A favourite ‘fixture’ in the Blackpool entertainment calendar is playing to popular demand, by staging a second 2018 event just eight months after the first, to the delight of retro computer game addicts across the north.
The UK’s longest-running retro-gaming event, PLAY Expo Blackpool, will return to the Norcalympia Exhibition Centre during the half term break (October 27 and 28) as a celebration of all-things gaming that is even bigger and better than before.
Organisers, Replay Events, gambled at the start of the year, by moving the event’s date to February, from its traditional summer slot. That decision paid off with the event achieving its highest ever visitor numbers and attracting passionate retro and computer gamers from across the northwest.
To reward all the love received, the forthcoming October event is to offer super-sized bumper fun for families and adult gamers, in what has been christened the ‘PLAY Expo Blackpool One-off 2018 Retro Special’.
All areas of retro-gaming, including the classic-PC games section launched in Blackpool in February will be expanded for this autumn show. The handheld games section will also be back, whilst the number of arcade cabinet machines and pinball machines will be vastly increased.
There will be a whopping 120 arcade cabinets – both deluxe and classic – which will include some deluxe cabinets, courtesy of Retro Games Party, never before seen in Blackpool
Additionally, visitors will be delighted to find five times as many pinball machines, taking the total of pins to 50, thanks to Northern Lights, who supported the very first PLAY Expo Blackpool back in 2010.
All of the arcade and pinball games will be free to play within the ticket price, so there is no need to hoard 10 pence pieces in advance!
Also wowing visitors will be 200 retro consoles, computers, handhelds and PCs, together running the best games from the past 40 years of gaming. Players can evoke memories from across these four decades, whether they are playing with a Sinclair, Commodore, Nintendo, Sega, Sony or Xbox system. Classic games such as Manic Miner, Decathlon and Gran Turismo will all want someone to play them and staff will be on hand to assist those spoilt for choice.
Gaming enthusiasts can either fly solo on their chosen system and preferred games, or opt to head to the LAN gaming zone, where they can play along with friends or family using set-ups like Doom and Quake.
The Next-Gen zone also has some shake-ups. This area will feature reboots and remakes of the best-loved franchises for the next-gen machines, including Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, WipeOut Omega Collection and Street Fighter 30th Anniversary. This will be complemented with the PSN and Xbox Live Zone, which will feature quirky, retro-styled games only available on digital download. The Retro Special theme will be continued through the introduction of Steam games for PC-gamers, many of which can be played by groups of four.
Bang-up-to-date games will sit alongside all the retro delights, thanks to a selection of VR thrillers that will warp the player’s reality and play tricks on their mind. A selection of demos and games will be running and on offer and staff will guide those seeking alternate reality, so that all get as much out of it as possible.
The competitive can take part in numerous exciting and challenging tournaments based around classics such as Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter, plus some more unusual games. This time, there will also be a cash prize for the winner of the Cosplay Masquerade, to the tune of £200 plus goodies and a chance to compete in national finals.
Everything PLAY Expo Blackpool visitors have come to love with still be available, despite the big expansion in key areas. If they are heading to the event for the four-player-screen set-ups, rhythm games or enlarged light gun alley, they will find these features awaiting them and much more.
A line-up of VIP gaming guests is yet to be revealed, but there will be talks from the main stage on both days. Other elements are also currently in the making, including the Indie Zone and the irresistible Shopping Hall. Replay Events are inviting independent game makers to get in touch and find out more about attending the show and have the same message for traders with classic games, merchandise, retro toys and other items to sell.
Organiser Andy Brown, managing director of Replay Events, says: “We were overwhelmed by the February show’s success and wanted to reward our loyal fans in Blackpool, where our PLAY Expo series of events was born. We are excited by how many new things we have got on offer this time round and hope that our scheduling of the show, during the October half term break, will allow children, parents, and anyone else seeking some great indoor fun on an autumn’s day, to head inside the Norcalympia Exhibition Centre and find out what so many people love about PLAY Expo Blackpool.”