Five Things I Learnt From Leeds Retro Games Night

On Friday (4th December 2015) I attended a retro games event in Leeds. More than 24 screens of retro gaming goodness, a bar, a couple of indie games, some merchandise and games sellers and a room full of excellent people. There is something to behold that a group of strangers can come together, play some games and for nobody to be an absolute bellend.

I thoroughly enjoyed the event and am really looking forward to the next one in January.

Now, I don’t normally do these, in fact, I regularly abhor them, but here are ten things that I learnt from attending the Leeds Retro Games Night:

Video Games Chopping Boards Exist

That’s right you haven’t misread that. They are real. And they look lovely. In fact, the excellent people from Nerdible has loads of really cool things. From coasters to hats they had a great selection of bits and most important they had chopping boards. Actual chopping boards, with Pac-Man on and everything. Not going to say this was the highlight of my evening, but it definitely ranked highly.

I am now entirely rubbish at all my childhood games

Yep, that’s right. I suck. I said it. I’ve accepted it. It was a surprise, but then again the same was true for lots of other people. Sure there were some who instantly excellent at them all, but failing together is a hilariously British pastime and is made all the more fun when you are both consistently placing last in Mario Kart.

As a side note about lost gaming prowess. I used to play Guitar Hero an awful lot in University, too much even. This was not that long ago, but apparently, my skills have atrophied severely. My stubbornness and refusal give in resulted in me nursing my sore fingers over a few shots of sambuca, like any other responsible adult. Post shots I was just as bad, if not worse, at Guitar Hero, but still had a cracking time.

Some Games Just Haven’t Aged Well (but others have!)

That’s right folks. Just because you remember it being good, and you have clung to that like a blanket on a cold night, it doesn’t mean it will stand the test of time. For example, Super Smash Bros. for the N64 is massively outpaced by its predecessors, Mortal Kombat feels really jerky and has no flow and finally, Pokemon Snap how was that even a game? I mean come on seriously?

Then again, some games are just as great as I remember. Street Fighter 2 is still one of the best fighting games ever made. Streets of Rage 1 and 2 are still magnificent examples of side scrolling beat-em-ups. Mario Kart is just brilliant and Ms PAC-MAN is as addictive as ever. These games all exemplify why Retro gaming is so popular with a lesson to the game developers of today; simplicity layered over deep and rewarding games will be remembered forever.

Dream Machine is going to be an excellent game and Geometrix already is!

There were two indie developers at the event and they were both great fun.

Geometrix is out on the Google Play. It is a rhythm-based shooter. The aim of each round is to bounce your ball into the player across from you. Tapping the screen at the right time (on the beat) will cause it to split into 3 increasing your odds of landing a hit. Each ball also only has so much momentum so you’ll be forced to scramble around your side of the screen to grab your ball and reshoot it. It’s really fun, has single and multiplayer and best of all it’s free. Definitely worth a try.

The second indie game was Dream Machine. Currently, it is scheduled for an early 2016 release for the iOS, Android and Windows. In Dream Machine, you play an adorable little robot who needs to transverse across each screen, but there are all sorts of hazards in the little guy’s way. The puzzles range from the nice and easy to the addictively hard. Each puzzle manipulates the level in some way and often results in mind-bending impossible geometry. I was immediately hooked and found the entire experience thoroughly relaxing. Definitely, one to keep an eye out for.

Everybody Was Lovely

Video games, often more than any other community, has it’s good and it’s bad, however it lovely to meet such wonderful people. I went by myself to Leeds Retro Games Night knowing nobody, but by the end of the evening that didn’t matter. I’d been panned at Guitar Hero, showed my true skills at Super Smash Bros. Melee and had a hilarious standoff on Mortal Kombat with us both just kicking frantically at opposite ends of the stage. This is how gaming events and all events should be. Just a bunch of nice people being nice and doing the thing they love. We were talking to each other like they are real people and just enjoying ourselves. It was clear evidence that the majority of the gaming community are a great bunch.


This article was originally published on but unfortunately, that site no longer exists, so I’ve republished it here.


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