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Retro Gaming Night – The Centre for Computing History

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On Friday 7th March I headed off to the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge for a night of retro gaming action with my old mate Howard. If you don’t know the Centre for Computing History is an educational charity that tells the story of the Information Age through exploring the historical, social and cultural impact of developments in personal computing. There is a lot of cool stuff for people of all ages to see & try but I’ll focus on the retro gaming night & what we came across.

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Now these nights are held at the centre from time to time but this was the first I had been to so I didn’t really know quite what to expect. Well what I walked into was a really great night out! There were machines & games galore to try as well as a Playstation Track & Field tournament & a raffle where one lucky retro gamer walked away with an Atari ST (I was very jealous). Another great thing (to me) about the event was that a local brewery had donated a large box of locally brewed ale so for a while ‘FREE BEER’ was available. The centre also allowed gamers to bring in their own refreshments & there was a very nice relaxed atmosphere about the whole evening.

Now as I said there were loads of stuff to play & during the evening just to name a few we managed to have a go at the following:

Missile Command – Atari 800 with trackball controller.
Hopper – Acorn Electron (Cambridge being the home of Acorn & the Electron being my 1st computer)
Pole Position – Atari XE
Sega Rally – Sega Saturn (my mate beat me at this & I own this game!!)
Buggy Boy – Commodore 64
Goldeneye – N64 (I absolutely annihilated him at this)
Super Mario Kart – SNES
The Chaos Engine – Amiga CD32
Space Invaders – Texas T1-99/4A
Streetfighter 2 Champion Edition – Arcade Cabinet
Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset
Virtua Cop – Sega Saturn (light gun)
Asteroids – Sit Down Arcade Table
Operation Wolf – Sega Master System (light gun)
Duck Hunt – NES (light gun)
Binatone TV Master Mk IV – Tennis (Pong basically & it was an epic 2 player battle!)

The layout of the event was really good. In the reception area there was plenty to play with an adjacent room full of home computers, the screen projected PlayStation Track & Field & the virtual reality headset to try. At the back the main area which was the biggest area there were loads of light gun games, more home computers & a large console area.

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Now I cannot stress how much there was to try at the event because there were consoles & computers everywhere. I know that I have missed so much & we were at the event for pretty much most of the night & I’m sure at the next one I’ll discover a load more stuff.

There are also lots of items exhibited at the centre to have a look at such as a Sinclair C5 & the coolest retro gaming wall display you may ever see made up entirely of game cassettes. The wall display was very cool & we spent quite some time looking at that & discussing the games.

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Overall I had a brilliant night & I must applaud the organisers at the Centre for making everyone feel welcome & all the work they must have put in setting all up. If you are near Cambridge keep an eye out on the centre’s website www.computinghistory.org.uk as they have lots of different events coming up but if you can get to the next retro gaming night (whenever that may be) then go because you will have a blast (probably with a light gun). Great stuff!!

Darren Cater

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