Day two update - www.playexpo.net
Manchester - 12th October 2014
The second day of Play Expo brought more of that old-school goodness with a modern twist, more costumed shenanigans and Retro game competitions with both prizes and pride at stake.
Sunday morning at Play Expo went a lot more smoothly without car worries to hold us back. The GamesYouLoved team got through the doors as early as possible, quickly unveiled our stand and hit the arcades for some cheeky games before the doors opened.
We greatly appreciated the chance to try Smash TV and Tatsujin, two games we'd only heard of and would never usually get the chance to play, let alone see them in an arcade cabinet where they belong. As younger generation gamers, experiencing all the 80s arcade machines in all their glory was a real privilege. The only thing we’d seen like it was Funspot, the American arcade featured in the movie King of Kong so it was a bit like standing on hallowed ground.
Forgive us for being a bit biased towards shoot’em ups but we have an unhealthy love for the genre, so here we go. We was able to play a real Galaga machine for the first time ever! Seeing the solid foundation behind the games we love was very cool, Galaga has definitely aged well which is probably why the series continues to this day. The same awe from playing on a real machine hit us when we tried Sinistar as well, it’s amazing to see how an old arcade game can be as intense an experience as Sinistar is.
Hanging out beside our beloved Progear cab while waiting for a turn gave us a chance to take in the friendly atmosphere of Play Expo. Shared passion makes for easy conversation and after a couple of attempts at my mission from yesterday we finally cleared the game on a single credit, and people who’d seen our efforts were quick to approach afterwards, have a chat and ask for advice about the game.
Day 2 brought out our competitive streak, even if that meant losing to the boss from the GYL team at Kung Fu Master, something we are sure he’ll remind us of forever!
Alongside all this was a massive walkabout with a few of the other GYL team and some cool chaps in the community. When it came to arcades from Star Wars to Outrun you could pretty much take your pick.
We spent some time challenging people at Street Fighter games on the SNES, you have to respect the amount of time and energy these guys ‘n’ gals put into learning their fighting games, some of these brawlers were seriously good. We entered 8bit Planet’s Smash Bros Melee tourney despite us being a pretty average players.
Just watching the physical act of pressing buttons quickly was impressive enough, the better players hands were just a blur of movement and the game was being played so fast that a non gamer probably could not tell what was going on. As for the GYL team, we had the rare pleasure of actually winning a couple of matches before being knocked out of the third round in some really close games. One of our opponents was so good at mind reading he could predict every move!
Some more exploration led us to a new indie game for Xbox 360 and PC called Tiny Keep, which invited us to begin my ‘tiny escape’. It’s a rogue like dungeon crawler with a charmingly cartoon visual style that doesn’t detract from the game’s dungeon setting. You progress through randomly generated floors, hacking your way through enemies or leading them into traps. Once we figured out how to control the character we found it alot of fun.
The random element is intended to keep players coming back for a varied adventure while each level has its own distinctive theme and boss. Our game was cut short however when we ignored warnings to leave an ominous skull totem alone, disturbed it and was mowed down by a sudden ambush of skeleton warriors. As gamers it’s hard to avoid interacting with any given object, but we definitely learned a lesson.
Finally we tried out a retro arcade classic born again on the Oculus Rift.. Tempest! This was our first time trying the Occulus Rift for any type of game, so allow us to state the obvious that it is pretty damn cool. Even with the frantic shooter action of Tempest and it's constant explosion of trippy colours, we wasn’t freaking out or having problems with our eyes afterwards!. Somehow even in this crazy cyberspace disco, being totally immersed and having full use of my peripheral vision just felt natural. After trying Tempest we do wonder how we would be affected by an Oculus Rift game that makes use of visual realism.