Hearken back to the pre-internet days. When games came in cartridge form, so robust, even the most angry kid could bounce it off a wall with nary a scratch. When nobody had more than one console. Not even the most decadent Ottoman princes. When the only information you could gather for a game would be in an actual physical magazine, or from the back of the games box in your local Xtra-Vision. A golden age. Some say video games peaked back then. They’re wrong, of course. But we don’t tell them that directly, they’re an emotional bunch, the retro crowd. They’re also really nice and welcoming, and they do put together smashing conferences. That’s what I found out at the 8-bit conference in Griffith College, Dublin.
Bits and bytes
The 8-bit conference took over an entire building in the college Saturday and Sunday, with the various rooms dedicated to miscellaneous aspects of retro gaming. Downstairs, there was an arcade room, being run by mini arcade systems. The room featured a dozen or so table top arcade systems running upwards of a thousand retro games, from a plethora of systems. All the classics were covered, NES, SNES, Sega Master System, and Mega Drive, and visitors could play to their heart’s content. Delightful.
The National Computer and Video Games Museum had a room downstairs, and it was loaded with quality. These guys went proper old school. I’m talking Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, old school. They’d also set up the usual selection of consoles, including an original Game Boy set to play on a CRT box. Ah, sweet memories.
The 8-bit conference are also an inclusive bunch and had a room set up downstairs exclusively for those retro gamers with special needs, a nice touch indeed.
Upstairs was the main conference hall. A large space filled up with vendors of the retro, and some new gear to boot, including Trust Gaming. There were cos-players, with the 501st Legion out in force(!). Allcast Irish Gamers took to the stage each day, running competitions and tournaments, with a couple of panels featuring Irish gaming talent alongside.
All told the 8-bit conference was well worth a visit. I brought along my 5-year-old, and I could hardly drag him away from the place. That’s about the only qualifying statement I need. Well played guys, well played. Sorry, its gg now isn’t it? Damn new school…