Villordsutch reports from PLAY it! at the MOSI in Manchester…
Yesterday evening I attending the grand opening of PLAY it! at the MOSI in Manchester. The doors were finally flung open for a hands on video gaming event for the next coming fortnight, which will see people embracing gaming through the past three decades.
Whether your gaming history started with PONG or Minecraft then PLAY it! hopes that it will have something for you and I turned up with my 35 years+ of gaming knowledge locked into my yellowing brain-cells to see if PLAY it! could awaken any distant memories of days gone by.
If you have never been to the MOSI in Manchester it’s extremely easy to get to via train. Get off at Manchester Oxford Road Station and then catch the free bus outside – they arrive roughly every ten minutes – to the MOSI, it is really that simple; there is of course parking around the area, but you’ll be paying varying prices at one of the many car parks when you do find a space. Head for the main reception and you can either take the lift up to the top floor or the stairs so straight away you’ve got access for people with all abilities so there are points awarded for that.
We – photographer and myself – walked in and met the Cosplayers walking around for the evening. Bot being up on my Japanese gaming I only really recognised Halo, Mario and Lara Croft; if there had been a Jet Set Willy I’d have been okay. We were directed to the entrance, given our press packs and popping candy and then shown to the Gaming Room, which was a fairly large sized room divided up into six clearly marked different gaming zones, which included :-
- Retro gaming – Retro to Modern Games and Consoles
- Manchester – Games related to Manchester
- Rhythm – Music and Danced based gaming
- Minecraft – (I’ll let you work this one out)
- Celebrations – (Film, TV and Popular character based games)
- Lounge – Multi-player gaming
Along with this the was a Café and seated area situated at the back of the room to take five minutes out if needs be.
The room was packed out! However this didn’t stop anybody getting a chance to play numerous games, nor did it stop the fun. People were stood behind other players cheering them on as they battled on Street Fighter, Lara Croft watched as another played on Guitar Hero and the queue for Oculus Rift – with the short Elite: Dangerous Demo – became more excited as each person got their two minute blast of flying along to a floating asteroid and looking around space. The whole atmosphere of the place was fantastic.
Everything has been thought of in one room. You walk in and huge banners attract you like moths to a lightbulb, whispering, “come and play here!”. You suddenly find yourself watching Master Chief from Halo – playing Golden Eye, just as you wrap up a game of Sonic 2, ready for a game of Micro Machines 2 in the Multi-player Lounge. Then you look up and see the Mario Kart section from across the ages and you’re playing that with three people you don’t know and you are having a brilliant time.
When you need a quite moment to reflect, you see the BBC Micro and rubber keyed ZX Spectrum along the back wall and you get the pang of how gaming used to be; sitting down at the Spectrum and playing a few rounds of Daley Thompsons Decathlon, taking me back to the days of the Spectrum vs C64 wars of old.
We were invited for two hours and I wish we could have stayed for longer. I actually am planning on returning with the rest of my family and I’ll be buying a family ticket. There are of course numerous tickets available and if you don’t have a family or you don’t want to get you backside handed to you by your children, they also do an over 18 evening session.
PLAY it! at the MOSI, in Manchester is a brilliant gaming event and one that you should be attending.
PLAY it! Manchester runs from Saturday 25 July to Sunday 9 August at the Museum of Science and Industry as part of the museum’s summer programme.
For more news on PLAY Margate click here and for more news on PLAY Expo in Manchester click here.
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.