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UK Retro expo to go ahead despite Game Zone cancellation

What with the recent cancellation of ECTS, GDCE and SCoRE, the UK games industry's event calendar has been looking empty of late - but an announcement today reveals that the Classic Gaming Expo is still taking place.

CGEUK was previously down to host the 'Retro Zone' at this year's Game Zone Live, but since that event was also cancelled the future had been in doubt. However, it turned out there was plenty of support for a standalone show, as CGEUK organiser Chris Millard told GamesIndustry.biz.

"We held the first Classic Gaming Expo last year, and it proved very popular. GZL approached us to do Retro Zone because we'd done a better job of exhibiting classic games than they had," he said.

"When we heard that GZL was cancelled, we approached all our exhibitors and supporters with the idea of doing our own separate event and the response was overwhelming.

"Every single one said they still wanted to be involved, and were prepared to move their schedules around to fit the new date," Millard continued. "Even our special guests rearranged their schedules for us."

CGEUK will now be held on Saturday August 13, when classic gaming fans can visit the Fairfield Halls in Croydon to see consoles, computers, arcade machines and pinball tables dating from the seventies right through to the nineties.

Gamers will get to go head-to-head on classic machines, competing at games such Outrun, Space Invaders and Pac-Man. There will also be competitions for gamers with disabilities - these are being organised in conjunction with OneSwitch, which manufactures and imports products for disabled gamers.

Special guests at the show will include Matthew Smith of Manic Miner fame, Andy Nuttall and some of his Bullfrog colleagues, plus Ocean Software staff. Archer Maclean will also be there to show off some arcade machines from his private collection.

When asked why there's still so much interest in classic gaming, Millard replied: "It's difficult to say... There are a lot of different answers.

"But overall, the simplicity of the games has a lot to do with it - the games are a lot more playable than some of the stuff that's out there now."

And retro gaming doesn't just appeal to older gamers, apparently. "When we first started taking classic games to events, kids were going straight for our machines. Rather than the newer consoles, they wanted to try out the Atari 2600s and the BBC Acorns," said Millard.

"For kids, it's fascination because they've never seen the technology before. For the 30-plus adults, it brings back memories and evokes a lot of nostalgia."

There are a limited number of stands left at this year's CGEUK - anyone wishing to exhibit should email Millard at chris@cgeuk.com. Tickets will go on sale shortly from the official CGEUK website.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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