This weekend, geeks and gamers will be an even more common sight in Birmingham, England than usual, as the GEEK festival moves north from its usual home in Margate, Kent – and this latest event has the theme of Heroes and Villains!
Since 2012 the event has run in the February school half term, inviting people to come and play in the seaside town in the winter. But this time the geeks roadshow – organised by Marine Studios – and its hordes of fans old and new – are expected to rock up early, at the Custard Factory arts and events creative quarter and venue in Gibb Street, Birmingham – in the heart of the ‘second city’.
Retro Gaming and geekery galore in Brum
From Friday 19 – Sunday 21 September, the GEEKS will be bringing you all the best retro video gaming from Replay Events! Classic and modern games will be available to play, alongside quirky games like Punch The Custard. You’ll also be able to chat to indie developers, check out props from blockbuster movies and geek out to your heart’s content. Tickets are on sale NOW – check out the GEEK website for opening hours and advance tickets, and day tickets can also be purchased on the day/night.
Coming soon to a cyberspace portal near you is a great worldwide coding event which pays tribute to the spirit everyone’s favourite rubber-keyed wonder, the Sinclair Spectrum home computer, which started the home computer gaming revolution in the 1980s.
#Speccyjam is a regular world wide one week game jam, where indie game developers come together to create games with the flavour of the famous British 8-bit retro gaming legend – and the next event is on 29 August – 5 September, 2014.
Game developers may work alone or as part of a team, and can use any game engine or dev tools to create their game. It can be developed for ANY device or platform… it doesn’t matter as long as it looks and feels like a Spectrum game!
Your game doesn’t have to run on an actual Spectrum, or an emulator – It can run in whatever environment you are comfortable with, just as long as people can play it when it’s finished.
Did you know that one of the meccas for British retrocomputing fans is in Leicester, England?
The Retro Computer Museum, which opened its new HQ in March 2013 at the Troon Way Business Centre off Humberstone Lane, is a registered charity dedicated to the benefit of the public for the preservation, display and public experience of computer and console systems from the 1960s onwards.
The museum’s main focus is on systems that were in use in the home, rather than big computer systems and mainframes of early computer development. They have systems ranging from the early Pong consoles through the Sega and Nintendo console wars and the home computers of the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64s and Amigas. From the famous to the obscure, the rooms at the museum are packed solid with fascinating bygone gadgets, and software from floor to ceiling!
And this museum and its enthusiastic volunteers certainly punch above their weight when it comes to retro events, having made important contributions to the content of Revival 2014 at Dunstall Park, Wolverhampton, and Silicon Dreams at Snibston Discovery Museum, as well as Spectrum @ 30 (at Anglia Ruskin University) and their own series of RCM Gaming Events, for example.
Britain’s National Museum of Computing is all set to prove that computer history is fun this Bank Holiday weekend – with a double whammy of retro gaming excitement, daylight stargazing – and more!
The Bletchley Park based charity, which houses and preserves an internationally important collection of historic computers and exhibits dating back to the Second World War, when Bletchley Park (near Milton Keynes) was the top-secret headquarters of Britain’s codebreakers and computer scientists, have been running their daily series of Summer Bytes events and activities since 26 July – but there’s still time to join in the fun before the conclusion of the programme on 2 September.
A little over a week ago a remarkable event took place in Wolverhampton, which turned a racecourse into a Technicolor time machine. And as you might expect, the conference centre at Dunstall Park really did seem bigger on the inside!
The happening in question was Revival 2014, a computer and console games expo with a difference – it might not have looked out of place back in the 1980s or 1990s, for this was something very special – a ‘retro gamer’s’ time warp.
I have to admit to being more than a little retro myself, having started both ‘serious’ computing and gaming back in 1982 at the start of the British home computer boom, and I am glad I spotted an advertisement for this second event in the now-annual series while reading the latest issue of Retro Gamer magazine. I was determined to be there or be square on Saturday 9 August, the first day of the two day show. As it happens I was unable to make it on the Sunday, which is just as well as I would have gotten a soaking due to the rain, but fortunately the Saturday weather was perfect, especially for sitting outside eating lunch in the glorious sunshine.
The event, which filled the racecourse’s foyer, bar and biggest function rooms, was headlined by legendary US computer games designer John Romero, a rockstar-like programmer equally known for his long hair as well as game titles like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Dangerous Dave and Quake to his credit – and he certainly had fans following him around and asking for his autograph all day. He even gave a very interesting and well-received Q&A session about his career and work as part of a packed programme of talks by seminal games makers and journalists from the British scene.
Behind the scenes of Revival 2014, though, the real powers that be were busy corralling computers and gang-mastering arcade games, with the vital assistance of some important partners and exhibitors, not to mention a substantial number of dealers in retro and arcade goodies both esoteric and popular. Continue reading Going retro down in Wolvo→
computer history, retro gaming and computing today