R3PLAY - Arcade, Pinball & Retro Gaming Expo, Blackpool 6-7th November

R3play-Retro-Gaming-ExpoWhat happens when you cramp approximately 1,000 eager gamers into an impressive sized hall, filled with four decades of gaming history? R3play of course! RetroCollect attended the event today, coming back with many enjoyable stories, photos and videos to share of the expo.

Opened by celebrity gamer Iain Lee at 11am, the huge crowd of gamers were settled within seconds. Iain's quick opening and welcoming prepared us for what turned out to be one fantastic day. Within seconds of the opening, the hundreds of gamers were settled down and had begun the first few games of the day.

As soon as we made our way through the entrance, we caught as much as we could on camera while the speakers blasted out a fantastic playlist of chiptune tracks getting up ready for the weekend ahead.

Beside the entrance was a large selection of gorgeous Japanese Candy Cabs, kitted out with a large array of impressive bullet hell shmups such as Psyvariar 2, Ketsui, Muchi Muchi Pork and the newest arrival from Cave; Akai Katana. Beside the shmups lay various other crowd favourites such as Street Fighter Alpha 3, Mr Driller, Crazy Taxi and many more classics. Unsurprisingly, this section was crammed from start to finish, requiring a short queue for all the favourites.

Further down the row of Candy Cabs was a selection of more traditional woody cabs, featuring the arcade games we listed earlier this week. Unfortunately the classic Star Wars cabinet was out of order, however the Battlezone cabinet and more recent Star Wars Arcade game seemed to hold a fair share of the gamers attention.

Behind the many games glued to the woody cabinets was a huge selection of consoles and computers spanning ever generation. 5 player Bomberman on the PC Engine, a wide selection of Famicom Disk System games, multiplayer Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 and quite possibly every other console you could imagine with a selection of games beside it.

Similar to the console section, was a equally filled classic computer area. Commodore Amigas and their many fans littered the area, hovering around the Amiga 4000 tower and the various setups featuring IK+ and Sensible World of Soccer. But it wasn't just Amigas that were present, specially prepared DOS boxes, a Sam Coupe and many Commodore 64s populated the section with much to offer.

Even the hallway behind the main stage was flooded with goodies, featuring an incredible strip of Pinball machines spanning a few decades, even more arcade cabinets and more classic computers such as Sinclair Spectrums and Acorn Archimedies. The Pinball section attracted a large fan base rather quickly and became a place for multiplayer contests aplenty. Featuring Pinball hits such as Terminator 2, White Water and Black Rose, you could really tell that the kind owners of the machines had fantastic taste in games they were willing to share.

For those also wanting to make a few retro gaming purchases during the day were also very pleased. Console Passion and The Attic Bug were both present and were clearly struggling to keep up with the demand for games. With a small amount of staff looking after a few hundred happy shoppers, our hats are off to them for keeping the masses catered for. The shops featured everything form Sega Megadrive games, a large selection of Nintendo Game & Watch games, prints of artwork from Bob Wakelin and countless ZX Spectrum games.

And even where modern gaming is concerned, there was plenty to cater for the masses. Both Sega and Nintendo were present showcasing their latest and upcoming releases. Nintendo were displaying the soon to be released Kirby's Epic Yarn and Goldeneye Wii, while Sega were hosting a Sonic The Hedgehog 4 speed run contest. Microsoft gamers were also satisfied, with a large multiplayer Halo Reach hub asking for a good competition. 

Throughout the day, many competitions were held to find the best gamers within the room on IK+ (Commodore Amiga), Warlords (Atari 2600) and Super Street Fighter IV (Playstation 3). Trophies were given out to the winners of each contest, with some competitions offering a bit more than a physical prize. The winner of the IK+ tournament was lucky enough to get the chance to challenge the games creator; Archer Maclean at his own game. If gaming competitions weren't your thing either, many raffles and tombolas took place featuring gaming prizes to be won.

Overall the event was without a doubt, the most impressive retro gaming event organised as of yet. Despite having to look after a thousand excited gamers, the organisers kept everything under wraps and it seemed to go very smoothly. The shelves of the shops began to show many gaps too and the selection of prizes had long been won.

Last Updated ( 09 November 2010 )  


Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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