Monday, 24 February 2014

GEEKing Out in Margate! Retro Gaming Festival

A rare bit of colour photography, but for good reason! Last weekend I ventured down to Margate for GEEK2014, an annual retro gaming festival. It's  been running for a few years now but this is the first time I've been and it proved a lot of fun. I'm not a big gamer, but when I do play, I tend to opt for exactly the type of old-school experiences they had here, such as games on; Amiga, NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, Megadrive, Dreamcast, Master System and PlayStation. Sadly not enough Arcade machines but all the usual classics none the less! 

Upon entering the Main Hall, you're greeted by the unmistakable whiff of chips in a confined, hot space - a nostalgic smell, reminiscent of my students days in the CG Arts and Animation base room. It hit a little too close to home.  I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of neat stuff they had set up and the enthusiasm by which people were engaging with the games on show. I didn't think it right to take super clean digital images of retro games and consoles, so instead, I stuck with good old fashioned analog film photography like a crazy person. Combine that with some 800 ISO Lomography film and without the need for any sort of digital manipulation I got some super grainy and super fuzzy images which become a totally appropriate representation of the whole thing. It's like viewing everything on an 80's televsion.

Highlight of the show? Finally getting the chance to try out Nintendo's ill-conceived and  doomed to failure virtual reality console, the Virtual Boy for the first time. I also got to try out a natty demo for the rather cool Oculus Rift, which although in my opinion is still primitive, is a promising step towards viable virtual reality. It's worth a visit next year, if you're into this sort of thing.

Everyone's gaming fuel was Pepsi, as evidenced by all the cans lying about the place. Luckily there was no cigarette ash, sticky buttons or stained stickers. I think those would've been an unnecessary details in recreating the 80's gaming experience. 

I saw a lot of these screens! The thing about classic 2D games is that while they appear simple, you actually have to play them for a while to really understand the mechanics and controls.

Burning Rubber on the Amstrad GX4000. Terrible! 

There was a decent mix of vintage and modern machines.

This guy was a bit of a wizard on Magician Lord for the Neo Geo AES.  The Neo Geo AES was essentially an entire arcade machine crammed into a small console. Which meant the console and games retailed for insane premium prices because the manufacturers lost the benefit of pay-per-play. Technically, it's a real beast and games were made for it almost 15 years after it first released. It's one of my favorites.

Practicing for a Halo tournament or something. 

So much nostalgia in one place.

An NES with Balloon Fight. I ranked 27th after two attempts, upon which I was kicked off because I wasn't supposed to be playing it.



Yolantele said...

wow, really atmospheric (:]