I went along to the PLAY Expo Glasgow event at the weekend for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect at Scotland’s biggest gaming event. Replay Events however did not disappoint and have put on a great event. Gaming events are like a bit of an urban myth in Scotland so its good to see PLAY Expo Glasgow making a return once again. So what does this event consist of? Well there is a mix of everything gaming related both catering for the retro gamer and the modern gamer. The event consists of VR; indie gaming; tabletop games; tournaments; pinball tables; arcade cabinets; retro gaming; LAN gaming; modern games, cosplay and merchandise stalls. After my eventful weekend I round up the best bits of PLAY Expo Glasgow 2017.
The title of the article gives it away a little on what I want to talk about first, which falls under the Indie Gaming and VR categories. This is also the most memorable title I played and it definitely shows great promise going forward. Deep Fried Games(DFG) are a small indie developer based in good old Glasgow and they have certainly came out swinging for the home side. They were showcasing their title Project Swing on the HTC Vive. This title places you in a virtual arena with only two items, a grapple hook and a gun, which both having boosters. Your aim is to take out all the robots as fast and as accurately as possible. To take down the robots you will have to get close enough for them to drop their shields. After seeing the reception from people playing it I just had to have a try. It also serves as a great demo to sample for my first swing into the HTC Vive. Be sure to reach out to the DFG crew on facebook and twitter.
The first thing you partake in is a short but informative tutorial that teaches you all you need to know. After a few deaths I think I created alternative ways to get through the tutorial, but the DFG team are always beside you helping you out. After this you are let loose in an arena with plenty of platforms assisting you in swinging around the environment. There are two waves of robots that will appear for some swinging and shooting fun. The gameplay offers easy access for people new to VR and offers an addictive challenge for those VR veterans. The graphics on offer are cell-shaded and very colourful making everything easy on the eyes. In my play-through I didn’t get any nausea so I think the team have cracked it with a motion sickness free experience. I can not recommend this demo enough and it is certainly one to keep an eye on. The DFG team were also asking for people feedback which is great to see. The game has so much potential and I would love to actually see this also add some sort of multiplayer mode where you are up against another human player in the arena. You can check out the video below for a perfect run showing you how a pro does it.
Staying with the VR there were two PSVR titles on offer and one other HTC Vive title and an Oculus Rift title. The latter two titles were a paint demo on the HTC Vive and I think the Oculus Rift was lucky’s Tale. The two PSVR titles The Deep and Ubisofts Eagle Flight. In the interests of time I decided to try out Eagle Flight. The reason I chose this over The Deep was due to the latter being a fast moving title. Again this was my first experience of the PSVR and I have to say I was impressed. The Eagle Flight puts you in the body of an eagle flying through a city. You navigate direction with your head, and use the left and right triggers for your speed.
In the indie section of the event we had the usual suspects like Rocket League and Team 17’s Overcooked, showcasing the talent of indie gaming. We have reviewed both titles on this site so just click the relevant links. There were two new titles on show here both offering something different. The first one was called MaoMao Castle which is similar to SEGA’s Space Harrier. It uses Leap Motion technology which allows you to control the game with just your hand.“You Help MaoMao the Cat-Dragon make it back to his castle, avoid obstacles, collect rainbows, and rack up points. Speed dash to crash through trees, pillars, and moai, as you fly around trying not to lose one of your 9 lives. Perform deft manoeuvres by gliding your finger across the glass of your mobile device, or waving your hand over the LEAP Motion Controller.” You can find out more over on the games website.
Another game on show in this section was Blue Revolver a shoot’em up by Stellar Circle. This title has inspiration from CAVE and Raizing games from back in the day.As you can see this is action packed and fast paced, sure to test your reflexes. More can be found about this title by clicking here.
For Spectrum fans out there the Spectrum Next was on show and something fans of this system will be excited about. The Spectrum Next is an updated and enhanced version of the ZX Spectrum totally compatible with the original, featuring the major hardware developments of the past many years packed inside a simple (and beautiful) design by the original designer, Rick Dickinson, inspired by his seminal work at Sinclair Research. You can check some images of the Spectrum Next below and for more info check out the official Spectrum Next website.
The place I have to admit to spending the most time at was the pinball and arcade cabinet sections. The pinball section was organised and run by the Scottish Pinball Association which was formed on the back of last years PLAY Expo Glasgow. The team done a great job maintaining the machines and fixing them fast when issues cropped up, and best of all everything was free play. They also held a high score tournament for both kids and adults. The kids one was free and the adults only cost £1 and provided a great challenge for fans. The pictures below is just a small selection of what was on offer at the Expo.
There were also a whole bunch of arcade cabinets ranging from Donkey Kong and Defender to House of The Dead and Crazy Taxi. The one that stole the show this year though was the Deluxe Outrun Cabinet, there was always a queue at the machine. Just like the pinball machines everything was set to free play. It was great to be able to play some of the machines that are already in The Pinball Arcade on current systems, although I wasn’t anywhere near as good on the real machines.
PLAY Expo Glasgow also hosts a large collection of retro consoles and computers. Some of the platforms that were on show were before my time and it was great to see them in actions. There were NES, SNES, Amiga and the C64 to name just a few. Games included Duck Hunt, Mario 3, Flashback and even Pang on the Amiga. It was certainly a truly enjoyable step back in time. So while not really classed as retro there were also a host of rhythm games including DJ Hero, Samba De Amigo(Wii) and Donkey Konga and more. If retro is not your thing there are also a host of modern consoles at the show for people to try out the latest titles.
If your more of a competitive gamer there was plenty of options available. There was a whole LAN Gaming section as well as a host of dedicated tournaments that seemed to be very popular with the attendees. If dressing up is more your thing, there was also a section dedicated to the art of Cosplay. Finally we had the merchandise stalls and what a show they put on. It was pricey but there was a wide array of figures, clothing, artwork and consoles. It was great to also see a lot of imported games and equipment as well.
PLAY Expo Glasgow is over for another year and my first time at the show has left me impressed. It’s great to see Scotland put on a great event and while it may not be to the scale of many events held down south there is scope to grow. Hopefully this event will either grow in scale or at least inspire more organizers to plan more events like this in Scotland. If you have never been and love everything gaming related, then I can recommend doing at least one of the two days in the future.