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?
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!
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→
Last July saw veteran retro gaming/arcade show organisers Revival Retro Events make a triumphant return to the retro scene at a brand-new venue following a break from major events since 2014.
Breaking new ground for the show, and for Walsall, REVIVAL Solstice 2016 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! And thanks to a massive amount of hard work and enthusiasm from the REVIVAL RETRO EVENTS team, numerous keen volunteers and all concerned, the event was a resounding success.
Fast forward to 2017 and the latest hot-off-the-press news for retro gaming and computing fans is that the organiser of the event, Craig Turner of REVIVAL RETRO EVENTS and Turnarcades fame, has just announced this year’s follow-up to the Solstice show – REVIVAL: The Rivals 2017 – and is already in the process of confirming its many exciting features!
The Facebook event page for REVIVAL: The Rivals 2017, which this year is over Saturday 20 – Sunday 21 May, 10am-4pm, is now up and, eager to keep things fresh in retro, Craig and his team are once again mixing it up, and as the name suggests, ‘The Rivals’ is the keynote, with this latest show focusing on the competition and challenge of retro gaming! From the classic home computer and console company rivalries of the past, right through to head-to-head competition, this event will have all you love about a REVIVAL event plus the following special features:
Embrace competition – Any old-school gamer will likely have grown up with the best gaming TV, and in his first gaming event presence since leaving Sky in 1998, Gamesmaster and Games World commentator, reviewer, co-host and pro gamer Dave ‘The Games Animal’ Perry will be in attendance to talk about his history and take part in the Retro Lords’ on-stage competition and antics!
Side-by-side system rivalries to directly compare ports – Spectrum vs. Commodore, Nintendo vs. Sega, Apple vs. IBM, they all sparked playground arguments – put your case forward and compare!
Multiplayer madness – real fun and real competition can only be had face to face with your friends, and all the best multiplayer experiences from tournament fighters to 4/8-player arcade and sports games will be laid out test your skills.
Link-ups and crossovers – many multiplayer experiences eluded the average gamer, so get the chance to go head to head over LAN on 486 PC’s, cable up those Gameboys for 4-way play, Lap friends at the wheel in Daytona, or even play Frankenstein combos like the ST and Amiga system link games!
Test your skills – There will be more competitions this time with some very special prizes being awarded for the best of the best from speed runners to fighting game masters.
All this, plus MORE arcade, MORE pinball, MORE traders and MORE special guests!
This is is REVIVAL RETRO EVENTS’ 4th year, and whether you’ve been before or not, you can be sure to find a whole lot of fun and excitement waiting for you – as well as a bucketload of nostalgia and retro goodness – so be sure to get yourselves along for the unmatched REVIVAL atmosphere – it’s always a top weekend!
Meet Retro Computing News
Retro Computing News will be covering the event over both days, and we’ll not only have a table there but we’re also sponsoring the show again with a special competition prize (TBA)! So why not drop by when you’re there, and say hi to our editor and publisher, Stuart Williams?
In the meantime, watch out for more updates about REVIVAL: The Rivals 2017 as soon we have them. And check out our feature on last year’s show here to see the kind of thing you’ll be missing if you don’t come along in May: REVIVAL Solstice 2016
An exciting new 8-bit retro role-playing game (RPG) has been announced for WIndows PC’s, Apple Macs and classic Commodore 64/128 home computers.
Unknown Realm: The Siege Perilous, a fantasy-based game inspired by the classic RPGs of the 1980s, is the subject of a new Kickstarter campaign and remarkably, with just 11 days to go, has so far received pledges of $77,462 from 701 backers.
According to developers Stirring Dragon Games, “Unknown Realm: The Siege Perilous is designed in the spirit of classic RPGs such as Ultima & Bard’s Tale. Boasting a size of 16Mbits, it is the largest 8-bit RPG to be made on cartridge (Commodore 64/128 NTSC/Pal compatible) ever. Crowdfunding began on Kickstarter on 15 December 2016 and concludes on 18 January 2017.”
They describe the game as:
Open-world, exploration focused
Big Box RPG physical edition with cloth map, game manuals, etc
Largest 8-bit RPG on cartridge
Custom C64 cartridge
Custom platform for modern systems delivers a true retro experience
In-game hybrid soundtrack toggles between 8-bit and modern music
System requirements are:
Commodore 64/128 (NTSC/PAL)
Windows XP and above
MacOS X 10.5 and above
On current estimates the game is projected to be released in December 2017.
Stirring Dragon Games is the husband-and-wife team of veteran game developer Bruce Gottlieb and his wife Laura.
They say: “We are currently making an authentic 8-bit fantasy role-playing game inspired by the classic RPGs of the 80s. Our goal is to make games that synergize classic gaming aesthetics with modern sensibilities. We are big fans of old school 80’s game companies like Infocom, Origin, and Sierra and we want to bring back that quintessential 80’s gaming experience, including all the feelies!”
The game certainly looks like a whole lot of old-school fun, and we’d love to review it in Retro Computing News when it’s ready!
Image note Pictures courtesy Stirring Dragon Games. This game is a work-in-progress, and the developer states that all artwork is subject to change and will be updated on their website periodically with the latest images.
The Retro Computer Museum (RCM) are coming to Kendal Road Baptist Church in Gloucester, England, for their first off-site retro gaming event of the year – and the largest retro event in Gloucestershire!
The event, which takes place on Saturday 11 February 2017 from 10am till 6pm, is the third such that the Museum, which is normally based in Leicester, has organised at the Kendal Road, Longlevens, venue.
They will be setting up 20 of their retro computers and arcade machines for visitors to find out about and play on – and will also be running a competition for the highest score achieved on the ever-popular Chuckie Egg game!
For added fun, a Scalextric track will be available for racing action, and the Museum volunteers will also be joined on the day by Pop-Up Board Games, with a range of classic games to play.
A project to produce books detailing the history of Mastertronic budget computer games has gone live on Kickstarter.
Founded in 1983 by Martin Alper, Frank Herman and Alan Sharam, British company Mastertronic went on to become one of the UK’s biggest home video game publishers of the 1980s.
The company’s marketing strategy of putting games on shelves at the low price of just £1.99, when most other games sold from £4.99, resulted in booming sales and massive profits for the London-based company.
The Kickstarter appeal aims to produce both a standard volume and an enhanced collector’s volume detailing the history of these games.
The project is being organised by publishers Player One Books of Canberra, Australia. The books are unofficial publications.
First up is the Standard Edition 256 page hardcover book covering all of the Mastertronic £1.99 releases including game reviews, game credits, screen shots, cover images and more.
The special 512 page Collector’s Edition includes everything in the Standard Edition, PLUS an additional 256 pages featuring game reviews, game credits, screen shots, cover images and more of the other Mastertronic labels such as M.A.D., Americana, Rebound, Rack-It, etc PLUS the unique disk releases.
“199 RANGE” limited collector’s edition
The “199 Range” Limited Collector’s Edition pledge includes the “199 Range” 512 page Collector’s Edition featuring a unique cover design, PLUS a signed and numbered “199 Range” bookplate, PLUS a 128 page Cover Art Gallery book featuring a range of game covers including commentary by select original cover artists, PLUS a limited edition “199 Range” USB cassette, featuring a custom “199 Range” inspired hand numbered inlay, and containing a 512 page PDF copy of the The Mastertronic Archives Collector’s Edition, and a 128 page PDF copy of the cover gallery book PLUS a set of limited edition postcards.
Funding options are shown in Australian dollars on the Kickstarter site, not to be confused with US dollars.
Around the globe
UK and EU backers: Books will be shipped from within the UK to minimise shipping costs and delivery times. North America backers: Books will be shipped from within North America to minimise shipping costs and delivery times. Australian backers: Books will be shipped from within Australia to minimise shipping costs and delivery times.
One of the UK’s most prolific home computer gaming publishers of the 1980s-90s is to be honoured by Ludlow Civic Society in the now-defunct company’s ‘birthplace’, Ludlow, with a special blue heritage plaque!
Newsfield Publications Ltd, usually referred to simply as Newsfield, was founded by Roger Kean, Franco Frey and Oliver Frey in 1983. Based in the market town of Ludlow in Shropshire, England, Newsfield is most famed for publishing a number of popular computer game magazines from the mid-1980s to early-1990s.
Newsfield’s home computer/gaming magazines included:
Crash (focusing on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum)
Zzap!64 (covering the Commodore 64)
Amtix! (a short-lived Amstrad CPC publication)
The Games Machine (a multi-format games mag)
Raze (rebranded from The Games Machine and focused on Japanese consoles)
Complete Computer Entertainment Guide (a multi-format, quarterly magazine)
This line-up was over time supplemented by a number of less successful magazines covering role-playing games, film, horror and youth culture – for more general info, see Wikipedia’s Newsfield article.
Newfield’s headquarters between 1984-1989 was the upper three floors of number 2, King Street, a place of pilgrimage for avid 8-bit retrogamers even today. This is where the plaque will be fixed for posterity.
Importance of gaming industry
The plaque also effectively recognises the importance of the rise of the 8- and 16-bit games market in the 1980s and 90s and subsequently of retrogaming today.
It is hoped that some kind of unveiling of the plaque will be held in the near future so that fans of Newsfield’s seminal magazines can come from far and wide to view it.
A popular Leicester museum specialising in the history of computing has moved – and is celebrating with a special Open Weekend this Saturday and Sunday!
The move, which is something of a ‘quantum leap’ for both the Retro Computer Museum and its staff alike, is to more spacious premises nearby, and reflects the success of the fast-growing establishment, whose volunteers are often to be seen showing off some of the stars of the Museum’s collections at retro events up and down the UK.
The Museum, which transferred its vast number of exhibits, plus furniture, equipment and storage, from its previous accommodation at the Troon Way Business Centre in January, now has more room to breathe at Unit A of the Humberstone Lane centre – thanks to the sterling efforts of volunteer staff and supporters.
Congratulations – and celebrations
Congratulations are therefore now due – and to celebrate the move, the Museum is holding an OPEN WEEKEND on Saturday 6th – Sunday 7th February 2016, from 10am-6.30pm.
Curator and Museum organiser Andy Spencer said about the event:
“Just pop along any time and say hello! This weekend is completely free and on us. Yep! You read that correctly. There will be over 40 systems all ready to play on and use – no restrictions! Why not bring the family? – surely there is something here for everybody. All the classics – fully playable! We look forward to welcoming you!”
Well worth your support
The Retro Computer Museum 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 1960’s onwards.
Their main focus is on systems that were in use in the home, rather than big computer systems and mainframes of early computer development. Accordingly, 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.
The RCM aims to provide Retro Gaming and Computing events and access to retro computer equipment for educational visits and tours. The Retro Computer Museum has held seven Retro Gaming events of its own to date, including partnership events with Snibston Discovery Museum. The Retro Computer Museum has also made appearances including the 2010 Vintage Computer Festival in Bletchley Park, Recursion 2015 and participating in the 2010 EuroCon event in Manchester with a line-up of British computers.
The Museum is a fascinating and friendly place, and a worthy cause for your donations of old hardware, software, books – and perhaps a little cash to help keep things going! So if you really do enjoy yourself there this weekend (and we’re sure you will) a donation to the museum would be greatly appreciated – but is not compulsory.
The Museum’s full address and contact details are:
Unit A, Troon Way Business Centre,
Humberstone Lane, Leicester LE4 9HA
Mobile: 07519 816 283