Jaguar Hunting at Play Blackpool 2014

This past weekend saw the return of Replay Events’ Play Expo to Blackpool in the north west of England. Play Blackpool was similar to Play Manchester in that it was a games expo that was a celebration of all that is good about the history of arcade and console gaming, but with an emphasis on actually playing games. There were competitions galore. There were gaming world record attempts. There were Oculus Rift demonstrations (I managed to have a go, and I was blown away by how good it was) and multiplayer Halo LAN tournaments; Llamasoft were once again in attendance with their newest iteration of TxK for the PS4 and an Oculus-based shooter (and I managed to ask Jeff Minter some questions on how to improve my Tempest 2000 scores…whilst leaving a top score on Llamasoft’s cart too!), and there were a whole host of different arcade cabinets and retro consoles to try out, as well as demonstrations of some really cool-looking new indie games (such as Substream for the PC). I was working for RetroCollect and helped out adjudicating the Funstock Classic Gaming Championships…but I did manage to do a little bit of Jaguar hunting too...

The first Jag I played was in the main retro-gaming hall (Tempest 2000) and while the second one was also set up with a Tempest cart (on Llamasoft”s stand), it was equipped with a Pro Controller so at least I got a chance to try that particular peripheral out, and I must say that the Pro Controller is indeed a very nice piece of kit - it’s so much slimmer and ergonomic than the standard pad, and even though Tempest hardly requires the extra shoulder or face buttons, I can see how they would be beneficial in a plethora of other Jaguar titles.

As far as actually playing on Jaguar consoles went, that was pretty much it - there was no Jaguar CD at this Play Expo for some reason. But a little bit of Tempest 2000 while you glean gameplay tips from the man who created it is not an experience that should be disregarded.

As a collector, I was quite keen to see if I could find any Jaguar bargains in the trader’s hall, but my success was only marginal. Only three traders had anything Jag related and two of those things were consoles. One console was an unboxed system selling for £60, while another was boxed and the trader was asking £90. Not excessive prices by today’s standards, but there were virtually no games on sale at all. There was an unboxed copy of Cybermorph for £15 and a similarly unboxed copy of Syndicate that was £10…but I have both games so I wasn’t interested in those. What I did buy though, were these:

Flat packed (IKEA instructions included)

Boxes assembled. Phew...

No, not fully boxed copies of some of the Jag’s best-known titles…just the empty boxes. You see, I have a lot of loose carts and I just happened to spot that one trader had a load of flat-pack Jag game boxes for sale…for £1 each! They didn’t have the white cardboard inlays (I can make them myself quite easily), but for that price I really couldn’t pass them up. 

So that was Jag hunting at Play Blackpool 2014. There wasn’t a lot of representation for our favourite 64-bit box of tricks, but what I did find was more than enough to whet my apetite. Next stop: Play Manchester 2014! 

No comments:

Post a Comment