Category Archives: Events

The Retro Station – gaming fun for all in Cannock

Matt 'Kapow' Dawson (left) and Carl Lewis Jenking podcasting live from The Retro Station
Matt ‘Kapow’ Dawson (left) and Carl Lewis Jenking podcasting live from The Retro Station

Our editor Stuart Williams was lucky enough to be invited to check out a new but increasingly popular retro gaming event with a modern edge in Cannock last Saturday.

The Retro Station is the brainchild of podcasters Matt ‘Kapow’ Dawson (the event organiser) and fellow retromaniac Carl Lewis Jenking, and offers a fun and deliberately family-oriented chance for dads and mums to go retro (and sometimes modern) gaming with the youngsters in the family. What a great idea – after all, the family that plays together, stays together. Why not play arcade style?

The Retro Station is very much a family event
The Retro Station is very much a family event

Why ‘The Retro Station’? Well, as luck would have it, Matt and Carl, who go by the tag of Kapow!EMaG,  have managed to line up a great venue that just happens to be free on Saturday afternoons, which is just what they wanted. ‘The Station’ itself is a rock bar and music venue named after the Cannock Bus Station which is literally just on the doorstep, with the bar being housed in a corner of a modern shopping centre. So it is, as they say, handy for all amenities.

The bar itself is up a few flights of stairs, but there is a lift as well, and being a bar, no shortage of refreshments to buy – or the essential toilets!

A place where partners and friends or family can have retro fun together
A place where partners and friends or family can have retro fun together

What you find when you enter The Retro Station – which also happens to tie in with Matt and Carl’s podcast, ‘RetroCast Radio’, a show which mixes gaming, music and banter in fine style, and which takes place live from the event, being available FREE on iTunes and on Podbean – is a typical rock bar style venue packed full with TV’s and a wide range of games consoles from retro to modern – and lots of great games to play! Continue reading The Retro Station – gaming fun for all in Cannock

Aliens over Ludlow – Newsfield invades the Buttercross!

Aliens Over Ludlow - handbill

Who would have thought that a small market town 150 miles away from London could become the heart of British 8-bit games magazine publishing for almost ten years? Now, you can find out something of how it happened first-hand, as a fascinating ‘time capsule’ from the late 20th century has materialised and taken its rightful place alongside displays going back thousands of years in a Shropshire museum.

Aliens over Ludlow – the Newsfield Decade is a small, but extremely interesting, exhibit currently on show at Ludlow Museum, that documents with photos, original artwork and, naturally, magazines, key elements of the all-too-short but blazing history of one of the British home computer revolution’s most prominent publishers – Newsfield, a company which had its origins literally just around the corner from the exhibit’s venue, Ludlow Museum. And they had one hell of a ride.

1-2 King Street, Ludlow (right), the one-time home of Newsfield, adjacent to The Buttercross
1-2 King Street, Ludlow (right), the one-time home of Newsfield, adjacent to The Buttercross

Newsfield Publications Ltd was founded by Roger Kean, Franco Frey and Oliver Frey in 1983. Based in the top three floors of number 1-2 King Street, Ludlow, Newsfield published a number of hugely popular computer game magazines from the mid-1980s to early-1990s, which at one time were everywhere to be found in British newsagents.

In the 1980s, the Newsfield offices, which were then above Victoria Wine, “…were a hub of games playing and reviewing, a journalistic endeavour that produced hundreds of thousands of words every month across 4 or 5 magazines, with all the design, layout and technical production carried out on the middle floor.”   They even recruited keen young games reviewers from Ludlow School!

'Crash' Editorial team meeting in 1984 at the King Street premises, 1st floor. L to R: David Western (designer, page layouts), Roger Kean, Oliver Frey, Matthew Uffindell (staff reviewer), Kevin Foster (assistant editor)
‘Crash’ Editorial team meeting in 1984 at the King Street premises, 1st floor. L to R: David Western (designer, page layouts), Roger Kean, Oliver Frey, Matthew Uffindell (staff reviewer), Kevin Foster (assistant editor)

Their top magazines were, most memorably, Zzap!64 (dedicated to the Commodore 64 and launched in May, 1985 as the sister magazine to Crash, it later incorporated Amiga game news and reviews), Crash (launched in 1983 as a software catalogue, it evolved into one of the top mags covering the Sinclair ZX Spectrum) and the short-lived but fun Amtix! (for Amstrad CPC gamers, launched in November 1985 but only running for 18 issues).

Gargoyle Games team members mix with Newsfield staffers outside ‘The Reader’s House’ close to Newsfield's offices, 1985. L to R: Roger Kean, Greg Follis (Gargoyle), Matthew Uffindell, Roy Carter (Gargoyle)
Gargoyle Games team members mix with Newsfield staffers outside ‘The Reader’s House’ close to Newsfield’s offices, 1985. L to R: Roger Kean, Greg Follis (Gargoyle), Matthew Uffindell, Roy Carter (Gargoyle)

This line-up was later supplemented by a number of interesting but rather less successful magazines covering role-playing games, film, horror and youth culture. Faced with financial difficulties at a time when the home computer and magazine market was changing, the company sadly went bankrupt towards the end of 1991.

Zzap Editorial team, 1st floor King Street, c.November 1985. L to R: Julian Rignall, Gary Liddon, Gary Penn, Roger Kean – note the Sinclair user logo, stolen off the side of the EMAP stand at the recent PCW Show.
Zzap Editorial team, 1st floor King Street, c.November 1985. L to R: Julian Rignall, Gary Liddon, Gary Penn, Roger Kean – note the Sinclair user logo, stolen off the side of the EMAP stand at the recent PCW Show.

The end of the company didn’t spell the immediate end for some of their magazines though. Another magazine publisher, Europress, continued to publish Newsfield’s flagship publications, Zzap!64 and Crash, for a further six months before the former was relaunched as Commodore Force and the latter sold to rival publisher EMAP and merged with Sinclair User. Continue reading Aliens over Ludlow – Newsfield invades the Buttercross!

Swap chicks for chips this Easter at the CCH!

Centre for Computing History logo

With the Easter holidays leaving the kids with time (and chocolate!) on their hands, why not take them along to the amazing Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England, where they can level up on digital know-how while having fun?

As usual, the team has bags of events going on at the Centre during the school break.  Take a look at the range below and visit CCH’s What’s On page to find other exciting events. There’s lots to see and do for adults too.

The Centre will be open 7 Days a Week for the duration of the holiday.  Remember to book your tickets early to avoid disappointment!

What’s on?

From the Centre for Computing History, direct links to events and activities leading up to Easter: Continue reading Swap chicks for chips this Easter at the CCH!

Commodore Amiga Users meet in Ireland

Only Amigaaaaaaaa! [Pic Trevor Dickinson]
Only Amigaaaaaaaa! [Pic Trevor Dickinson]
Commodore Amiga fans from Ireland and beyond were able to enjoy an amazing get-together a little over a week ago, with a great turnout, fun and fascinating exhibits, and a remarkable range of guests! This report was sent in to RCN by Jarlath Reidy.

The Commodore Amiga Users Ireland Meetup 2017 took place at The Prince of Wales Hotel in Athlone on 21 January 2017, and despite being set in the very heart of Ireland, there was very much an international flavour to the event, with Irish Amigans being only too delighted to meet their friends who had travelled from overseas places such as England, Scotland, Poland, Germany – and even New Zealand! Such is the nature of world-wide Amiga fandom today.

A multi-faceted event

Communing with the Amiga in Ireland [Pic Dermot O'Halloran]
Communing with the Amiga in Ireland [Pic Dermot O’Halloran]
Soldering on! [Pic Dermot O'Halloran].
Soldering on! [Pic Dermot O’Halloran].
All kinds of machines and setup configurations were on display, and some very interesting workshops and talks were available including:

  • SWOS tournament, with a nice trophy going to the winner (congrats Kenny Gaughan).
  • Kick Off 2, Lotus 2 (four player) and Skidmarks (eight player) competitions.
  • Stunt Car Racer (congratulations to the champion, Allan Ullmann who took away a lovely trophy).
  • AROS – Current status with Neil Cafferkey (Core developer and Prism2v2 driver author).
  • Soldering Workship – With Rob Cranley of Amiga Future.
  • Music Creation on Amiga – With Jarlath Reidy and a surprise drop in from Mike Clarke (Psygnosis / Atomicom) who took it to a whole new level!
  • Crash Course in Blitz Basic – With Jarlath Reidy & Rob Cranley
  • Q&A sessions with Trevor Dickenson of A-EON fame and David Pleasance (formerly of Commodore UK) and Hogne Titlestad (FriendUP), Jon Hare (via Skype) as well as Mike Labatt of Cloanto, Mike Clarke (Psygnosis/Atomicom) and more.
  • Amibian machines were there with 3D printed Amiga cases.
  • X1000 and X5000 machines as well as the ALICE laptop were also on display.

Listening attentively [Pic Dermot O'Halloran].jpg
Listening attentively [Pic Dermot O’Halloran].jpg
Trevor Dickinson of A-EON speaks [Pic Dermot O'Halloran].
Trevor Dickinson of A-EON speaks [Pic Dermot O’Halloran].

Goodies to win

Spot prizes at the event included wifi cards (thanks to Sir_Lucas of Amibay for donating these), boxed games  (thanks to Craig Harrisson, Lukasz Mulczynski, Mattie Whittle, Danny Cork and others, Amiga hardware (audio sampler, frame grabber with huge thanks to Mattie Whittle), and Amiga branded notebooks, posters, badges, etc (thanks to Trevor Dickinson).

Sordan (of sordan.ie) set up a shop that day, providing a service for everyone’s hardware and software needs. Rob Cranley performed recaps and repairs on several machines. Dermot O’Halloran took fantastic photos and we had additional video and photos taken by Kenny Gaughan, Ravi Abbott (of the Retro Hour Podcast) who also provided music later on. Sound was provided by Colin Reid.

Continue reading Commodore Amiga Users meet in Ireland

REVIVAL Solstice 2016 – a resounding success!

View from the stage at REVIVAL Solstice 2016 - click to enlarge
View from the stage at REVIVAL Solstice 2016 – click to enlarge

Veteran retro gaming/arcade show organisers Revival Retro Events returned to take the retro scene by storm once again last weekend, after a break from major events since 2014.

Breaking new ground with a brand-new venue for the show, the event took place for the first time in the spacious Stadium Suite at the Banks’s Stadium (previously known as Bescot Stadium) – the home of Walsall Football Club in the West Midlands!

After a smaller comeback event last November in Wolverhampton, this year REVIVAL executed a mighty return to the scene with the aptly titled REVIVAL Solstice 2016 on 30-31 July.

Loads of fun and excitement on cab or computer!
Loads of fun and excitement on cab or computer!

Bringing back all the attractions of their previous fun-packed summer exhibitions, the latest show included:

  • Over 100 playable retro consoles and computers
  • Over 50 classic video arcade machines and pinball machines
  • On-stage competitions run by the Retro Lords, and prizes (including a Sinclair ZX Spectrum +3 donated by sponsors Retro Computing News!)
  • A selection of traders offering various retro collectables
  • The return of the guest talks panels and new gamer’s theatre
  • Reasonably priced, fully licensed bar and gamer’s snack bar
  • serving hot and cold food
Pinball wizards at REVIVAL Solstice 2016
Pinball wizards at REVIVAL Solstice 2016

The venue had the advantage of not being far from the M6 and right on the doorstep of Bescot Stadium Railway Station, although it’s fair to say the location caused a little confusion with some drivers finding it not so easy to locate as they thought.

One of the Retro Lords running a contest on stage
One of the Retro Lords running a contest on stage

But with hundreds attending on each day of the weekend, it’s clear that retro fans had more than enough to encourage them to beat a path to Bescot for more REVIVAL retro fun!

One of the several wheelers and dealers at REVIVAL
One of the several wheelers and dealers at REVIVAL

And our editor and publisher Stuart Williams, who spent the Saturday there in retro heaven, couldn’t agree more – and he came on the bus from Bloxwich!

Continue reading REVIVAL Solstice 2016 – a resounding success!

Vintage Computer Festival West is back!

Vintage Computer Festival West is returning for its 11th iteration this coming weekend (Aug. 6-7, 2016) at the amazing Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, USA.

Back from a 9-year hiatus, the event is now being organised as part of the non-profit Vintage Computer Federation, a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organisation existing for, and led by, computer history hobbyists. The Federation evolved in autumn 2015 “from the DNA of related groups”.

Vintage Computer Festival West XI logo
Click to enlarge

The festival runs from Saturday, 9:30am-6:00pm, to Sunday, 9:00am-5:30pm.

Hands-on exhibits will be presented on Saturday and Sunday. You’ll find demos of 1960s minicomputers, 1970s homebrew systems, 1980s eight-bitters, and a few oddities. Some exhibits contain pristine original machines, while others focus on unique modern hacks, and everything in between.

Celebration Apple I

CharityBuzz are auctioning what may be the rarest Apple-1 in existence. Come see it at the show!

Early Amiga

There will also apparently be an Amiga 1000 with serial number 1 on show!

Consignment room

Vintage Computer Festivals are not flea/swap events, however the organisers are offering a consignment room.

Tickets/More information

Tickets are available now.  To book and for more details of the event including food etc, see the event web page – click on the link below.

http://vcfed.org/wp/festivals/vintage-computer-festival-west-xi/

REVIVAL Solstice 2016 retro event almost here!

Revival Solstice 2016 Floor Plan - click to enlarge
Revival Solstice 2016 Floor Plan – click to enlarge

Veteran retro gaming/arcade event organisers, Revival Retro Events, are almost ready to take the scene by storm once again, with REVIVAL Solstice 2016  due to take place over the weekend of 30-31 July at a completely new venue for the show, the Banks’s Stadium (previously known as Bescot Stadium) – the home of Walsall Football Club in the West Midlands!

After the event’s successful, albeit somewhat smaller, comeback event Winter Warmer 2015, last November, and previous big event successes, REVIVAL once again returns to large scale this summer with the aptly titled REVIVAL Solstice 2016.

New show plan
Arcade days all over again at REVIVAL 2014!
Arcade days all over again at REVIVAL 2014!

This new event marks the start of a new show plan for future REVIVAL events organised by the RRE team, headed up by Craig Turner, and brings back all the attractions of their previous fun-packed summer exhibitions.

This year’s event features already include:

  • Over 100 playable retro consoles and computers
  • Over 50 classic video arcade machines and pinball machines
  • On-stage competitions and prizes
  • A larger selection of traders offering various retro collectables
  • The return of the guest talks panels and new gamer’s theatre
  • Reasonably priced, fully licensed bar and gamer’s snack bar serving hot and cold food
  • New large summer venue for up to 1000 visitors per day
  • Easy transport access from M6 J9 and J10 and the Bescot Stadium railway station between Birmingham and Walsall.
  • Choice of nearby hotels with direct rail and bus links to the venue

Continue reading REVIVAL Solstice 2016 retro event almost here!

RCN to exhibit in Shakespeare country

King Edward VI School
King Edward VI School

For the second year running, Retro Computing News will be attending the Recursion computer fair on Saturday 2 July 2016 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

But this time around, we’ll be an exhibitor – at William Shakespeare’s very own school!

RECURSION 2015  from above - general view
RECURSION 2015 from above – general view

We’ve been invited along by the event organisers at the historic King Edward Vi School, where the legendary English playwright was educated, and will have a table in the ‘history of computing’ section (see below) of this fantastic, free and fun-packed digital day out dedicated to computer science and computing in education, industry and leisure.

The Levi Fox Hall, King Edward Vi School
The Levi Fox Hall, King Edward Vi School

Last year, over 500 students, parents and members of the public visited the fair in the Levi Fox Hall of the school, and the organisers are looking to expand the range of exhibits and activities further this year. There will be stands from local businesses, universities and other schools. A number of stands and activities will make use of small-board computers such as the Raspberry Pi, Micro:Bit and Arduino.

At Recursion 2015, Tom Williamson showed off his historic BBC Micro's as well as his self-built Ident computer case containing a Raspberry Pi
At Recursion 2015, Tom Williamson showed off his historic BBC Micro’s as well as his self-built Ident computer case containing a Raspberry Pi
History of computing
Andy Spencer (right) and his Retro Computer Museum team at Recursion 2015
Andy Spencer (right) and his Retro Computer Museum team at Recursion 2015

In addition, the fair will offer a community-led ‘history of computing’ section, where local user groups and aficionados of “classic” and “retro” computing can get together and share their passion for everything from a ZX80 to an Amiga 1200.

Those attending Recursion 2015 were rewarded with a buzzing, vibrant and diverse event for computer fans of all interests, not only gaming, with a great retro component.  This year’s fair, which opens at 11am, promises to be an equally exciting event and one that should both promote and celebrate the industry and enthuse the next generation of British Computer Scientists and Engineers.

See you there?

Recursion is a show of a kind which has been rarely seen since the 1990s, and we’re only too delighted to give it our full support!  Retro Computing News’s editor and publisher, Stuart Williams, will be setting out our stall at Recursion 2016, and will be there to talk to any and everyone about our magazine site and retro computing in general, as well as covering the event for RCN.

A 360 degree panorama from a corner of the hall in 2015 - click to enlarge
A 360 degree panorama from a corner of the hall in 2015 – click to enlarge

As we receive more detailed information about this year’s fair, we’ll pass it on in these pages, meanwhile, why not check out our feature on Recursion 2015 to get an idea of what you can look forward to?

See:  https://retrocomputingnews.com/2015/07/07/recursion-2015-repeats-success-in-stratford/

For more info as it is posted, also see the event website:

http://www.recursioncomputerfair.co.uk/

WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!