|Retrovision- Power UP!|
Retrovision .We asked them about the experience and what inspires them in the world of gaming. We found out about their great track record of running retro events and the scene and many thoughts on what it takes to make a great event"
Retrovision is coming soon -
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd September.
Folly Bridge Inn, Oxford.
The event is a slight play on words and the evolution of Retrovision which was the first UK retro gaming event to take place in 2002 and was organised by Markie from the YakYak forums as a celebration of Jeff Minters Llamasoft. Over the years the event has evolved to become a general celebration of all retro gaming, homebrew gaming, modern gaming and cosplay. After Markie decided to take a break from running Retrovision, Amy (Pinkfearie) who runs a charity auction at the event asked me if I would help her co-organise another event and I agreed. We then contacted Psychorob who has been an important part of Retrovision for many years and the rest of the team who helped run the last Retrovision in 2012 and they all agreed to be involved with the event. I am just a small part of the fantastic team which makes everything happen and special. It seemed such a shame to let a good thing which so many people enjoy end, so it had to happen again!
What sort of gamers come to events like this?
The event attracts locals, regulars and newcomers. The event is unique that it is not heavily promoted locally to the general public, but only promoted on relevant forums (including YakYak, Retrogamer and Stairway to Hell), websites (such as this one), facebook, twitter and at other retro gaming events. Although some people bring their children along during the day, with it being held in a pub it is not really a family gaming event, and is more of an adults gaming event. A number of organisers from other events also normally attend as it gives them a chance to enjoy an event instead of worrying about having to run their own event. Despite having Retro in the event name it is also not just about Retro, and often has XBox 360, PS3s and Wiis running various unique games. Past more recent games have included Taiko Drum Master, Hampster Ball, Space Giraffe and Galaga Legions DX and even a radio controlled flight simulator on the PC.
Is it a really good social experience as well as gaming?
Some people who go do not even play on the games, and just come along to meet up with friends. The Pub is kept free of computers and separate from the gaming which is upstairs, which also makes it nice to have a break from the gaming during the event. There is also a trip to a local curry house where everyone takes their Nintendo DSs along and use Pictochat while waiting for the food to arrive. There is also 5 gaming competitions held at the event, which adds to the social and competitive aspect and gives people a good reason to play some of the games. Some of the visitors who create homebrew games also bring them along for others to play and get other peoples opinion on them. Past games have included the BBC Micro homebrew game called "Mixed Grill March" which was created especially for the event by starshipcommand and is loosely based on the Wii game "Muscle March" and the PC homebrew game "Markies Revenge" which was created by Beerman.
How far do people travel to get to events like this?
In the past people have flown in from Europe including PFVA from Portugal and limbclock from Finland just to visit Retrovision for the weekend, but people travel from all over the UK such as Bane who travels from Scotland, Psychorob who travels from Devon and Amy who travels from Doncaster. I myself live in Chelmsford which is a few hours from Oxford. - Whats a good cosplay costume - in your opinion?! Someone who has spent time and thought into making it. It does not have to be perfect, as long as you can make out who it is suppose to be, and the effort has been put in. There seems to be a lot more smaller local cosplay events happening and having retro gaming at the cosplay events is a perfect combination.
How could the retro scene work together more?
With the increase in the number of events there does seem to be more groups emerging and politics being involved. Somehow Retrovision has always avoided that and invites people from all retro gaming forums, and the atmosphere has always been special, enjoyable and relaxed. - is music part of the event - how does that work out? In the past SID80s (featuring Ben Daglish) have performed at the event in various line ups and while enjoyable this does add greatly to the costs and increases ticket prices as a result. We are not planning any live music this year. During the event we just let sounds from the gaming systems fill the room and have also left retro tunes running through a stereo in the corner to add to the atmosphere. Friday and Saturday evenings will have Rock Band sessions on the XBox 360 and now they have discontinued releasing new tracks for Rock Band I am guessing it might now be considered Retro :-) We are also planning on creating a Podcast at the event on Sunday for the Retro Asylum Podcast.
Do you attend any other gaming or gaming related events - to help out or just for pleasure?
I have attended many other retro gaming events as a visitor and to supply and help out. So far this year as a visitor I have been to Geek in Kent and Video Games Carnival in Aldershot. I supplied all the systems at NERG and had a large display at Silicon Dreams. I am also supplying TVs and systems for Retromania (being held by the Retro Asylum Podcast) in August, and am hoping to attend the UK Pinball Party in Daventry and CamCon in Cambridge, both events also in August which is quite a busy month. Just to conclude there is a small £10 ticket fee for the event for the entire weekend (Midday Friday to 5PM Sunday) which is used to cover the venue hire and other expenses, although the event is not being done for profit. Tickets can only be bought at the event with Cash.
What’s your take on the console market computing these days as opposed to the beginnings in the 80s and 90s?
With only three console manufacturers on the market, there is not as much choice as there was and it seems most same-name XBox 360 and PS4 games are identical (apart from the few system exclusives) with the Wii bring in a league of its own.
I own a XBox 360, PS3 and Wii, but only use the PS3 on a regular basis, although one of my biggest frustrations is when I go to play a game I have not played for a while and it then wants to download gigabytes of updates before I can play it, and by the time it has downloaded and installed the updates you sometimes no longer want to play it. It seems more games are being released incomplete and unfinished, using the gamers as beta testers and then releasing updates to fix the bugs and issues which was never possible in the past with console gaming. I am concerned that the next generation of consoles (PS4, XBox 180) seem to be turning more into media devices rather than gaming devoted gaming consoles, and with the increased quality of the games taking more time to create that less games will be released in the future. I am finding myself purchasing less new games than I used to. There also seems to be a load of Android based gaming systems having been announced, but only the OUYA has been released so far, it will be interesting to see if it can find a niche in the current market. As 3D TV sales increase and the eighth generation of consoles are more powerful, it will also be interesting to see if the number of games being created in 3D increases. I would also really like to know what Sega would have released had it decided to stay in the Console market. The only two games I am currently looking forward to are GTA V on PS3 and Transport Tycoon on iOS. The game I am currently playing the most is "I am an Air Traffic Controller 3" on the PC. -
How have the consoles and arcades changed for you over the years?
Growing up living in Southend I used to go to the arcades and mostly played driving games (Outrun, Hard Drivin', APB), and would also take the bus to Canvey Island which had a few arcades on its seafront. I visited Canvey Island and Southend Seafront a few years back and found it hard to find any classic arcade machines in any of the arcades as it is now almost all slot machines. I really lost interest in consoles during the Fifth Generation of systems, having owned a Master System 2, SNES, PS2 and Dreamcast before they were Retro. Things never stay the same forever so you have to enjoy the moment while you can.
What are the top 5 micros or consoles in your collection?
1. Atari 2600 (USA Sears Tele-Games) - I had a Atari 2600 growing up - a heavy sixer which I still own but is sadly no longer working. The graphics might not be the best, but the games (especially the two players games) are still extremely playable. I now own a modified Sears Tele-Games Light Sixer and the excellent Harmony Multicart. 2. Commodore 116 (Commodore Plus 4) - The Commodore Plus 4 is the computer I grew up with, so holds a special place in my heart. It had some really good games including some exclusives such as Kikstart C16 and The Magician Curse which were not released on other systems. Sadly I sold my original Plus 4 to raise funds towards the C64. The C116 is a rubber keyed mini Commodore Plus 4, but the one I own also has a 64k mod fitted so both 16k and 64k games can be played on it. 3. Commodore 64 - After the Commodore Plus 4, I had a Commodore 64 (the new case style one) from September 1991 until moving to PC in 1995. I still own this and now take it along to events. I think everyone has a special fondness for the systems they originally owned and used back in the day. 4. Sharp X68000 - One of my more recent purchases and already a big hit at the two shows it has appeared at, some of the games on the system are almost arcade quality. 5. Panasonic Q - The nicest looking retro console out there, any console collector really needs to own one of these as part of their collection. The gamecube also had a nice selection of games such as Warioware and Pac Man VS.
Have you ever been to overseas gaming?
Not yet as there are so many events in the UK to enjoy, there has been no need to travel overseas to any events. However I would like to visit CGE in Las Vegas next year if it happens and work and funds allow it. I'd also love to go to Funspot (USA) at some point if the chance arises. RetroMission 2013 -
All proceeds from the Charity Auction will go towards the charities Cancer Research and Magic Moments for Autistic Kids.
Videos from Retrovision 2012:
Photos from RetroVision 2012: