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.

Continue reading Swindon Museum of Computing children’s events

Get in a jam – Sinclair Spectrum style!

SpeccyJam logo - courtesy SpeccyJam

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.

Find out more at:

www.speccyjam.com

and check out some of last year’s #SpeccyJam games here:

www.speccyjam.com/games/

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

Get your teeth into retro games and stargazing as Summer Bytes at TNMOC!

Space Invaders courtesy of TNMOC

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.

Summer Bytes courtesy TNMOC

Computer games weekend

Every day, Summer Bytes is packed with a wide range of activities, but on Saturday 23 August the fun really moves to the next level with a Computer Games Weekend, offering the chance to play retro games as well as  the opportunity to meet professional games makers! Continue reading Get your teeth into retro games and stargazing as Summer Bytes at TNMOC!

Going retro down in Wolvo

The start of the queue at Dunstall Park
The start of the queue at Dunstall Park

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.

Revival banner

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.

You have entered the Platformer Zone...
You have entered the Platformer Zone…

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.

John Romero (centre) meets fans
John Romero (centre) meets fans

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

Welcome to Retrocomputing News!

Metropolis

Welcome to Retrocomputing News, the new online news magazine covering retrocomputing, history of computing and allied subjects, including retro gaming, events and exhibitions, places of interest such as museums, and relevant technology or literature including science fiction, science and robotics.

It’s very early days yet and it will take us time to build up a body of work here – the design of the magazine and its contents will be evolving rapidly, so please do keep coming back to find out how we’re getting on, and tell your friends!

We are not a dedicated gaming and games reviews magazine, there are plenty of excellent magazines and blogs out there that cover that specific scene extremely well.  We aim for a more general coverage than that, and will publish primarily news and features. rather than reviews and games hints. But we will cover games news!

If you’ve a site with similar interests – including retro games – please do consider giving us a link and we’ll return the favour.

Continue reading Welcome to Retrocomputing News!

computer history, retro gaming and computing today