Immediately entering the room we find ourselves in the Marketplace, made up of half a dozen rows of stalls filled with all manner of games and associated merchandise. While we weren’t lucky enough to grab a bargain this time (perhaps due to us not arriving until later in the day thanks to an uncooperative vehicle earlier in the morning), the sheer amount of wares on offer and the generally friendly and welcoming atmosphere made the Marketplace a really enjoyable section to wander around.
The main appeal of an event like this is, of course, the games, and there was an amazingly interesting selection of titles available for visitors to play. The arcade and pinball sections were particularly popular, with 40 cabinets and around a dozen pinball tables lining one side of the hall. Always a joy to see the old classics in as close to an authentic setting as it’s really possible to get these days, and this was no different. Best of all, every single machine is set to free play so it doesn’t cost you a single penny to play as much as you want. Worth the price of admission alone!
Away from the arcades, tonnes of old school TVs were set up with countless consoles from bygone eras. These were the consoles you didn’t own back in the day, or you’d completely forgotten about, that you’d forgotten you’d forgotten about, or that you didn’t even know existed in the first place. As someone who never owned a Sega 32x it was especially fun to have a go on Sonic spin-off Knuckles' Chaotix, as well as getting to faff around with a Philips CDi. It almost felt like being in an interactive museum - and it's a testament to the friendly nature of the crowd that everyone played nicely and nobody was trying to run off with any of the games or equipment!
Elsewhere, the Expo lived up to all of its promises of featuring VR demos, chance to sample brand new titles from indie developers (shoot ‘em up Hyper Sentinel was particularly fun, as well as the Galaga-on-steroids chaos of Space Toads Mayhem), and we were there to witness a super competitive Street Fighter tournament which was apparently not the first one of the day. The ever present Cosplay Masquerade rounded off our visit, with the two Supermen being wisely kept apart to prevent any rivalry.
Space Toads Mayhem trailer:
All in all, a super enjoyable afternoon, and just like the last time we attended a PLAY Expo event we can only recommend that if you’re even remotely interested in retro gaming then you really should make the effort to visit for yourself. Check Replay Events' Facebook page for info about future dates!