Some of the AmigaKit team travelled north to Manchester, UK this weekend for the Play Expo 2014
For those of you who haven't heard of this show, it is a very large computer event with around 25,000 + visitors. A quarter of the show is dedicated to "replay" - this is a retro computer section of the show.
A few years ago, we started attending this show primarily to support the nice guys from Amibay.com. They work very hard to make an Amiga presence at the event every year so we decided to support their efforts in making the Amiga section larger with more Amiga specific exhibits.
This year, both A-EON and AmigaKit had a table showing Amiga Next Generation and Classic Amiga.
On the Friday, we finished our work at 2pm and filled our vehicles with a plethora of Amiga hardware and software. The long drive north to Manchester lasted 8 hours due to heavy traffic on the M6. Exhausted and tired, we arrived at the venue at 8.15pm. When we arrived, we were in main hall which is *huge*, it seems to they eye as vast as a few sports fields combined, like an over-sized aircraft hanger. There was a flurry of activity as the other exhibitors were busy setting up their stands in preparation for the next day and we were told that some would be there past midnight!
We were shown to our location next to the Amibay.com members. It was great to see them once again and they were helpful in getting us setup. We decided to half set up and return the next day before the main show to complete the process.
Saturday started at 10am and we had an hour to get ready before the show opened to the public. This year we decided to set up an Amiga 1200 computer with multi-player games and an Amiga CD32 with Microcosm running. On the A-EON stand, we had a white AmigaONE X1000 computer system
running a beta of AMIStore. Our third section contained upgrades, software and hardware from Individual Computers
. We also had a large selection of boxed Amiga games on request from a few customers. We showed the new Tales of Gorluth
from Amiworx as we thought this would be interesting to Amiga gamers as it is a new Amiga game in 2014.
Several customers kept our Technician, Christopher, busy asking about various problems and ailments with their Amiga systems. Chris was hoarse after the first day with all the talking and discussion. He fielded questions about many diverse subjects ranging from broken CD32 lasers, capacitors, Amiga audio circuits, defective composite outputs, Amiga 1000 power supplies and that is just what I overheard! Together with the visitors to our stand, Chris brain stormed several repair problems and I hope they result in a few more Classic Amigas being brought back into use.
Merlin from Amibay.com has success in bringing a CDTV to life, unfortunately we did not have any CDTV discs to test it with. His Cub monitor sadly did not survive the trip to the show.
When I attend these events I am always amazed by how many people out there hold special fond affection for the Amiga. They are outside the active community so we had many questions fielded about the AmigaONE X1000. There was astonishment at the advancement of the Amiga Operating System as many did not realise it was still in development. We demonstrated the power of the X1000 and also ran many Classic Amiga titles to show the level of compatibility.
During Saturday, we had long discussions with the friendly Cinemaware
team who visited us at the A-EON stand. Cinemaware games have always been special for me and I suspect many Amiga users over the years. So I was very excited to see the new Wings game which played very nicely on Chris' laptop.
I was pleased to talk to "DJEcho" and hear his new tracks that he has composed on OctaMED. He uses an Amiga 1200 and SAM system to make music and he had many demos of his work at the show.
The Saturday event ended at 7pm so we headed off for a hearty meal after a long day.
The following day started promptly at 10am.
The latest Amiga Forever 2014
seemed to generate a lot of interest and I demonstrated its features to some ex-Amiga users. They had not seen the package before that and were also surprised that the Competition Pro USB joystick
had been remade in USB form. One customer told me that the combination of both were small enough to "slip past he wife without her noticing that he had bought more Amiga stuff" !
During the day, we met a few users from Amiga.org and EAB and it was great to put names to faces. Thank you to everyone that introduced themselves to us.
The Sunday show day ended at 6pm where we packed up our stands and made the long trip home. We got back to the office just before midnight - fatigued but it was satisfying to meet so many of our regular customers and new faces.
Next stop: Amiwest.