Event news and interview – Retro Station hosted by Kapow 15th October 2016
Sep28

Event news and interview – Retro Station hosted by Kapow 15th October 2016

It seems that retro gaming themed events are growing in number, and take all shapes and formats – which can only be a good thing for the community going forward. This latest event – Retro Station – which we are extremely proud to be sponsoring, is due to take place on the 15th October and is being advertised as a ‘retro gaming party’ with retro consoles, retro cartoons, arcade machines, retro game stalls and competitions making up just some of the great stuff available on the day. Retro Station is the first solo event by Kapow! Events, Movies and Gaming, an events company headed up by Matt Dawson who has already successfully taken part in festivals across the country. The event itself will be held at The Station, Cannock WS11 1LS, entry only £6 and runs from 12-6 pm. We would love to see you there!   We had the pleasure of being able to ask Matt a few questions about himself and the Retro Station event… Can you describe yourself and tell us what role you play with The Retro Station? Matt: Hey! I’m Matt I’m a 34 year old kid who loves Video Games, TV, Movies, Partying and Music. I’m the owner of Kapow! Events, Movies and Gaming and a I’m a huge geek. The RetroStation is the new Retro Gaming event that I am organising How long has Kapow been organising events? Matt: I’ve been organising events since 2009. First starting with Dance Music parties and slowly progressing on to other genres and types of events. It all started with an event called Blessed and slowly morphed into Kapow via other events like HDC, Encore Interactive and more. Is this the first retro gaming event Kapow have hosted? Matt: This is our first solo event. Last year we had an amazing response at 2 festivals, where we hosted a Retro Gaming/Geeky arena for 2 full weekends. They were the tester for what we wanted to move forward with, and helped us find the direction that we wanted to go in. How does this event differ from the usual ‘retro market’ and expo type events that we are used to? Matt: The RetroStation is aimed at casual gamers, not just the die hard fans. We want people to come in  and have fun relieving their memories and play on games that they’ve probably forgotten about. We want it to be a gateway for people to get into the Retro Gaming hobby and a place where they can come and start that obsession (because let’s be honest it does turn into one). We have a very select amount...

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The Little Book of Sinclair ZX Spectrum Games by Chris Wilkins – review
Sep23

The Little Book of Sinclair ZX Spectrum Games by Chris Wilkins – review

I will start out with a confession – that here at Retro Games Collector we are unashamed fans of the work of Retro Fusion Books. Their publications hit the sweet-spot of quality, content and price and it shows with The ZX Spectrum in Pixels trio, Commodore 64 in Pixels and The Story of US Gold books, all scoring an unprecedented top mark of 5/5 in our reviews. This latest book – The Little Book of Sinclair ZX Spectrum Games – combines a selection of the games covered in The ZX Spectrum in Pixels books, plus a few new ones – in a small, neat, hardback format which Chris based upon the popular Ashens book; Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of. The book itself measures 162 x 162mm making it Fusion Retro’s smallest book yet. Inside the book As already stated, The Little Book of Sinclair ZX Spectrum Games is small and square in format with a nice matte black finish to the hardcover giving it a compact, classy feel. Within those covers there are 144 pages with a whopping 1oo games covered, interspersed with a foreword by Chris, images of the ZX Spectrum range of computers (from the 16K rubber key original to the +3) and Oliver Frey’s amazing magazine cover artwork. The games secreted within are now broken up intro genres; Sports Games, Arcade Adventure, Arcade, Adventure, Strategy/Puzzle, Fighting, Racing and Platform – with every game nicely indexed on the last few pages. Each game is given one page, with the synopsis underneath a screenshot of the game in question and a Crash magazine review score (if applicable) listed alongside. What is striking about Fusion Retro’s diminutive new offering is its overall feel of quality. The paper used is 150gsm which in non-printer speak means they are thicker than the norm, helping toward the quality feel that permeates throughout this title. The print quality is also noteworthy, with the screenshots bright, crisp and colourful, just like Spectrum graphics were… once we tuned our tellies in anyway. In Summary Another fantastic addition to the Fusion Retro Books stable. Absolutely perfect as a present for the Speccy-phile in your life (or for yourself!) especially with Christmas just around the corner. Even if you have the ‘in Pixels’ books already, this is still a must-buy with its handier ‘pocket’ size, great quality printing and extra reviews. No surprise then that this book also gets full marks from us. Pre-order your copy of The Little Book of Sinclair ZX Spectrum Games...

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The Masters of Pixel Art Volume 2 Kickstarter campaign launches
Sep15

The Masters of Pixel Art Volume 2 Kickstarter campaign launches

We see a lot of retro books being launched via Kickstarter these days, don’t we? And a lot of them are, well, a bit ‘same old-same old’. Occasionally though, one pops onto our reading radar that we just have to get involved with. One such book is The Masters of Pixel Art Volume 2, published by Nice Pixel, which launched its Kickstarter campaign this week looking for funds of kr130,000 (Swedish Krona) – or around £11,500. Unfortunately – and I have no idea how –  Volume 1 totally passed us by, which is unfortunate because it looks amazing too. The Masters of Pixel Art Volume 2 Double pack with Posters Double pack with Volume 1 The Masters of Pixel Art Volume 2 will be 216 pages of high quality 150g silk coated paper, featuring 41 artists and a staggering number of pixel art images – over 350. The cover is finished in white textile with silver foil, making it a stand-out book on your book case’s retro shelf. The book features images from the Commodore 64, together with pixel art from other 8bit machines such as the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari XL-XE, Commodore Plus/4 and MSX. Featured pixel-artists included in the book are AcidT*, Archmage, Carrion, Clone, Deev, Duce, Electric, Helm, ilesj, iLKke, Jailbird, Joe, Ken√´t, Leon, Louie64, Made, Mermaid, Mirage, Nero, Odyn1ec, Ooz, Oys, Pal, Piesiu, pRof, Prowler, ptoing, Redcrab, rexbeng, Sander, SIT, Skurwy, Slayer Grafix, STE, Stone, The Sarge, Twoflower, Valsary, Veto, Wayne Schmidt and Yazoo. Luckily for those who, like us, missed the first offering, this campaign has a Volume 1 and Volume 2 bundle pledge. Other pledge levels include: Poster collection : 32 sheets with 1 image per sheet, by 32 different artists (16 from vol. 1, 16 from vol. 2). Perfect to frame and put on the wall. Bookmarks : 50 unique bookmarks with images from 50 featured artists. Postcards : c64 PETSCII, pixel art images and c64 & Amiga pictures by Prowler See the Kickstarter Campaign page for further details or to pledge for one or more of these wonderful looking books.     Links Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nicepixel/the-masters-of-pixel-art-volume-2/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themastersofpixelart/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themastersofpixelart/ Publisher website: http://nicepixel.se/ Book website:...

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HyperPlay RPG Fanzine – review
Aug08

HyperPlay RPG Fanzine – review

I’m probably the wrong person to be reviewing a fanzine concerning all things RPG. I have never been the biggest fan of the genre. Nevertheless I will do my best to be objective and look at this through the eyes of an RPG fan so here goes… When the fanzine arrived on my doorstep I was hit by a sense of nostalgia. This is a proper old-school fanzine, similar in looks to the music fanzines I used to subscribe to back in the 80s, but in this case not photocopied and unlike those fanzines of old, this one is legible! Presented in monochrome this 40 page ‘zine covers “all retro RPGs and any-bit Nintendo” and is currently the “world’s only retro RPG print fanzine” (so stated on the cover). I must say, in these days of PDFs, online media and expensive glossy magazines, to hold a true fan-made tribute to a niche gaming genre in your hands is a real treat. Inside HyperPlay RPG The fanzine itself is attractive with a nicely illustrated cover, with inside pages clearly numbered and indexed on the inside front cover, making it easy to find the section of the magazine you wish to read. Regular sections include the obligatory reviews (big and small), a news section, readers letters, book review, readers review, play tests, tips for collectors and more besides. Each section is packed with information – this ‘zine is not something that you will read over a lunch break. A lot of time and effort has clearly gone into editing and research and this results in some very meaty content indeed – something you will be picking up over and over, finding sections you have yet to read. Reviews are in-depth and well worded (a certain mainstream magazine could take a few lessons here) and the interaction with readership is obviously important to the editorial staff, which is after all, what makes a fanzine work. In summary The attention to detail and the obvious care with which this ‘zine has been crafted are what makes it stand out for me. And although I am not the biggest fan of the genre, I have to admit to having a lot more respect for it now, having read the ‘zine from cover to cover. So much so, I am considering subscribing just to keep abreast of all things RPG, at the very least so I know what I am talking about when someone broaches the subject in conversation! I can’t think of a better way of doing it either. My only gripe – I read the ‘how to win big at eBay’ article –...

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Commodore Amiga in Pixels Kickstarter goes live and hits goal in one day
Jun13

Commodore Amiga in Pixels Kickstarter goes live and hits goal in one day

The date is Saturday 11th June. The venue? The Centre for Computing History, Cambridge, England and another exciting Kickstarter launch event for Chris Wilkins and Fusion Retro Books, who’s previous works include the The ZX Spectrum in Pixels Vols. 1-3, Ocean The History and The Story of US Gold amongst others. This time it is for a book on the mighty Commodore Amiga entitled The Commodore Amiga in Pixels. Relaxed faces prior to the Q and A session Q and A session in progress with Darrell Etherington, Roger Kean, Oliver Frey, Archer Maclean and Ben Daglish Stoo Cambridge signing a Sensible Soccer canvas Mevlut Dinc signing a canvas perk Archer Maclean signing IK+ canvas perks Stoo Cambridge, Mevlut Dinc, Archer Maclean and Robin Levy Q and A session with Robin Levy, Mevlut Dinc, Stoo Cambridge, David Pleasance and Archer Maclean One day later and the book is already 110% funded (at the time of writing) and heading towards the stretch goals, which currently include a new album by Allister Brimble that will include re-imaginings of 10 of the best tracks that David Whittaker composed for the Commodore Amiga and a copy of Retro Now!, a new 68 page magazine covering all aspects of retro games, movies, cartoons and comics. I these weren’t enough to get your retro appetities truly whetted, Chris has just announced the latest perk; an Amiga version of the Spectrum and C64 classic Starquake, which is being produced by Galahad with the full blessing of original programmer Steve Crow. This perk will feature a boxed disk version of the game with artwork by Trevor Storey. Stretch goal: Alister Brimble CD Stretch goal: Retro Now! magazine The book itself will be a high quality 268 page hardback or softback featuring the usual ‘in Pixels’ treats; a foreword by David Pleasance – former managing director of Commodore UK, double-page games reviews and over 30 memoirs from Amiga luminaries such as David Lowe, Stoo Cambridge, Archer Maclean and Jez San. Also featured within The Commodore Amiga in Pixels will be an article on the history of the Amiga computer written by Roger Kean, joint founder of Newsfield Publications who gave us Crash, Zzap! 64 and The Games Machine. This section will contain new images of each and every Amiga released by Commodore taken by Johnnathan Taylor who took photos of his C64 collection for The story of the Commodore 64 in Pixels which we reviewed here. You can back this awesome looking book by pledging on the Kickstarter page here.     Links Fusion Retro Books website: http://www.fusionretrobooks.com Kickstarter page:...

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Memoirs of a Spectrum Addict Film interview at the Centre for Computing History
May28

Memoirs of a Spectrum Addict Film interview at the Centre for Computing History

Those of you who have seen me the wrong side of the camera lense on my YouTube channel will know beyond any doubt that I’m never going to be a film star. So imagine my surprise, mild panic, anguish and a few other emotions when Andy Remic decided to include me in his interview list for his upcoming feature length film – Memoirs of a Spectrum Addict. Me. In a film. Aaargh. The iconic Sinclair Building, 25 Willis Road, Cambridge 6 King’s Parade, former offices of Sinclair Research Will gets to grips with Jet Set Willy on the Tatung Einstein Taking a rollercoaster ride on the Oculus Rift. Playing on my old friend, the ZX81. Interview begins! Andy Remic, myself and Mark Howlett Memoirs of a Spectrum Addict, which was successfully Kickstarted in August last year, is unsurprisingly about the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, the effect it had on a generation of coders and gamers and the enduring legacy that came from it’s popularity. This is done through a series of interviews with gamers, developers, designers and (where I come in) fans. To think I will be in the same film as such Spectrum legends as Rick Dickinson, The Oliver Twins, Jonathan Cauldwell, Clive Townsend and Steve Turner is mind-blowing. Filming was on Saturday 20th May at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge and I journeyed over with my friend Will, who also happens to be a big Sinclair fan. We decided to make a day of it and had a mini Sinclair ‘pilgrimage’ to 25 Willis Rd and 6 King’s Parade – both former addresses of Sinclair Research, before heading back to the Centre for filming where we were made to feel most welcome by Jason Fitzpatrick, the Centre’s curator. Nerves-a-jangling, I was filmed in the Centre’s Archives (a treat in itself) by Andy alongside fellow Spectrum fanatic Mark Howlett AKA @Lord_Arse who I had previously never met but often chatted to via social media. Mark turned out to be a real pleasure to meet and be interviewed alongside whilst Andy helped keep the nerves at bay during filming and was a true professional. Thank you both! All in all, an amazing day out in some great company and in an amazing setting that was tantamount to letting kids loose in a sweet shop. More information about Memoirs of a Spectrum Addict can be found on the website here, or to pre-order a copy visit the pre-order page on the Remic Media website.   Links Memoirs of a Spectrum Addict Website: http://www.spectrumaddict.co.uk Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zxspectrumaddict/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/spectrumaddict Centre for Computing History Website: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/computinghistory Twitter: https://twitter.com/computermuseum Mark Howlett...

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