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Play Expo 2014 / 14th of August 2014

This year, between the 11th and 12th of October at EventCity in Manchester, there will be the UK’s most diverse video gaming expo taking place, and included among its jam packed two day schedule are a wide variety of guest speakers, special guests, cosplayers, pinball machines and yes, video games…

The Play Expo will play host to celebrated industry veteran Charles Cecil MBE, the former head of Revolution Software, developer of the gaming classics, Beneath a Steel Sky and Broken Sword, who will be giving a talk discussing his own personal history of adventure gaming, and the challenges that developers face in winning over a customer base. Additionally, this year’s show will also see an appearance by Mel Croucher, the British gaming pioneer who was the creative lead on 1984’s seminal, Deus Ex Machina, a game that he is currently in process of remaking, with a voice cast led by the brilliant, Christopher Lee. The expo will feature an indie zone, with as many as twelve independent studios having confirmed their attendance, which will be fully complimented by the usual array of AAA developers and publishers showcasing their latest developments, though at present these have yet to be announced. Indie developers include among them Fully Illustrated, aka Michael Heald, who will be showing off his new ID@Xbox title, Wulverblade, and to top it off, he might even be demoing it in an arcade cabinet.

As part of the show’s Screen.Play area, Manchester will play host to some of the stars of the BBC’s Red Dwarf, with Chris Barrie and Craig Charles attending the show to sign autographs and have photos taken with fans. As if this wasn’t exciting enough, Star Wars fans can rejoice as David Prowse (Darth Vader), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2) will also be available for autographs and photo opportunities. Jeremy will be available on Saturday the 11th of October, whilst both David and Kenny will make their appearances on the following day.

The Play Expo will also feature the largest collection of pinball tables and arcade machines in Europe, with more than 250 of them all set to free play, there will be a card and board game section held in association with Dark Cleo Productions and a fighting game arena run by Electronic Dojo, along with the last heats and the final of the UK’s inaugural Classic Gaming Championship. The expo’s retail partner, GameSeek will be in attendance allowing gamers to pre-order or purchase the latest releases, a retro gaming section with linked VR headsets, a massive trading area packed full of merchandise and a huge PC LAN area loaded with both modern and classic games.

The surprising thing about the Play Expo is that they haven’t announced everything yet, there’s actually more to come, with eSports events planned for the weekend, more famous guests and even more indie developers, but let’s not forget, the AAA publishers and developers will also be there, so if you hadn’t already decided that you were planning on attending, you probably have now. We’ll see you there.

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