Category Archives: Events

REVIVAL retro event set fair for summer!

Last year's REVIVAL Winter Warmer team, organisers and volunteers
Last year’s REVIVAL Winter Warmer team, organisers and volunteers

This year’s latest show for UK retro gaming and computing fans has been quietly (so far!) announced on the Facebook page of the organisers, Revival Retro Events.

And REVIVAL Solstice 2016 is all set 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
The hunt is on for that retro holy grail at REVIVAL 2014...
The hunt is on for that retro holy grail at REVIVAL 2014…
Event page

The organisers have already set up an event page is now up via their  Facebook page and e-tickets are now on sale directly from their ticket merchant here: https://www.tickettailor.com/ch…/view-event/…/47596/chk/069b

Tickets are priced at £12 per day/£20 for a weekend for adults, and concessional tickets at £6 per day/£10 for a weekend for children (12 or under), disabled users and their assistants.

And there’s more

Head honcho of REVIVAL, Craig Turner of Turnarcades, said:

“Thanks to the popularity and support shown by the attendees and contributors of our warm-up event, the team are once again in a position to bring back all the popular features of our previous full scale events as we always wanted to.

“This means that more contributors will be involved to bring you more playable systems, more games, more arcades, more pinball, more unique show experiences, new guests, more competitions, more traders, more stuff to buy and more prizes!

“This new event is intended to be complemented by a new size Winter event called ‘Equinox’, so be sure you join us this Summer and enjoy that excellent REVIVAL atmosphere to make sure it can happen!”

If anyone is interested in making any pledges, getting involved (the event is mostly volunteer-supported), or are interesting in sponsoring or having a trade spot at the event, you are invited to message the organisers through Facebook, or e-mail Craig Turner direct at turnarcades@hotmail.co.uk or via enquiries@revivalretroevents.com

More info

Full event information will soon be posted on the official website at www.revivalretroevents.co.uk and key information will also be posted on the organisers’ Facebook page.

For more about the venue, check out their website.

Needless to say, our editor Stuart Williams will be covering both days for Retro Computing News, and we hope to be promoting the site there.

 

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Computing oral history project seeks help

Viva logo

One of the top computer museums in the UK is appealing for people to help them with a very special project – ‘Viva Computer!’ – and is inviting anyone interested to pop along on a special project day.

Subtitled ‘A People’s History of Computing’, the project, which is lottery funded and organised by the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England, aims to record people who have interesting memories on video as an oral history record for future generations.

The organisers want to know:

  • Have computers changed your life?
  • Do you have a story to tell?
  • Would you like to be part of something very special and record your memories for future generations?

If any of this applies to you, they’d love to see you this Sunday 28 February between 11am – 4pm at The Centre for Computing History, Rene Court, Coldhams Road, Cambridge, CB1 3EW

To register your interest / book a slot for this free event please email:
viva@computinghistory.org.uk

Volunteer to make history

The museum is also seeking more volunteers to help with this project! They need your skills and enthusiasm to help them create an exciting and inspirational new Cambridge archive. Volunteering roles include – filming, editing, research, educational delivery, event management, design, photography, transcription, cataloguing, archiving and more…

To get involved, visit the Centre for Computing History’s website or email: admin@computinghistory.org.uk

Lottery logo

BBC Micros attend first Cotswold Jam of 2016

TOM WILLIAMSON REPORTS FOR RCN
Getting in a jam in the Cotswolds!
Getting in a jam in the Cotswolds!
January 30th 2016 saw the Cotswold Jam Raspberry Pi hobbyist computing group hold their first exhibition and showcase of the year.

As with previous shows, I was asked to attend (as Ident Computer) along with my exhibits consisting of Acorn model B BBC Micros and own build ‘Micro \ One’ computers based around the Raspberry Pi board, running the RISC OS 5 operating system.

January’s event was the first time the Jam has been over subscribed, with 100+ children and adults attending. As a result the event was held in the newly refurbished computer labs of the University of Gloucestershire’s Cheltenham Campus, in the South Midlands.

Jam sessions

The Jam started at 1pm and was mainly divided into workshops, general discussion and demonstration areas, both using classrooms and computing labs and a lounge area (were I was set up) which was for more formal talks and practical demos.

A number of Raspberry Pi computers were made available for visitors to use by the event organisers, these in addition to Pi boards bought in by the public, this being actively encouraged.

Almost all demos, talks and workshops were based around the Pi’s default operating system, that being ‘Raspbian OS’ which is a cut down version of Linux Debian, with most sessions and workshops based on how to code using Scratch, Python and the video game Minecraft. The latter naturally proved very popular with the younger visitors.

RISCy business
Tom Williamson speaks about RISC OS
Tom Williamson speaks about RISC OS

For the older generation and, increasingly, interested computing students, I gave an introductory talk about RISC OS and the BBC BASIC programming language using an ultra low-cost Raspberry Pi Zero, which is a new board released by the Pi foundation in November of last year.

What was so remarkable about this model was the fact it was released as a freebie on the front cover of a mainstream computing magazine (The MagPi)! The boards are now so cheap (Costing £4 / $5 at time of writing) they could be given away for practically nothing!

However, despite being a fully working 1GHz, ARM CPU with 512MB of RAM based computer board, very few are up and running. This is manly due to older OS ‘ROMs’ not being compatible and some distros such as RISC OS having not yet been officially patched. This meant that, come the show, I had to use my own ‘hacked’ version of RISC OS to get the Pi Zero up and running for the demos and talk.

Beeb power
BBC Micro's on parade!
BBC Micro’s on parade!

No such issues with my other exhibits! The BBC Micro’s have been extremely popular and my personal fleet of fully refurbished and modernised micros has now toured a number of events. Kids continue to be fascinated by them and adults (the kids of the 80’s and 90’s) love to reminisce, and I have always been surprised by just how well the BBC Micros continue to be received by the visiting public.

Game Pi
Nanogangs by Tom Williamson
Nanogangs by Tom Williamson

For this year I’m working on a new game called Nanogangs, which I had the idea for when I was about 12 years old. The game is being written in BBC BASIC without the use of any assembly language, so it can be easily ported to modern systems such as RISC OS Pi.

For the Cotswold Jam I had two versions running, one for the BBC Micro B the other for my ‘Micro One’ Pi-based own build computers.

Fun with Nanogangs!
Fun with Nanogangs!

The game went down very well and its nice to be able to write and showcase new software for these machines in 2016! The game will be used to demonstrate BASIC coding and also hopefully will make it to limited public release for both BBC Micro and RISC OS / Raspberry Pi later this year.

Join in the fun this April
Tom's own 'Ident' Pi-based computers on show
Tom’s own ‘Ident’ Pi-based computers on show

Free tickets for the next Cotswold Jam event happening on the 30th of April 2016 will be available from their web site: http://www.cotswoldjam.org

And my fleet of BBC Micros and RISC OS machines should make a return visit for the event: http://www.ident-online.co.uk/computer

Anyone is welcome to attend, but it should be remembered this is a Raspberry Pi event, meaning all content and projects need to have some reference to or use of Raspberry Pi boards, such as in my case: Acorn, RISC OS and BBC Micros being directly related to the Raspberry Pi. The group are always looking for volunteers, helpers and showcase content, and can be contacted via the Cotswold jam website. So, maybe see you there?

Tom Williamson

@tomW_Ident
Ident Computer

Our thanks to Tom for the first of hopefully many reports. We can testify personally that his exhibits and work are well worth a look!
All photos by Tom Williamson. Photos and screen shots remain copyright of the author.

October Half Term at the Centre for Computing History

Half-term is bound to be fun at the Centre for Computing History!
Half-term is bound to be fun at the Centre for Computing History! (pic CCH)

The Centre for Computing History are delighted to announce that they will be open every day for the duration of October Half Term (24th October – 1st November) 2015.

As well as their usual exhibits, the Cambridge-based museum are also running a fantastic range of educational workshops over this period, as follows – click on the headings for full details and booking on the museum’s website:

Electronics Lab: Build a Message Wand

26 October 2015, 11am

Game On: The Guided Tour!

26 October 2015, 2pm

Big Trak Challenge

27 October 2015, 11am

Build Your Own Adventure Game

27 October 2015, 2pm

Learn to Code

28 October 2015, 10.30am

 

Power Play!

28 October 2015, 2pm

 

Bug Your Bedroom

29 October 2015, 11am

 

Power Play!

29 October 2015, 2pm

Scratch and Pi

30 October 2015, 11am

 

Power Play!

30 October 2015, 2pm

Contact

If you have any queries, you can get in touch with the Centre for Computing History at admin@computinghistory.org.uk, by phone on 01223 214446 or via their Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages (click icons below).

The Centre’s website is: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk

And their address is:

Centre for Computing History
Rene Court
Coldhams Road
Cambridge
CB1 3EW

Facebook Twitter Google Plus

 

Recursion 2015 repeats success in Stratford

The hall from above - general view
The hall from above – general view

Organisers of an exciting and innovative – but also nostalgic – computer fair which took place at a school in Stratford-upon-Avon, England on Saturday were celebrating another highly-successful repeat event as crowds swarmed in to see everything from retro-computers to robots via Raspberry Pi’s.

King Edward Vi School's Anroid App Inventor workshop
King Edward Vi School’s Anroid App Inventor workshop

The historic King Edward Vi School, where William Shakespeare was educated, was offering a free and fun-packed digital day out dedicated to computer science and computing in education, industry and leisure, to one and all – and were rewarded with a buzzing, vibrant and diverse event for computer fans of all interests, not only gaming. In short, a show of a kind which has been rarely seen since the 1990s!

Recursion 2015 banner
Recursion 2015 banner

The show, dubbed the Recursion 2015 Computer Science Fair, was held in the modern Levi Fox Hall of the Tudor school off Church Street, and delivered a great opportunity for anyone looking for a techno-fix of retro and modern computing, and all things educational. Amazingly, there was no charge for both visitors and exhibitors – but the packed event was definitely worth far more than the non-existent admission fee.

A 360 degree panorama from a corner of the hall
A 360 degree panorama from a corner of the hall

There was plenty of time for all kinds of fun and learning, since the fair was open between 11am-4pm, allowing visitors to catch up on the latest community gossip and events, sign up to a user group, find out about robots and computer science –  or just reminisce by playing their favourite games from the good old days.

From Vectrex to Einstein - a tiny sample of exhibits from the Retro Computer Museum in Leicester
From Vectrex to Einstein – a tiny sample of exhibits from the Retro Computer Museum in Leicester

The editor of Retro Computing News, Stuart Williams, was delighted to be able to attend in person to cover the show this year, and certainly had a ‘grand day out’ amongst the Amiga gurus, the Risc OS evangelists, the preservers of rare computers and historic software, the robot warriors and the gadget makers – and not least amongst the educationalists, teachers, and their students who are the future of British computing.

Our editor was certainly spoiled for choice, from wallowing in nostalgia (back in the 1980s-90s he wrote for several home computer magazines) by chatting to the Amiga experts, to watching the boffinaceous science and engineering antics of the fizzPOP maker crew and robot experts.  He was also excited to see all the new developments in school and university computer education, especially as there were no computers in schools when he left in the mid 1970s!

GEEKY FUN IN THE SUN AND INSIDE

Early British home computers the Compukit UK101 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k
Early British home computers the Compukit UK101 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k

The weather was blisteringly hot outside, but while it was warm inside too, it was actually really cool in so many ways! In fact there was everything for the geek (whether budding or ageing!), the hobbyist, the educationalist and the prospective student of school or university to take their minds off the soaring temperatures – not to mention the handy refreshment area.

From virtual reality learning to school video, there was plenty to interest the educationalist
From virtual reality learning to school video, there was plenty to interest the educationalist
SCHOOLS
Practical Programming Workshop using Scratch in the King Edward Vi School's Show in a Show
Practical Programming Workshop using Scratch in the King Edward Vi School’s Show in a Show

There was a great educational theme threaded all through Recursion, as you might expect in a school which clearly recognises the importance of real computing education and not just ‘ICT’ for pupils’ career prospects as much as its’ cultural connections with the Bard of Avon.

The Android App Inventor workshop
The Android App Inventor workshop

King Edward Vi School had also joined forces with several other schools and educators from the area and beyond, and students and other youngsters were treated to the opportunity to try modern coding by taking part in Android and Scratch programming workshops as well as experiencing the fun and excitement of building, programming and fighting with warrior robots in the Mindstorm Arena – as well as some high-powered modern PC gaming!

Those are the droids we're looking for - busily building and programming in the Mindstorm Arena
Those are the droids we’re looking for – busily building and programming in the Mindstorm Arena
Robots ready to rumble in the Mindstorm Arena
Robots ready to rumble in the Mindstorm Arena

Continue reading Recursion 2015 repeats success in Stratford

Visit Recursion 2015 this Saturday!

Part of King Edward Vi School
Part of King Edward Vi School

A great little show for computer fans with retro, hobby and education computing interests is ready to RUN this Saturday in Stratford-upon-Avon, England – at Shakespeare’s school!

The Recursion 2015 computer science fair is taking place in The Levi Fox Hall at the King Edward Vi School in Church Street on 4 July, 11am – 4pm, and judging by the final exhibition plan released today (click image below for larger version) should be a cracking event – and what’s more, admission is FREE!

In fact, we like the look of it so much that our editor, Stuart Williams, will be covering Recursion 2015 in person for Retro Computing News!

Recursion 2015 floor plan (courtesy Recursion)
Recursion 2015 floor plan (courtesy Recursion)

For more information on the exhibitors and what’s happening at the event, read our recent preview of Recursion 2015 and check out the event website. Download the event programme in pdf form via this link.

Amiga, Acorn, RiscOS, Retro computing and Raspberry Pi fans in particular have much to look forward to, whether you’re into hardware, software or coding – as does anyone interesting in computing education and employment, making stuff – and robotics!

There’ll be exhibitors from universities to user groups, via museums and business – as well as student-led workshops. Something, in fact, for geeks of all ages.

IF you can get there, THEN GOTO it – it looks like a great computing day out – with added Shakespeare!

Recursion show returns as Shakespeare’s school looks to repeat success

King Edward Vi School
King Edward Vi School

A highly historic but equally forward-looking Stratford-upon-Avon school is looking to repeat the success of a computer science fair held there last year as this year’s packed event is just weeks away.

And King Edward Vi School, where William Shakespeare was educated, looks all set to do it again, with a fun-packed digital day out dedicated to Computer Science and Computing in both industry and leisure!

The event, dubbed Recursion 2015, offers a great opportunity for anyone looking for a techno-fix of retro and modern computing, and all things educational, on Saturday 4 July – and amazingly, admission is free for all visitors and exhibitors!

Retro Computing News will be covering the show, so it seems timely to offer our readers a preview here.  We hope to see you there!

RETRO AND COMMUNITY

Why not join the school and exhibitors alike, to celebrate more than four decades of computing history?  With stands and presentations from all the favourites: Spectrum, Commodore, Amiga, Atari, Acorn and many more.

Catch up on the latest community gossip and events, sign up to a local user group or just reminisce by playing your favourite games from the good old days.

AMIGA 30

Amiga A1000
Amiga A1000

There will be special stands, competitions and activities to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Amiga, including the following:

Amiga North Thames
Andy Spencer
Retro Computer Museum
Demonstrations of
X1000, SAM460 running Amiga OS4
Demonstrations of
MorphOS, AROS and AEROS
Nick Severin Nigel Tromans

 

RISC OS SUMMER SHOW

Acorn Archimedes
Acorn Archimedes

The Midlands RiscOS User Group will be holding their annual Summer Show as part of Recursion.

RiscOS Exhibitors include:
The RiscOS Midlands User Group Vince Hudd Softrock
Chris Dewhurst Drag n Drop Magazine Andy Spencer Retro Computer Museum
Tom Williamson ROUGOL

– and don’t forget, RISC OS is a popular Raspberry Pi OS as well as on Acorn and later independent computers!

Continue reading Recursion show returns as Shakespeare’s school looks to repeat success

It’s Game On in Manchester this weekend!

Johann Sebastian Joust game at Manchester Day (pic Manchester City Council)
Johann Sebastian Joust game at Manchester Day (pic Manchester City Council)

The wait is almost over as Manchester Day returns this Sunday 14 June, midday – 6pm, for a free family-friendly celebration of all things marvellously Mancunian.

More importantly for gamers, especially indie and board game fans, this year’s Manchester Day theme is Game On! – celebrating the idea that games have helped shape modern Manchester and will have an important impact on the city’s future.

Game On! will see a whole weekend of gaming-themed fun on Saturday as well as Sunday, with video games as well as games of the more traditional variety given imaginative interpretations, as more than 2,500 participants from more than eighty community groups take to the streets for a spectacular parade through the city.

GAMING CONVENTION

In celebration of this year’s Manchester Day theme, a multi-platform gaming convention will come to Manchester’s Town Hall for the first time.

The free two-day gaming event will bring together the whole spectrum of gaming, from traditional table-top and board games to the best of UK and local computer game development.

The Manchester Day Games Room will have interactive fun for all ages, with a family orientated, creative and inclusive approach to video games and gaming.

Plugging in on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June (10am – 6pm each day), town hall will become the city’s living room for a weekend, giving gamers the chance to test their nerve at some of the newest indie titles and unusual board games.

GAMING INDUSTRY LINKS

Manchester has one of the fastest growing computer game development industries in the UK, with start-up companies finding support in new media hubs such as the Sharp Project in east Manchester.

More than 21,000 people are employed within the software, data and Games / AR industry in the city – with 5% of Greater Manchester’s population working within the digital and creative industries.

More than 300 creative start-up businesses each year are recorded in the city, with the next generation of coders finding the support network they need with coding clubs across the region. Coding is also taught in some primary schools as part of their curriculum.

Top titles such as Mutiny! and Sublevel Zero are hotly tipped as some of the most anticipated independent games on the market – and gamers will have the opportunity to have a go and meet their creators at the Manchester Day Games Room.

Also available to play is the much loved Johann Sebastian Joust game – a screen-less multiplayer game played using motion sensor technology in a battle of wits and a steady hand!

The Manchester Games Room will also showcase a range of low-tech alternatives with the help of the Tabletop Manchester group. Purveyors of extraordinary games, Tabletop are willing gamers away from the standard family favourites, opening a world of exciting board game fun.

Volunteers will be on hand to oversee some of the rarest and interesting board games, which most players won’t even have heard of. This is your chance to broaden your gaming horizon with some knowledgeable and enthusiastic experts!

PIXEL THE ROVING ROBOT

Pixel powers up for Manchester Day! (pic Manchester City Council)
Pixel powers up for Manchester Day! (pic Manchester City Council)

And don’t forget to follow Manchester Day’s official 16-bit mascot, PIXEL – a highly advanced, sentient robotic explorer who has been researching the city in the run up to Manchester Day! Pixel will be tweeting enthusiastically about Manchester’s incredible history. Follow @PixelMcrDay for some fascinating facts about Manchester, as well as the most up-to-date Manchester Day news.

Continue reading It’s Game On in Manchester this weekend!