Jaguar Hunting at Play Expo 2013

This weekend I attended the annual Play Expo gaming event at Event City in Trafford, Manchester. I arrived fairly early in an attempt to beat the anticipated crowds (at about 8.30am, to be precise), but found that I was a bit over-eager - there was absolutely nobody there at that ridiculous time! To kill a few hours before the doors opened at 11am, I went for a bit of a wander around a spookily empty Trafford Centre. For those who don't know, the Trafford Centre is a humongous out-of-town shopping mall and walking around the cavernous halls of consumerism with only the odd cleaner or security guard for company was a slightly surreal experience - every other time I've been there, it was virtually impossible to move without bumping into another bag-clad shopper. On the plus side, I got a coffee at Costa without even having to queue, and I also found a tenner on the floor that the cleaners must have missed! I did note that the Apple Store had a queue outside it at that ungodly hour, and when I asked a security guard why people were lined up outside, he just barked "iPhone" at me. So, I guess there must also have been yet another iPhone launched this weekend. Which is nice, if that's your bag.

At 10am, I made my way back to Event City and joined the back of the queue that had started to form. The hour-long wait for the doors to open went by fairly quickly as I played with my mobile and listened to the other gamers in the queue talk shop. Upon entering the event, I spotted a bank of PS4s being readied, and a massive queue already forming...but I had bigger and better things to be thinking about: whether or not there'd be any Jaguar stuff on display or to buy. Was I disappointed? Fuck no - the very first exhibitor I came across was none other than Llamasoft!

Yes, the Llamasoft - creators of Tempest 2000. And guess who showed me the latest version of Tempest (titled TxK) for the PS Vita? Only Jeff Minter...the guy who is credited with creating not only Tempest 2000, but also Defender 2000 and the Jaguar CD's Virtual Light Machine. I also had a bit of a play on the Jaguar console they had set up to display Tempest 2000 and the Nuon that was running the incredibly rare Tempest 3000. After chatting to Mr Minter and his colleague for a while about Tempest and my love for all things Jaguar (that was fucking surreal, by the way), I went off in search of other Jag-based goodies. I must stress that I also took a great deal of interest in all the other retro-related stuff on show (like the Amiga CD32s, the NeoGeos, and the Vectrexes but for the sake of this site, I'm going to focus on the Jag clobber I spotted).

The next things I found were some traders selling games for a multitude of different consoles. The first had only one unboxed Jaguar game - Evolution Dino Dudes, which I paid £10 for. The next one had Zool 2 on sale for £15, so I bought that too. The third one I came across that had Jaguar games mainly had titles I already own, but also had a boxed copy of Cannon Fodder for £20...and after standing there for about 15 minutes deliberating about it, I handed over the asking price. So, in total I got 3 lesser spotted Jag games for £45...which isn't bad when you consider how much these games fetch on eBay.

After that, I decided to hit the Re:Play section of the expo, and I happened to spot some more Jaguars in the wild. The first was this one:

Yep, a white dental-machine case Jag that was hooked up to a rotary joystick contraption and had a homebrew cart called 'Roids sticking out of it. I sat down and gave it a play...and discovered a fairly interesting (and fun) Asteroids clone. There was no indication of who had created it or anything else about the game...but it was a nice little title nonetheless. Edit: Thanks to a comment by sh3-rg below, I now know this Jaguar belongs to Reboot and the game in question is Rebooteroids.

Next, I came across a few more regular Jaguars (one with a Jaguar CD stuck on top), and I had a play on Iron Soldier 2 and Aliens Vs Predator. One thing I did note about Iron Soldier 2 was that the graphics are quite a lot better than those in the cartridge-based prequel, and certainly on a par with PlayStation games from the same era. There was a third Jaguar console in this cluster that had no game inserted, and i thought about plugging my purchased carts in to see if they worked...but I was a bit wary of then unplugging them and putting them back in my bag incase it looked like I was stealing them!

The only other Jaguars I saw were the boxed consoles another trader was flogging for £60 each...which isn't actually that bad, and I almost bought one...but to be fair, I don't need another one and thought the money could be better spent on beer in the evening:

So that was my Jaguar-spotting at Play Expo 2013. It was pretty successful what with meeting a living legend and getting my hands on a real-life Jaguar CD. Overall, even without all of that, I thought the expo was amazing and it was great seeing all the retro consoles being played with alongside the newer machines, and also seeing the effort that the cosplayers had put in. Events like this really show that a love of all things gaming can transcend all kinds of social barriers and I'll definitely be attending more gaming events after getting a taste of Play Expo.


  1. That white Jaguar is Reboot's - the game you played is Rebooteroids. Had a box full of work-in-progress and current releases in the bag, was there most of the day attending the stand.

    1. Oh no! I didn't see anybody there while I was playing! If I had, I would have asked to see some more of your games and pestered you! Dammit! Thanks for reading and commenting though, Rebooteroids was a lot of fun :)