Category Archives: Retro

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

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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

Seminal retro-games enter Video Game Hall of Fame

Doom
Doom

Seminal video game classics Doom and Pong have been inducted into the first Video Game Hall of Fame, as part of a project to find influential games begun in February by American museum of play ‘The Strong’.

Minecraft and Angry Birds, although finalists, didn’t make the cut but World of Warcraft, Pac-Man, Tetris and Super Mario Bros did.

The museum invited people to nominate video games played in all formats to be selected as iconic game-changers and the winners span thirty years of gaming between 1972 (Pong) to 2004 (W.O.W.).

Pong was an obvious choice because it effectively launched the video gaming industry, say the museum:

Pong (pic Wikipedia)
Pong (pic Wikipedia)

“By most measures of popular impact, Pong (1972) launched the video game industry. A simple game involving two paddles and a ball, Pong introduced millions to the joys of playing video games.

Although it was not the first electronic game, and the Magnavox Odyssey home console already featured a similar tennis game,Pong was the first game to grab wide-scale public attention. Its success propelled Atari into a preeminent role in the video game industry. Decades after its launch, Pong’s iconic sound, intuitive controls, and satisfying game play still resonate, inviting people to try their hand at keeping the ball bouncing as long as possible.”

Other games were chosen for becoming cultural icons (Tetris), making games a mass-market phenomenon (Pac-Man) and changing the way games were made (Doom).

Continue reading Seminal retro-games enter Video Game Hall of Fame

Legendary Oliver Twins to appear at Play Blackpool

Philip and Andrew Oliver with games old and new, Dizzy and SkySaga (Pic: The Oliver Twins/Radiant Worlds)
Philip and Andrew Oliver with games old and new, Dizzy and SkySaga (Pic: The Oliver Twins/Radiant Worlds)

Great news for anyone heading for the PLAY arcade, indie and retro gaming show at Blackpool next month is that they’ll get the chance to hear and meet that dynamic duo of retro and modern gaming, legendary British programmers and businessmen the Oliver Twins.

Not only is Andrew Oliver going to be on hand to talk about the forthcoming game SkySaga from the twins’ own current company, Radiant Worlds, but the latest news is that he will now be joined by his brother Philip.

The popular and wide-ranging event features the first public UK preview of SkySaga, which looks to be a hit in the making, but most importantly for retro fans is that Andrew and Philip will be giving two talks on the Saturday at 1pm and 3pm, the first being a nostalgic glance back at their past games and their remarkable life programming in their bedrooms in the 1980s!

The second, bringing their long and successful careers into perspective, will focus on their important new project, SkySaga: Infinite Isles (definitely not a bedroom job!), and some of the production team from Radiant Worlds will be there, offering show attendees the chance to play the game in the exhibition hall itself.

Andrew and Philip became British gaming legends as ‘The Oliver Twins’ in the 1980s when they developed, amongst other hugely popular series, the equally legendary (and still very popular amongst retro gamers)  Dizzy adventures and the Simulator games, which were published by Codemasters.

PLAY Blackpool

Retro fans and new gamers alike will also have the chance to get their collectables signed by the twins – reason enough to beat a path to the Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre for what looks set to be another great PLAY expo.

So don’t forget to bring your Dizzy games and other items for the Oliver Twins to autograph!

Continue reading Legendary Oliver Twins to appear at Play Blackpool

GEEKs invade Birmingham this weekend!

Heroes and Villains is the theme
Heroes and Villains

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.

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Swindon Museum of Computing children’s events

Museum of Computing logo

Loads of fun for all the family is programmed for the Museum of Computing in Swindon, Wiltshire this weekend!

Summer Activities

In the last of this month’s Children’s summer activities, the Museum, which is in Theatre Square, opens its doors on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 August for a  Codes and Ciphers Treasure Hunt! Can you crack the 6 coded messages, find the hidden treasure in the museum and claim your prize?

All activities are free, but standard museum admission charges apply (adult admission £2, children £1, concessions £1.50 and families £5).

The Museum

The Museum of Computing opens its doors on Fridays and Saturdays and offers a fascinating glimpse into a subject that many of us can’t help but connect with.

Although it provides a serious record of serious computing, as you might expect, the Museum of Computing is also high on nostalgia. Many exhibits are devoted to home computing, so you are likely to encounter a few old ‘friends’ in the shape of games consoles and primitive PCs.

The Museum of Computing offers educational opportunities for all ages with Saturday morning computer club for children. There is a waiting list for these sessions so please contact the Museum of Computing on info@museumofcomputing.org.uk.

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The Retrocomputing heart of the Midlands is Leicester!

Retro Computer Museum logo

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.

RCM Weekender, May 2011 - courtesy Retro Computer Museum
RCM Weekender, May 2011 – courtesy Retro Computer Museum

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!

The guys from the Retro Computer Museum at Revival 2014 with their virtual reality machines behind (pic: Stuart Williams)
The guys from the Retro Computer Museum at Revival 2014 with their virtual reality machines behind (pic: Stuart Williams)

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.

Continue reading The Retrocomputing heart of the Midlands is Leicester!

Upcoming at The Centre for Computing History

Centre for Computing History

One of the UK’s top computer museums, especially for fans of retrocomputing, is the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England.

They regularly participate in and run retro gaming and educational events but for the next few weeks their internal events focus is on things which are mostly a little more up-to-date!

Sonic Pi Workshop

This coming Wednesday 27 August, for example, sees a Sonic Pi Workshop running at the Centre, offering those attending the session the chance to explore the open source programming environment Sonic Pi, which is designed to explore and teach programming concepts on the inexpensive British Raspberry Pi computer through the process of creating new sounds. Sounds like fun!

Full details:  Sonic Pi Workshop

The Art of Intelligence Analysis with IBM

An exciting challenge will be set in the following workshop at the Centre, on Monday 1 September, from 11am-2.30pm, when simulating a real-life investigation, participants are cast in the role of Intelligence Analysts and, using the award-winning IBM i2 Analyst’s Notebook combined with their own brainpower, are asked to solve a fraud case!

Full details:  The Art of Intelligence Analysis with IBM

Continue reading Upcoming at The Centre for Computing History