Two immediate observations that anyone in attendance will definitely recognise – there were a lot of people, and there were a lot of games. The event had expanded to several rooms over two floors after the huge demand of 2014’s event, and the additional floorspace was definitely needed. Victoria Hall was transformed into a retro gaming haven – with thousands of carts and consoles to pour over across spreads of tables and stalls – and the organisers even saw fit to pipe in retro gaming tunes to the main hall.
After queuing round the corner, entry was only £1 and entitled you to come and go as you pleased by showing your purchased wristband – it did pay dividends to leave and come back later in the day, with less event goers to vie with at stalls – and still a huge amount of unsold stuff to peruse and purchase.
Being an enthusiast-dedicated event, you can’t expect to find any outrageous, charity shop/car boot-esque steals on more valuable items from unknowing sellers, but the consensus seemed to be that prices across the board were very reasonable – and there were plenty of bargains to be had. One of the greatest pleasures as a retro gaming fan was seeing row after row and box after box of Japanese carts – there aren’t many physical retail events outside of Japan that offer this sort of experience on this scale, and being able to sift through games and hardware by hand – in many cases being able to negotiate on prices with the seller – is definitely recommended to retro game collectors who have amassed most of their collection via eBay and the like. This was all good for Retron 5 users – we were on the hunt for NES, SNES, Mega Drive, and Game Boy carts from all regions, knowing we’d be able to get home and play them using a Retron. And we did end up buying a few:
The range of stuff was huge – we saw boxes of Spectrum tapes and Amiga games near Xbox 360 and PS3 stuff – although the new was definitely outnumbered by the old. SNES/Super Famicom lots were very common, as were Game Boy and Playstation.
The guys over at Warp Zone were present in a big way – they took the main stage, and had easily the biggest set of retro carts to purchase. Seriously – it was probably worth coming to the event just to browse their SNES/Super Famicom selection alone! Check out their set up:
There were also some great finds to be had at the Console Passion stall, too – they’ve always had a great range of retro products available on their site, and there’s something special about being able to see all those old games in person (even if it leaves you wanting to buy them all…).
There was also a good range of merchandise, hand-made retro game-inspired perlers and artwork, and – of course – arcade machines, with NERG hauling down a couple of cabinets to for attendees, and various vendors offering hand-built MAME cabinets to play and purchase.
Definitely a worthwhile event for any retro gaming fans, then – we’ll be in attendance next year, possibly with some stuff of our own…