Play Expo London!

There is no denying the resurgence of the popularity of retro games and retro gaming culture   as a worldwide phenomenon. Spurred on by release of various ‘Classic’ consoles from Nintendo that were sold out globally on release, it is clear that gamer’s the world over love retro gaming. We stepped in to Play Expo for its inaugural London exhibition to see what all the fuss is about.

Held in the spectacular ‘Printworks’ in the center of London, PLAY Expo fitted right in straight away with retro gaming combining with the industrial architecture of the disused factory. Attendees are met first and foremost by the DeLorean car from Ready Player One, a surefire way to set the mood. Next up is a giant, darkened hall filled from end to end with classic arcade machines and pinball tables.

Expo

All the arcade machines and pinball tables are free-to-play, allowing all visitors instant access to all their favourite arcade games,as they were played decades ago. Although, you may be hard-pressed to get a chance to play as at peak times the crowds were thick as everyone tried to get a piece of the action.

Deeper into the event and the market-hall is revealed, sellers and creators from all across the country have set up shop with a huge variety of different wares on sale. You will find no Pop Figures here, these are genuine collectors and traders and there are many rare and collectable pieces of gaming memorabilia for sale – not to mention the massive variety of retro consoles and games available, we even found a Virtual-Boy for sale!

Expo Games

Not only were they games to be played and deals to be made, there was also a troupe of various personalities from the industry as well as Social Media stars. We caught up with Stuart Ashen from his YouTube channel ‘Ashens’ who was there to take part in the YouTube Panel and Q&A alongside a number of other retro gaming favourites, all hosted by The Retro Hour Podcast. Stuart had nothing but praise for the event and was eager to get stuck into the marketplace to find more rare and unique gaming ephemera. On top of you YouTube Q&A there were a number of other panels through the weekend, including a Drawing Masterclass hosted by the great Duncan Gutteridge, famous for creating all the illustrations  for  Sonic, Knuckles and Sonic Triple Trouble.

Expo Talk

Play Expo London 2018 also saw the worldwide exclusive premier of Antstream. This is a premium retro gaming streaming service that will see 1000s of retro games available to play whenever and whenever you desire. As far as we can tell, Antstream might as well be the Netflix for gamers. We had a sit-down with the developers and a quick look at the service in action and were blown away by the variety of games on offer, as well as the quality of the stream itself. The guys have been working on this for a long time, and are finally ready to reveal it to the world with a view to release in Q4 of 2018. Anstream also seeks to bring retro gaming into the 21st Century, they have achieved this with the addition of online leaderboards; both globally and among friends as well as developing new challenge modes to compete with your friends – a great way to spice up those old favourites. We can’t wait to see more of Antstream as it looks like a killer service and a must-have for any retro gaming fan. We were pleasantly surprised to see such a brilliant service making its debut at Play Expo this year.

Expo 1

The response we had from everyone at PLAY Expo was the same, it is the ultimate retro gaming event in the UK and people are delighted to have another fixture in the South of the country. Not only is there an impressive array of free-to-play games on offer, and the marketplace is filled with unique gaming loot, the atmosphere is brilliant as well. It is clear that everyone is in the same place for the same reason, their love of retro gaming and it truly shows. There is a great sense of camaraderie and shared understanding between all the visitors and everyone is happy to talk about the games they remember and love. For us, that was the stand-out part of PLAY Expo, not just the exhibitors and the events onstage but the people there who are all part of the worldwide community of gamers.

Written by
PGF is a youtube channel ran by Aaron and Jack. Started from a love of gaming and film making we set out to build a community of like minded people. Join us on Facebook. Subscribe on YouTube. Or watch live at Twitch.tv.

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