Revival Event 2014: Overview

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I was planning to write more blogs during the time I was at Revival this year. However, the WordPress app has a hard time publishing on 3G, which is a huge pain when there’s no “real” free wireless. This year Revival was at the same location as last year, Dunstall Park in Wolverhampton.

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I got in on Friday afternoon to help Mike set up his booth for RetroGaming Roundup. @Random_Dave got to show off his new game, James & Watch: Arm, he originally had it as a DreamCast game, but got to port it to Linux at the last minute and had it running on a Raspberry Pi. The game is pretty much like Fire, but you control the 6 year old Mike being thrown about.

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James and Watch: Arm wasn’t the only attendee made game on show this year. Chris Wilkins and the guys from Turnabout Arcade had their Revival Survival game on show too, sitting next to the Fix it Felix Junior Cab.

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Mr. John Romero of Doom and Quake fame got to play Revival Survival too!

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One very noticeable thing about Revival this year was the amount of Pinball machines on show. Last year there were only about four or five, this year there was about 16 of them! This was definitely the year of Pinball!

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The Centre of Computing History brought the majority of the “Non-arcade” hardware to the show. One of them was this Apple Macintosh SE running Crystal Quest. A Mac game I haven’t played for almost 2 decades!!!

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John Romero, the designer of Doom and Quake was the man of honour at this years’ Revival Event. I learnt quite a bit about his history in game development, I had no idea he made quite a few Apple 2 games before joining up with John Carmack to made ID Software. One was a game called Scout Search. A PacMan-Like game where you play as a Scout Master looking of Boy Scouts before they get eaten by bears.

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Yes, Daikatana was mentioned, so was the advertising slogan too. Which amazingly was not Romero’s idea, but rather a woman working at ION Storm at the time. That slogan was used a lot during the event, maybe a bit too much!

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I had an interview with him for the Centre of Computing History. I asked the questions as Adrian Killins was the camera. I had never interviewed someone this big before! It was super nerve racking! But it was so worth it! I even got this photo with him. Now I’m officially his bitch!

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One thing I noticed about the arcade machines at this years’ Revival was the number of Taito arcade cabinets there were. There were many versions of Space Invaders on show, but one caught my eye called “Lunar Rescue”. This was a super interesting game seeing as Adrian Killins had his Lunar Panda game on show too. This game interesting as it merges gameplay mechanics from other space themed games of the time and merged them together. You begin with what feels like Caverns of Mars on the Atari 8-Bit, but rather than descending through a hole in Mars, you have to avoid being hit by meteors as you slowly try to reach the bottom where there are three landing spaces, similar to that of Lunar lander. When you land you pick up one the astronauts you need to rescue, and you begin your assent, but this time the meteors are replaced with alien UFOs, and they’re shooting at you, but you need to reach the mothership at the top of the screen. This is a bit like Space Invaders but instead you’re in a rocket moving up, so you have to shoot and avoid aliens as touching the UFOs can blow up the rocket too. It’s repeat and rinse at the point, but getting into higher levels will make the Meteors move faster, the UFOs shot more, and at about level four there’s a very fast comet to avoid too! I really like this game, and I wish I knew about this before, it’s it’s one of those Taito games that was over shadowed by the popularity of Space Invaders. When I got back home I was amazed that I own this game on two Taito collections. Now I can play this at home without hunting for it on eBay.

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Another Taito oddity is this game called Field Goal. It’s an American Football themed game, but it plays nothing like American Football, rather it’s a Break Out clone. You move a bar at the bottom of the screen with the rotary paddle and bounce a pig skin just like Break Out. There’s three rings of American Football players, represented at Football helmets, which you break through using the ball. Every so often a pink coloured American football player will begin to run around the field and if you hit him from below or the sides, you’ll increase a number at the top of the screen highlighted in orange. If you keep on hitting him you can make the number grow depending on the number on his shirt. If you then hit that orange area at the top of the screen you can earn a lot of points compared to just aiming for the helmets.

Here’s a video to explain it.

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Outside of Taito, there were a few of my favourites such as Scramble.

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Phoenix, which was released in Japan by Taito.

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Then there was this… Pleiads. I played this because I noticed it was similar to Phoenix. In fact it was just like Phoenix with a few differences such as the first level starts on a planet with buildings on it. If you prevent the building from being bombed down by the aliens you earn bonus points. But after the first level you then fly off into space it it then becomes a straight-up Phoenix clone! There are no bird shaped aliens in this though, rather you shoot at UFOs that have big wings, and if you shoot the wings rather than the centre, they’ll dive down at you really fast. Oh yeah, there’s no shield in this game either! Funny enough I found out that the people who made this game, Tehkan International, would eventually become Tecmo, the people behind Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive!

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There were two things that I regretted at the event. One was leaving an awesome painting that I purchased on the way home! It was one of these stencil based spray paintings done on a canvas. The one I got was a Hyrulian icon with a blue background. You can just about see one in the very far left of this photo. Regrettably I didn’t take a photo of it when I was there, as I was planning to take a picture of it when I got home. But I stupidly left it on the train, and the lost property at the train station didn’t have it. So someone has taken it for themselves!

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Next was the fact that the Warlords tournament didn’t happen. The RetroLords, the people at the event hosting the tournaments, had a lot of problems with their Atari 2600s. Meaning that they didn’t host it, even though there were plenty of 2600s around them! Makes you wonder why they couldn’t have just asked to borrow one. At least I get to keep Focus’ awesome silver cartridge! Plus they really need to think before they speak down to the people that play at their tournaments, they got a bit drunk the night before and got a huge hangover, drinking on a work night isn’t a good idea guys…

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As per usual at these events, I got myself a whole bunch of games! Possibly too many, and paid too much! Heck, I was tempted in buying a GameBoy Light from someone, but it was all scratched up at the back and they wanted £50 for it! Personally I’m happy with my purchases, even if I didn’t come back home with my Zelda painting!

Apart from those issues, Revival was pretty good, I got to meet John Romero, and play some awesome arcade games I never saw before. The selection of Pinball machines was better than last year, and as always with the Revival Events, it was busy, but you can still get to play the games you want without standing around for so long. It was pretty damn good.

Now will I appear for Play Expo. I’ll announce that one later!