PLAY Expo Blackpool 2018 - Show Report

The weekend of 27 - 28 October saw the return of one of the UK's biggest retro gaming events to the northern seaside town of Blackpool. PLAY Expo Blackpool was a dedicated retro showcase, with hundreds - possibly thousands - of classic consoles, computers, arcade cabinets and pinball tables available to be played by event goers. Naturally, as 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast, we were in attendance to promote the system, its games and some of the more interesting hardware to come out of the whole Dreamcast story.
A surprisingly quiet moment at the DCJY area
On top of our fairly sizeable display section where we had almost 30 consoles available for people to play on, we also took part in a panel talk about the Dreamcast. The panel was organised by The Retro Hour, which for those who don't know is probably the biggest weekly retro gaming podcast there is. The panel was also made up of myself (Tom), Mike Phelan (author of our awesome A to Z of Dreamcast Games), our good friend and YouTuber Adam Koralik, and the whole thing was chaired by Daniel 'DJ Slope' Ibbertson of the awesome Slope's Game Room. It was a great panel and we took a range of questions from the audience, and thanks to the wonders of modern technology you can view the panel below from the comfort of your own home.

I'm going to get the panel uploaded as a podcast with an introduction too, so keep your ears peeled for that aural treat. Basically, the event was a roaring success, and our section of the main hall was bolstered by the inclusion of a couple of rare Treamcast consoles and a super-rare Divers 2000 Dreamcast; both of which were supplied by Quang of Asobitech.
Me with Quang of Asobitech
Huge thanks go to Quang and we have to give him kudos for the sheer number of other outstanding and rare consoles he had on display in his area of the hall. The FM Towns Marty, an N64 DD and even a Nuon made up the numbers at the Asobitech display and Quang could quite easily have put his Dreamcast rarities on show alongside them, but he loaned to us and that was an awesome gesture.

Back at The Dreamcast Junkyard section, we had a range of other, more traditional-looking Dreamcasts including the CF modded CFDC from Jan Baumgartner (see our review here), along with the DCHDMI connected to a large HD display to really show off how incredible the internal modification makes games look on a modern display (also check out our review here).
The Divers 2000 sitting pretty
A parliament of Treamcasts
Alongside the aforementioned Divers 2000 and Treamcasts, we also had Ferrari F355 Challenge set up in link mode, House of the Dead 2 with light guns, the ASCII Flight Stick (check out our article featuring that oddity here) and old favourites such as Soul Calibur, Daytona 2001, Ready 2 Rumble, Cannon Spike and ChuChu Rocket!. We were also joined by other members of The Dreamcast Junkyard editorial team in the form of Kev Mason and Simon 'Father Krishna' Early, so it was also something of a social gathering/reunion, too.
DJ Slope & Adam Koralik resplendent in SEGA hoodies
Setting up on day one
Getting to the event was a bit of an ordeal, taking around 10 and a half hours to drive from the south coast to Blackpool; and while we're on the topic of hellish traffic, we did have Spirt of Speed 1937 running at one point, but after about an hour of it being on display the Dreamcast console it was running on suddenly decided it no longer wanted to boot any games at all. So there you go - proof if ever it was needed that Spirit of Speed 1937 is indeed a cursed title. And that the UK's road network is totally broken. Cough.
F355 versus link mode with the Dragoncast
Darren from Games You Loved clearly cheating at HOTD2
Some of the Junkyard crew - Tom, Simon, Kev and Mike
Tenuously related traffic gripes aside, it was an outstanding weekend long event, only boosted further by the number of passionate Dreamcast fans who graced our display with their presence. We met some great people and had some really interesting conversations, and of course hung out with some of the best YouTubers and people from the Dreamcast community. In a way it makes it all the more bittersweet that this will most likely be my last event running a Dreamcast Junkyard area, as I have decided that I am to hang up my controllers for the final time in the very near future and hand over the running of The Dreamcast Junkyard to my long-time colleague (and custodian of SEGA Bits) Barry Harmon.
Before the Dreamcast panel started
A view of the hall from the DCJY area
Events on the main stage proved popular
I'll probably put up a proper post about that in the very near future and give my reasons for jacking this all in after 13 wondrous years; but I don't want to close this post on a sad note so I'll end it here by once again stating that PLAY Expo Blackpool 2018 was a fantastic event and if you ever get the chance to visit any show that supports the retro gaming scene, you really should get yourself along. It is the people who attend, just as much as those who create the event, that make these expos what they are. Oh, and before I forget - if you watch the panel and hear something that I personally got wrong, please bear in mind that I was suffering from a monumental hangover. Cheers!
Packing up at the end of another fabulous event
Did you attend the event? If so, let us know what you thought in the comments or let us know on Twitter or in our Facebook group. Also, if you came by The Dreamcast Junkyard's area please give us your feedback.

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fatherkrishna said...

Loved the Expo but loved meeting up with you guys even more! 😎

hoogafanter said...

I need to get me a CRT for light guns man...