Play Expo 2016 – another two days of gaming and cosplay, and so much fun that, once again, as the second day ended, I wanted to hide under a table and go where all the games go, as I like to imagine that there’s another location where the Manchester event continues for another five days…
That way, I’d get to play ALL the games, as there’s too many to get through in two days, particularly since I love taking loads of pictures – especially of the awesome cosplay participants, but then again, I try to make sure I play as many games as I can that I’ve not seen before.
And when it comes to cosplay, I realise that a lot of the cosplay pics I’ve taken are just when I’m walking about, so that’s why part of me prefers always to be walking round – so I don’t miss anyone, but only after the event, on Facebook, do I realise that I’ve missed a few and I’m all “Grrrr….” for not getting them, but I guess it’ll happen until I’m able to clone myself.
2016 saw the fifth year of this event, again held at EventCity, next to the Trafford Centre (accessible via M60 J9 and J10), and this was the third time I had been, following Play Expo 2015 and Play Expo 2014, and it just gets better and better to the point that, once again, when it was over, the withdrawal symptoms kicked in.
Last year, I took a total of 1083 pictures and this year it was close to 1800 – including the selfie with R2-D2 (and see him in the fab video below), although in most cases I took 2 with flash, and 2 without, since you’re taking pictures inside and, depending on the area you’re in, the lighting can vary.
I’ll start, as usual with the arcade machines. So many favourites, here. You can see the full photo album here, but whereas there were no hydraulic machines last year, this time we had THREE!
There was Outrun, Powerdrift, while probably my favourite was After Burner, because I can get the further on it out of all three. Keep one hand on the controller, and the other on the low/high gear to your left, and you can full all kinds of G-turns, rocking back and forth like you’re in a violent La-z-boy (well, more gently than that), whilst also tipping left and right within the unit. It’s such a rush. AND you seem to get loads of planes! Kinda handy given that I kept crashing.
Powerdrift – a game that was notoriously difficult to get right on 8-bit consoles back in the ’80s, due to the way the sections of track were overlaid upon each other, rolling along perfectly, being a visual assault on the senses while the music blares out at you. With the hydraulics, this made me realise I should’ve had a practice on the regular version elsewhere at Play Expo, since you have to finish within the Top 3 in each race, and in addition to my laughing so much at the frenetic action – and this is entirely my fault – I broke my right arm when I tripped over a pavement in February (and I wasn’t even drunk!), so banged it a bit while turning a sharp corner on the machine and that kinda put me off doing my best.
I have a picture of all three regular stand-up versions in the Arcade photo album, and a later attempt on these saw me reach the next stage on this game 🙂
Tempest – I didn’t get a great picture of this one, hence had to find one online, but it has very simple controls of a knob to twirl and a fire button with which to shoot. Depending on circumstances, you’ll have enough bullets to shoot at the enemies that crawl up the tube you can manoeuvre around, plus one ‘superzapper’ per level which can eliminate everything. Sounds easy? Well, I lasted a fair while but that was by luck rather than expertise, but while you’re winning, you can look damn cool. Eventually, it gets faster and faster until it’s game over, literally.
Ms Pac-Man – another game I didn’t get a good shot of at the time, but I needed two attempts at this. Following, an awesome first day at Play Expo, I beat the high-score on this machine… kinda…
The fun technically all ended at 6pm, so I and others knew we were overplaying our hand still playing games after that, but realising I was doing very well, I kept at it, and just beat the high score when….the power was pulled. It was just like in The Simpsons, when Homer almost beat Bart at that boxing video game when Marge pulled the plug. However, when I went back on the Sunday and played it again and, indeed, beat the high score again, I could see that it resets the high score table upon being switched off and on, so my score wouldn’t have been retained after Sunday anyway. You can’t beat a bit of Pac-Man in any form, though.
Road Runner – based on the classic cartoon, this was far from the easiest game to play, as you have to escape Wile E. Coyote (from whom ‘RR’ usually finds it a doddle to escape) and I kept getting caught since he continually strapped himself to a rocket and snatched me wherever I got up to. I tried this a few times but had to admit defeat. Still, I don’t recall playing this one before, so it’s always good to try something new, and a lot more practice would certainly help.
Go to page 2 for the Retro gaming section.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.