also the Commodore 64 (it better not be the Vic 20, that thing was crap with just 3.5K memory). It seems the trials have been watched very closely by several other interested retro-parties and deals are under way to complete the necessary hardware modifications to (dare I say ‘universalise’ a retro-console hand-held standard or) adjust to suit each interested party on a campaign by campaign basis. There is no doubt that to see more retro-branded consoles brought forward to suit the modern gamer has a crowd behind the funding, however, with other names such as JXD covering multiple emulated platforms, it does beg the question ‘will all other interested parties swim in the same hot pool’?               You can listen to our edited pod-cast here but don’t expect to hear the prelude as we do not publish general chat before our guests are notified we are recording.

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Carpe Diem

I’m in a world of shit. Life can be so painful, full of misery, cancer and cancer. In the meantime between being sympathetic to our very existence, feeling sorry for ourselves and generally dying, how about we play some games to pass the time? Sound fun to you? Life does suck, if you ever look at the big picture, it’s the truth, hence why we look at the smaller picture, the one we can handle. Sat there thinking about it for five minutes, I realised in the same time I could have un-boxed a SNES. Really? Why do I think on these levels? Now I’m not depressed whatsoever, I’m just a realist, there are no masks when it comes to pain, fun, life. I’m just one of those guys that says exactly what it is – like, all the time.I was stabbed twice a number of years ago, chased the guy down the road spurting blood 2ft out of my neck, that’s just how it can be sometimes. Roll with the bad, roll with the good. The difference between most people like myself and you, is that I see so much potential and class in you. I wonder at your possibilities, wonder what you will do next, what adventures you will go on, what you will find today, something I can never do for myself. What I do is clinical, even though I am self-aware, you will find it’s just not me and not what interests me.You interest me, human behaviour in general does. I love it when you share your experiences of new things, new subjects, new games. I love. So before you feel all alone or sit there wondering what to do next, remember, I am counting on you to give me inspiration, because that’s just what you do. Make it interesting, inviting and exemplary. Seize the day or have a seizure, only you can decide.. There’s been worse at sea.  

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