Retro Reunited / Acorn World Show Report

Last weekend saw 2 days of an unadulterated retrocomputing and gaming in the form of the Retro Reunited / Acorn World events which took place the Cedar Court Hotel in Huddersfield.

... and I am absolutely shattered ...

After loading the hire van on friday morning I set-off on the 4 hour journey picking Andy Taylor up along the way. It wasn't until we got to the hotel that we realised the event was on the first floor :-( What a nightmare, we had podiums, flight cases, a large PA system, a Sinclair C5, a huge Rubiks Cube, the Asteroids cocktail cabinet and loads of boxes to get up two flights of stairs!!! By 7pm it was all up there and my bones had turned to jelly... The rest of the night was spent setting up all the gear.

We had a large display in the Retro Reunited room and two tables in the Acorn World room.

Saturday
Regardless of the ridiculously late night, we were up at the crack of dawn to put the finishing touches to the display, like making the computers actually work! Sadly, the Commodore PET suffered a display failure, so now we have a PET with a 1 pixel high display :-( These things happen. Everything else was good and by the time the doors were opened at 11am we were fit and ready. From what I heard all 280 tickets sold out, but the rooms could have held a lot more.

Half way through the day one of our MMC Beebs emmitted a toxic plume of smoke as the PSU capacitor self desctructed. But hey, it's not a party until something's on fire! Not a problem though as a nice guy called Jason (not me) very kindly fixed it and we were back in action. (I didn't get a chance to thank you personally on the day, so i'll do it now ... thanks Jason!)

The was a fantastic array of games consoles and retro computers on display. There was even a network adaptor for a Sinclair Spectrum. The Speccy was networked to a Vax which acted as a file server, delivering untold gaming fun!!

One of the most popular machines on the Computing History stand was the Amstrad Mega PC. We had loads of comments from people who had never seen one or thought they were a myth! We had the original Sonic the Hedgehog game playing for all to enjoy ...

Needless to say everyone had a great day. Much gaming and computing, considerable drinking (the event didn't officially finish until 11pm!), and a good few laughs. The later part of the evening, saw some awesome performances on Rock Band :-)

Sunday
A slightly more mellow day. It didn't start very well. We turned the Apple II computer on and the screen just pulsed as if it were being switched on and off quickly. Sadly it looks like the PSU has died in that machine too :-( We replaced it with the recently fixed Beeb and bodged a cable connecting it to the Apple II green screen monitor. Hey presto, a retro green screen beeb!

We spent a good couple of hours listening to talks from Steve Furber and Mel Pullen. Both of these were very interesting and both were filmed for release here very soon ...

Steve took a look around the various homebrew BBC interfaces that were on display at the show and was highly impressed, whilst Val, his wife, played the latest BBC releases Retro Software had on offer! Val was a big user of the BBC back in the day and the chance to re-live those memories was just too much to resist :-)

Andy couldn't resisit buying and fitting the excellent RetroClinic DataCentre to his BBC Master while he was there. By the end of the day it was installed and up and running!


 
The picture shows the Acorn World attendees with Steve Furber in the middle of the front row. I am on the left end of the front row and I can only appologise for my disgraceful slouching appearance. In my defence, at this stage of the event, I was aching and tired and fit to drop! You won't see Andy sitting in this photo as at the time he was sitting on the toilet :-) LOL

As the day drew to a close, the dark realisation of having to pack everything away again dawned. It wasn't until about 8pm that we had finally loaded the van and set-off on the 4 hour return journey.

Donations
Not only was the weekend a sucess in terms of publicity (and fun) it was also great to get a few donations including an Acorn Winchester Drive from Ian Stocks, a GRiD Laptop from Andy Taylor and a Grandstand Video Entertainment Computer (a rebranded Fairchild System F) which was the first programmable cartridge based game console - very kindly donated by Gordon Sinclair. Thank you all ...

Thank You
Firstly, thanks to Andy Taylor who has been a volunteer at the museum for a year or so now. He put a huge amount of effort into setting up and taking down our displays. Thanks Andy.

A big congratulations and thanks to Gordon Sinclair, and Dave Moore who organised their respective parts of the event. It was a huge success and you both did a fantastic job.

Finally thanks to everyone who visited the event. It was really great to meet you all and hope to meet you again at the next retrocomputing and gaming event ...

Photography Credits
All the pictures here are courtesy of Joel Rowbottom. He has a great collection of photos online here >>>

More Pictures
This cab came up the fire escape. Phew!
Some folks got into Rock Band a bit *too* much...


Story By: Jason Fitzpatrick

Date : 14-09-2009

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