In 'pea soup' driving conditions our first game of the day was finding our way through Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction!
Ste was kindly undertaking the driving duties and I was 'navigating'. Well, sort of. We'd earlier joked with Thorsten and Frank that getting lost is all part of the experience but didn't expect it to happen on our doorstep. After literally going around in circles, it was third time lucky before we made it out and were on our way to Leicester. Phew! With the route we took highlighted!
We've recently began attending the 8-Bit Lounge but never a proper retro-event like this before. I was immediately impressed the moment I walked in, feeling like I stepped through some kind of time portal.
I felt an air of excitement seeing and hearing all these systems and games from yesteryear, bringing back a sense of childhood awe.
I wrongly thought I knew a thing or two on the subject given my own gaming history but I was less than a novice here having not even seen half of the kit on show! There were people of all ages, families, techies, gamers and all round retro enthusiasts, and the spirit was open and friendly. The staff there were extremely helpful and approachable, and were fine with us putting up a KOA World Cup poster and even helped us set up shop ourselves. After a bacon butty we were ready for action!
We played a few friendlies, partly to attract the interest of others, but we were slightly torn with what to do next. A big part of us just wanted to spend all day playing on all the retro-systems available
but another part of us wanted to organise some tourney action! Of course we did a bit of both. I had great fun playing 'Thrust' again on the Commordore SX64. Can't remember that last time I saw a working ZX81 in the flesh either, and the same for an Oric-1. It was probably my first go on a TI-99 and not a bad version of Space Invaders too. A big Spectrum fan at heart, I was slightly bewildered to see some kind of mutant machine called a Specadore! (a hybrid Speccy/64).
And it was great to see Frank and Thorsten having fun taking part in the 10-man Bomberman contest on the big screen.
The not-so-retro PS3 version of Pacman was very impressive too.
Anyway, after lunch, the staff made an announcement to everyone about our plans for a kick off 2 fun cup competition beginning at 2.30pm. We originally wanted to find at least 3 willing participants so that including ourselves we'd have 8 of us. We followed up the public announcement with some face-to-face recruitment. Me and Ste had quite a laugh doing this, especially when we occasionally got a very blank expression in reply! (Not everyone is as nuts about KO2 as us
) Nevertheless, we suddenly had 8 new willing players so it made sense for us regulars to step aside.
As I set up the spreadsheet, there was yet more interest, totalling 10 players which was fantastic, including the late, late entrant by none other than SirClive! RCM NEWCOMERS CUP aka Leicester I QUALIFERS
Mark Bp 1 - 0 Stuart S
James R 0 - 2 Gordon S
Mark Bp 0 - Simon H 1
John M 0 - 0 Gary T (0-2 after pens)
Matt B 0 - 0 Arthur V (1-0 after pens)
Simon Bu 0 - 1 Gordon SSEMI FINALS
Simon H 0 - 0 Gary T (2-0 after pens)
Matt B 0 - 2 Gordon S FINAL
Simon H 0 - 1 Gordon S
(All players were making KOA debuts apart from John M. All players are english apart from Arthur V who is dutch)
It was great fun watching these very even battles between players new to KO2 and others returning to the game after quite an absence. And to read above that Sir Clive/Gordon S has rediscovered KO2 appetite again is just fantastic.
All games were played in a friendly spirit, with players laughing at their own as well as each others' mistakes. Games were usually very tight, and as the clock ticked, the later the goal scoring chance, the greater the drama for a near miss. I remember Simon H's match was decided by a neat corner goal in the dying seconds. A number of matches understandably went to penalties though, but even these aren't so easy to convert. Sir Clive caught the eye as a potential contender for the title right from the start, and indeed he went all the way. Well played! Game on! (Simon Bu v Steve, Gordon S v Frank)
More friendlies were played afterwards and other players joined in too. It would be superb to see some of these new guys at future tournaments.
It was getting near closing time by now so as the homemade marshmallow went around (cheers Ste for putting me off!
) we said our goodbyes. By the end of the day, we'd began to get to know a number of people, and felt sad we were leaving. I can fully understand why this was a weekender event, and would certainly like to return again in the future. Thanks again to Andy Spencer, the rest of the staff and everyone there for giving us a great day out.