An exhibition concept created by a Lancashire-based businessman, and born in his home town of Blackpool seven years ago, has announced new dates for its Blackpool event, as it continues to grow and reach a worldwide audience.
PLAY Expo Blackpool is returning to Blackpool in February half term (February 10 and 11), having moved from its usual May dates. This will allow families to relax and play together during the school holidays, enjoying the best all-weather and value-for-money fun possible.
Meanwhile, PLAY Expo Blackpool is now not just thrilling families across the UK, but also operating in far-flung locations such as Amsterdam and Jakarta. Eleven events are in 2018’s schedule, along with another 10 events at which the Replay Events team will provide support, equipment and content. A new event, in Bristol, will take the team to the south west and another location will be revealed shortly.
The PLAY Expo brand was born in Blackpool back in 2010, when managing director of Replay Events saw a gap in the market for an exhibition based around retro gaming, as much-loved retro games became overshadowed by next-generation video games.
The first Blackpool event attracted around 1500 people over two days. Families welcomed the chance to challenge each other to iconic games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario, whilst nostalgia made the family event as popular with parents as with children.
The event quickly outgrew the venue, leading to another event – PLAY Expo Manchester – having to be created. This quickly attracted 25,000 visitors, while the Blackpool event visitor numbers grew to around 5,000, with many being travelling from places outside the resort.
The PLAY Expo brand has created significant employment opportunities, with 30 people working on the Manchester event alone. The company has also been nominated for several industry awards, winning one TIGA Award.
Andy Brown says: “Play is just as beneficial for adults as it is for children, but we sometimes forget that. Parents love to show their children how much fun they had when they were their age, playing the retro games we have within our exhibition and nostalgia gives our event a unique feel. Memories really are worth their weight in gold.”
As well as having a host of retro games and family game challenges, the February show in Blackpool will host the launch of the new Dizzy game, ‘Wonderful Dizzy’, and there will be a question and answer session with gaming legends, Philip and Andrew Oliver, who will offer insight into the Dizzy Franchise and the Spectrum Next.
It will also host its first Retro Games YouTuber panel talk and question and answer session, featuring four of the biggest names in the social media channel’s retro game sphere. Retro game fanatics will be able to pitch their questions to Larry Bundy Jr, Nostalgia Nerd, Kim Justice and Slopes Game Room and learn from these super-gamers.
And as 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the iconic Digitiser – a video games magazine broadcast on Teletext between 1993 and 2003 – another special guest will be ‘Mr Biffo’ aka Paul Rose, who was responsible for the iconic magazine.
Add to this LAN gaming, music-based games, the Cosplay masquerade, a huge classic seaside arcade with almost 100 arcade games and pinball tables set to free play and a shopping hall full of classic and modern games, gaming merchandise and retro toys and The Norbreck Castle venue should be packed. Advance ticket purchase gives the visitor a one-hour start on pay-on-arrival visitors, enabling them to get to play on their favourite games sooner.