[REVIEW] Blackpool Play Expo 2018 Saturday 10th February

Sunday, 11 February 2018

So this weekend was Play Expo Blackpool, by Replay events. I’ve previously written a blog post about my last visit in 2016, and my very first visit in 2015! Unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the last Manchester event back in October. With the cancellation of MCM Telford and MCM Liverpool which took place in February and March, I decided to take an opportunity to try something new instead.

Travelling wise, there weren’t any issues. There are bus stops, a spacious car park and a tram line all in close proximity. The venue itself is at Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre. It’s a hotel and an exhibition centre combined and has a standout architectural design so it’s hard to miss finding it.
For the convention, there were a few rooms designated. The main hall with a stage, bar and game playing. The dealer hall is separated into a more brightly lit room, with corridors also lined with rows of PC consoles for people to try different types of games. I found this to be the most noticeable difference between Blackpool & Manchester, as Event City has a more open floor space.

The dealer hall being separated was one part of the convention I enjoyed, the dealers seemed really happy at the con and I’m glad some of the usual vendors made another appearance. I managed to pick up a copy of Tales of Destiny along with buying snacks.

The main hall for the games was really dark, which becomes evident after the photos. I don’t think there would have been much to salvage from taking photos on a DSLR camera compared to a smartphone camera.

Samba da Amigo was a popular game of choice, as any dance-themed game tends to be. Some games were Japanese imports but the premise and controls are easy to quickly pick up on. The Arcade games don’t require any costs to operate as well. I managed to get further than expected in one arcade game. Some games I played, I found it hard to play and often kept dying but there’s no patience to sit down and through a tutorial or instructions on how to play the game, make use of the controller. There’s just so much choice.

The main stage had music playing throughout the day until the designated time for the masquerade. As similar with Manchester, the main hall stage was used for the masquerade for entrants to walk on. A flurry of people huddle over to the stage to watch and without a seating area, it became a bit crowded towards the main hall as the stage and the rows of seats for the gaming areas being blocked with children excitedly running around, as they often do... At Manchester, this worked better with a larger open space and a calmer atmosphere.

I brought Kairi along since I wanted to wear a cosplay that was easy to move around in since there’s a lot of sitting up and down to play all sort of games. Also, I wanted to grab some photos considering the venue is right close to the promenade. The weather was pretty awful but it’s always nice to see the beach at Blackpool.

I didn’t see many cosplays at the event, with the age range for the audience appearing to be heavily skewed. There was a large percentage of young adult males in groups, which is nothing out of the ordinary for a gaming convention. However, there was a larger increase of young children which may be due to upcoming half term in the calendar and an easy venue location.

Next up, I’ll be at the new Liverpool convention in March!

Also, you can’t leave Blackpool without a chippy. Thankfully there was one opposite the street and the option to dine in during the cold and wet weather.

2 comments on "[REVIEW] Blackpool Play Expo 2018 Saturday 10th February "
  1. "I managed to get further than expected in one arcade game"

    Which one?

    1. It was hard to read the titles with the lighting but I checked the photo and it was, Hyper Dyne Side Arms!


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