OPINION: Old games, new revenue – how retro is still big business in today’s event market

Andy Brown, director of Replay Events (pictured right), specialises in retro gaming events. Here, he talks about how serving the retro community has genereted huge growth for his company.

When it comes to the games industry, they say everything is cyclical. Every few years, the three major first party players seem to swap roles, changing face from industry darling to outcast in a heartbeat. Genres swing in and out of fashion, with toys-to-life adorning every UK living room one Christmas, then serving as landfill the next. The classics however, well, they never really go out of fashion.

Retro gaming has been a ‘thing’ since computers and consoles began to advance enough to show dramatic improvement on previous generations. We’re all drawn to reliving our youth via the warm glow of a CRT screen. The retro community cares not if their hobby is fashionable; collectors will collect regardless. But nevertheless, retro has finally made it mainstream. What’s old is brand-new again.

Replay Events has been serving the retro community for some nine years now. We take the retro experience seriously. The latest wave of microconsoles and emulators are proof positive on how lucrative the sector can be, but, good though they are, nothing beats the real experience of age old hardware running on genuine CRT screens.

So, how do we make retro work for us all? As well as running a host of trading markets and corporate events up and down the country, we provide all the retro gaming for EGX and Showmasters’ events. Nothing attracts the crowds like a set of Samba Da Amigo maracas or a Quickshot joystick.

This October, for the sixth consecutive year, we’ll be running our flagship event, Play Expo Manchester, at Manchester’s EventCity. Last year saw 25,000 gamers flock to our show and this year’s demand is already proving higher.

The latest wave of microconsoles is proof positive on how lucrative the retro sector can be.

Andy Brown, Replay Events

To satisfy the thirst for nostalgia, we’re bringing in hundreds of pieces of consoles, arcades and pinball machines from all over the UK, providing the largest collection of hardware and retro games anywhere in the Europe (we’ll have over 500 retro consoles to play). We get visitors from all over the world flocking to our colossal collection of arcades (Space Harrier anyone?), all of which delight the dads and enthral today’s generation who has never seen an old school cab in the wild.

Play Expo is a unique experience and one we’re keen for the whole industry to get involved with. We’re a friendly event, ideally suited for indie publishers, so if you’re working on a new (or old) indie game, get in touch, we’d love to have you there. If you’re a retailer with retro merch, apparel or services, then jump on board (we have a gigantic hall dedicated to retailers) and we’re not all about retro either – everything from cosplay, tabletop gaming, education, esports and, of course, triple-A is catered for. 

In the quest to PR and market a game, the north of England often gets forgotten. Play Expo is something different – a safe place for the industry to gather, get involved, reach a sector of the country often overlooked and where real results are achieved year in, year out. If you’re interested in seeing how retro can drive your business, then reach on out and get in touch. We think we might just surprise you.

Andy Brown is director of Replay Events, a leading UK events company specialising in retro gaming. Replay Events stage many UK based consumer events including their flagship Play Expo range of shows. To get in touch, please contact andy.brown@replayevents.com

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