Play Expo 2017 saw another two full days of gaming and cosplay, plus some talks I wish I could’ve gone to, particularly the panel for Andy Remic’s Memoirs of a Spectrum Addict, but it clashed with the Cosplay Masquerade on the Sunday, and for me, that’s the pièce de résistance of the whole event and I cannot miss it. Hence, I’m hoping the Spectrum Addict panel discussion ends up online before too long.
The Play Expo events begin at 10am for those who have bought tickets in advance, while if you buy tickets on the day, the entrance time is 11am, so when the time comes for next October, I advise you by in advance, and get in the queue from around 9-9.15 if you want to be one of the first ones in, once 10am comes around.
And yes, they are long days when there’s so much to do, but I found my energy increasing as it got into the final two hours of each day, particularly on the Sunday. Was it a late adrenaline rush? Well, there’s still so much to do by that point in the weekend and I want to play as many more games as I can.
At each event, I love taking loads of pictures – especially of the awesome cosplay participants, but I’ll also try and play as many games as I can that I’ve not seen before, as well as taking in some perennial favourites, such as the hydraulic cabinets for Outrun, Power Drift and After Burner, plus classics like the traditional Pac-man.
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.
Note for taking pictures, that it’s best to try and take them both with and without flash, if possible. I took 2 of each at a time, but the reason for the flash aspect is because you’re taking pictures inside and, depending on the area you’re in, the lighting can vary.
2017 saw the sixth year of this event, again held at EventCity, next to the Trafford Centre (accessible via M60 J9 and J10), and this was the fourth time in a row I had been. Overall, it’s so much fun that, once again, when it was over, the withdrawal symptoms kicked in.
This year, the arcade area was better organised, since you walked through from one side to the other, rather than having straight up/down lines of cabinets for those. The latter was the case for the pinball machines, but then that most likely works best for the tech people, as pinballs have a tendancy to break down more than arcade machines, because there’s so many moving parts to them.
Check out the full Facebook Arcade album.
Rad Mobile came in hydraulic form, and looks similar to Outrun, but while it’s not as good as that classic, it’s still worthy of your attention.
The game is meant to be a non-stop road race across the USA, avoiding traffic and police cars, and all within a time limit, but I stopped aplenty when I kept crashing, as I was new to this machine from 1991. One thing that made this a little different is that, during night, you have to put the headlights on, and when it’s raining, you have to press the button to make the windscreen wipers work. Without all that, it’s rather difficult to see.
Rad Mobile made for an interesting diversion when the queues for the main big machins were too long.
Circus Charlie is a platform title from Konami, released in 1984, where you portray a clown named Charlie and you have time your jumps, as the pace never lets us. One level sees you bouncing from trampoline to trampoline, whilst avoiding knife throwers. Once you figure out the timings, it’s relatively easy, but you do get a feeling of accomplishment.
Spy Hunter – another arcade classic which I played to death in that form, as well as later on the ZX Spectrum. Inspired by James Bond, and originally intended to be part of that franchise, you drive from A to B shooting at baddie cars with your built in guns dropping oil slicks, and refuelling your petrol and ammo at the end of each level. I only had a brief go at this game, late on Sunday, but if you’re good, the road never ends, and you can keep driving forever.
Go to page 2 for the Retro games and pinball…
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.