Friday 28 June 2013

Play Expo - Exclusive Pre-Event Interview

Play Expo...what an event it will be!
We spoke to Andy Brown. Director at Replay Events Ltd, Owner of Console Passion Retro Games about the vision behind the Play Expo - EventCity, Manchester on 12-13 October 2013 , and his gaming passions and why gaming is so important to us all...

What are your roles Play Expo / Replay Events? 
Director, Event Coordinator and glorified stock room boy.

What's it like working for Play Expo / Replay Events? 
Last year I quit my job of 17 years to work full time on Replay Events so that should say something about it. Nothing beats getting up every day to do a job I love, I rarely feel like I'm actually working - I genuinely enjoy my working day. All-in-all I'd say I'm pretty lucky.

What motivates you to keep running events like Play Expo? 
Multiple reasons really. Each time we do an expo we are looking for ways to improve on what we did at the last show and that is a great motivator - to better our previous event. I get such a buzz at Play Expo; walking around and seeing thousands of people enjoy themselves makes me want to carry on doing this as long as I can. Plus I get to meet lots of video game celebrities.

What do you see for Play Expo in the future? 
I see the expo continuing to grow year-on-year. Each show we add new features, increase the number of systems on the show floor, have more exhibitors and as I just said generally improve on the previous year's expo. I personally would like to see more indie games and have some live link up Q&A sessions with industry legends from USA and Japan.

What is the best thing about your job at Play Expo / Replay Events? 
See previous answer - doing a job I love!

What video games and arcade games did you grow up with?
I grew up in Blackpool so I spent a lot of my childhood playing arcade games. We had huge amusements on the seafront and one of my fondest memories is playing Space Harrier Deluxe in Mr B's for the first time - £2 seemed like £200 in those days! I played anything and everything from Galaxian to Street Fighter and I’m lucky enough to own several arcade machines these days, Toobin and Operation Wolf being my two favourites. I’m on the lookout for an Outrun at the moment if anyone has one... I had home computers around me from an early age too. I was firmly in the Commodore camp from day one - I had a Vic 20, then C64 and Amiga so I played most of the well known titles on those machines but I was particularly partial to games containing a certain mole. We also flew the Sega flag in our house, my brother had a Master System and I had a Megadrive.

If you could be a videogame character who would it be? 
Miner Willy as that must have been some kick ass party he had in Jet Set Willy.

What is gaming all about for you?
Depends on the game/genre/generation. I like losing myself in modern games that have a good storyline - I am currently playing The Last of Us which is incredible. I also like the social aspect introduced by modern consoles - the Wii has some cracking multiplayer games which can really liven up a party. If I'm playing retro it's all about the nostalgia of that game. When I have a short gaming session it's invariably on a retro game that I played when I was a kid and I'm trying to beat my top score. Though I did accept a long time ago that I am actually pretty rubbish at games...

What’s your take on the console market and the arcade market these days as opposed to the beginnings in the 80s and 90s? 
Obviously very different, I think arcades are a thing of the past these days which is a shame as it's a very different experience to home gaming. I think the iOS and handheld markets of the past few years have brought about a whole new wave of creativity which we haven't seen for a while. I have nothing against AAA titles but often I am just as impressed by a game that I can download for 69p from the app store. The free rein that small indie games design teams today is very similar to the early days of games creation and that is a good thing IMO.

For more information and to keep up to date with the latest happening for Play Expo click the below to find out more and book your tickets:

Our recent winner of the Play Expo competition - Catherine Cock sent us her picture of her winning tickets and her daughter playing with our TomyTronic giveaway and retro goodies.

GamesYouLoved would like to thank Replay Events for donating the tickets for this prize :) 

Friday 21 June 2013

Games Generation - Animation Tribute - by Tomoboy Films

Gaming has evolved so much from the early beginnings of Space War!, Pong and Pac-Man to the heady arcades and consoles / microcomputers of the 80s.  

The theatre and entertainment of the medium also crosses many creative boundaries including writing, movie production, music and graphic design.

At GamesYouLoved we celebrate anything that continues to support this world where gamers of every generation can develop ideas to bring this generation of games to life.

When Tomoboy Films approached GamesYouLoved earlier this year they had a vision in LEGO they wanted to bring to life through the power of stop motion and a fantastic cinematic experience.

Over many weeks of development including changing the characters, soundtrack and overall story - Tomoboy Films crafted their video gaming video.

The result is now on YouTube for all to see here: 

We spoke to the creator to get his take on the process and experience

"I had great fun making this animation and it has been my most ambitious one yet! 

I really loved photoshopping, it took absolutely ages to do but it was nice to see some FX that wasn’t play-doh! If you want to see some of my Lego figures in this video then please check out my flickr photos (link) it helps a lot! Also I have my other Lego animations which are a bit older, on my youtube: (tomoboyfilms) link below."

For more info on Tomoboys Films check this out:

Sunday 16 June 2013

The Bitmap Brothers - A THREE PART STORY (3)

Story three of three....

The Bitmap Brothers

Where Are They Now?

For those of us who grew up with PC, Amiga and ST gaming, the Bitmaps are one of those development teams (along with Gremlin, Psygnosis and Team 17) that are generally most remembered. Unfortunately Bitmap Brothers closed their offie in 2004. When asked ‘what happened?’, Mike Montgomery (Bitmap Bros MD) explained to Bit-Tech that such a creative company found it harder and harder to secure investment from distributors in order to compete with the current crop of big budget license games.

MM: I closed the company down...Mainly because I couldn't get any deals for original IP. It's a shame, but if you can't get money then you can't go any further. I've spent most of my money on developing ideas – I've got a whole drawer-full of designs, and some of them are hundreds of pages long – you go to a publisher with them, they read them and you do a bit more work and all of a sudden you've spent £300,000, and then you find there's no deal.

It seems the industry has changed to such an extent that multi-million budgets are now required for effective marketing and development for mainstream titles, meaning publishers are more reluctant to gamble on an original idea (IP).

All is not lost however because The Bitmaps are back. Aside from running Tower Studios (along with Jon Hare of Sensible Software)working on video capture work, MM has reignited the flame and released both Speedball 2 and Z on iOS and Speedball 2 for android, which is great news for us retro fans.

The downscaled economy of game development for mobile devices has allowed smaller developers to at last get their games ‘out there’ with lesser cost. Hopefully this will mean an indication of things to come with releases of other classic titles (Chaos Engine on my phone?!- yes please!), keeping the spirit of 16bit era gaming alive, as well as giving us ‘old skool’ gamers plenty to reminisce about.

Mike is now a director of Lightning Fish, making motion-controlled games. We met Mike at the recent Revival event and he signed our Speedball 2 packaging! 

Thursday 13 June 2013

Horse Racing RETRO fun! by Karl Hnat

When I was a kid growing up in the 60’s, pre the computer age we played all sorts of board games. Monopoly, Risk, Careers, Mine a Million, Cluedo, Formula One and many more. There was one game though that I  remember that was handed down from an old relation that had been around for years. The box was old and falling apart,  made of a heavy box board almost wooden from memory but maybe that’s me just getting old! The game was kept in a cupboard in the spare bedroom and we would play the game every now and then. The game was called Escalado which was a horse racing game, consisting of 5 or 6 lead horses and a track that was approximately 3 to 4 feet long . The game was played on a table and the track was attached at one end to a box with a ratchet handle that one of the players would turn. 

The other end of the track was attached to the table with clamps, keeping the track taught at all times. The horses were then placed on the starting line ready for the race to start. 

We would place bets on the horses with matches or old pennies and the bets were recorded on a betting slip that came with the game. The track was segregated into lanes and each lane had a series of wooden pegs placed on the lines to keep the horses from wandering and running in a straight line. As the ratchet handle was turned the track would vibrate and the horses would move up the track at differing speeds until one would eventually cross the line and be declared the winner. Every now and then a horse would fall of the table eventually resulting in the proverbial three legged horse. We had hours of fun playing this simple game, oh what a wonderful memory, where did all those years go!

Version shown from 1993

Review by Karl Hnat. Karl is the Managing Director of 
GamesYouLoved's Printing Partner which you can also find via our friends page