Who knew Chema was such a ladies man?
The exhibition is over, I spent yesterday travelling home so I'm only now catching up with things online again.
Several thousand people attended the show (not sure of the final figures yet, but current estimates are over 3500).
Jason Kelk (Retro Gamer magazine's homebrew journalist, operator of OldSchoolGaming.com and himself a coder of over 20 titles) kindly let us share his display space.
Located in the main entrance hall, I set up my Atmos to run Skool Daze with a laptop to its right running Oricutron. I rotated the other Defence Force games over the weekend, flipping Oricutron between 1337, Mission Impossible, Space 1999 and Stormlord (with a brief showing of Defence Force and Rat Splat among others following discussion with attendees).
To our left was an Atari console with a flash cart showing original homebrew games and Jason's laptop with his games. To our right extending down the hall were a variety of C64s, Atari 800, BBC etc, even one of the new C64 PCs.
Unfortunately (and I'm quite disappointed by this) I wasn't able to get the planned posters printed. Work got in the way of doing so before I travelled and we had printing issues on site that prevented it. One of our forum members and fellow Oric owners Coolman graciously took me out in his car to try and rectify this but sadly the only known printing place had a 24 hour turnaround, making it not really viable. This was a great shame as I thought they really sold the game and the forum here. At least I had this thread printed out for the coders to coo over the code and tech talk
Coolman proved to be an interesting chap to talk to with an extensive Oric collection. Conscious that I had to get back to work at the venue I declined his kind offer of lunch at his house and a viewing of his collection, but if we're back in Blackpool next year I certainly plan to get in touch to arrange something beforehand - he was so kind and enthusiastic it would be rude not to. I'm hoping he's not too offended by my declining his initial offer.
On Saturday morning I had to rely on emulation for a couple of hours while I fought with loading Skool Daze on the Atmos. As mentioned earlier, I turned here for help before finally remembering I had a copy on my iPod that proved to be our saviour. From that point on, using the BASIC listing DOKE trick I was able to reload the game in 40 seconds if it crashed or was reset by attendees. This was very reliable once I discovered what to do, working every time.
The game itself ran very well. I did find it locked up a few times, but I suspect this was down to my hardware and people moving it around, jiggling the power connector slightly when doing so and corrupting things. More playtesting on real hardware might confirm this.
The game itself received an extremely warm reception. It seems many people have fond memories past and present of the game on Spectrum and C64, especially the ladies! More than once I heard a squeal of joy as someone saw it running. Children seemed very drawn to it, no doubt due to its subject and almost all took great delight in renaming the characters. Fortunately I didn't see any rude names used...
While most were familiar with the original, there was generally a surprised reaction when I pointed out this was a new conversion of the game, and that it was for the Oric. New games for old systems seemed a new concept to many, but more so was the fact that it was the Oric receiving them. This seemed to impress people as they had the common misconception that the Oric couldn't really do the 'good' games that other systems had.
I did explain that this was still in its final test stages and I wasn't the author, but that it had come from Spain. Credit where its due. When doing so I'd point them at the other games. Space 1999 was also very attractive for the crowd with its colourful intro and unusual isometric perspective for the platform. The fact its also Chema's work left them suitably impressed.
Saturday was a very busy day and I found myself almost constantly with jobs to do or attendees to talk to and help out.
On Sunday we'd sorted out most of the issues around the show which gave us more time to ourselves to actually see and play a few of the other games on show. I caught a Robotron cab briefly unattended so hopped on there for a bit, tried Tempest 3k on Jeff Minter's Nuon, played the Star Wars mini cab and was most impressed by Star Wars Episode 1 pinball (with a near unique display at the rear, where video projects down over the playfield so the ball passes through
it! - you have to see it to fully comprehend it).
I'd say it was a great success with some lessons learned for me about exhibiting. Perhaps next year I'll be more organised and have some new wares to show?
I've not got many, but a few pics will follow shortly. There are lots to view on Facebook and one of the Retro Gamer forum members is compiling a list of albums and links for anyone who wants to see more.