Retro Games Party… Who??
A few words from the founder of Retro Games Party, James Brindle (aka RGP).
This is not just a solo effort, it’s the cumulative work of myself and the help and support of close friends and like minded enthusiasts in the arcade, console and computer communities.
The idea came just prior to the first Replay event in 2010 held on November 5th and 6th at the Norbreck Castle in Blackpool. There was a huge buzz going on around the message boards at the time.
I was a kid who grew up in the 80’s so I was specifically interested in the arcade section which was advertised as all being on free play.
I’d got bored quite quickly of the types of games that were being pushed out of XBox and PlayStation software houses. They seem to be all 3rd person, all full of cut-scenes and complicated missions and training levels. Way too much depth not enough gameplay was my opinion.
The other thing bugging me is how closed these new systems are. You can’t be a solo developer any more.
After the show I had the idea of having a simple new years eve party with a difference, instead of just drinking and music – why not retro games.
I dusted off the Commodore 64, Amiga, PlayStation 2, XBox and loaded up MAME on the arcade cabinet my girlfriend had acquired for me and invited a load of friends around and watched them enjoy themselves playing those old games.
It then went further with myself and my brother listing out a load of must-have consoles and computers to get our hands on so we raided eBay and started buying. It’s amazing what you can find for under £10 that people have spelt wrong so we took advantage of this and grabbed what we could.
The first official party of ours was in February 2011 where we filled my apartment with as much as we could and sent out an invite list and had 30+ people come, we ran the same thing in May 2011 and more came.
It was at this point I started getting into the arcade machines and found a couple of bargains on eBay.
In July 2011 I joined the JAMMA+ forum, originally looking for help fixing monitors. Since then i’ve made lots of friends and also a whole world of hidden gems was opened up. What started with a single machine in September 2010 has now become a formidable collection – with over 100 arcade machines – about 60 of which live with me and have consumed all of my own 1400 square foot apartment and the one next door.
But it’s not just about collecting! It’s about letting other people experience these games as well. There are kids who grow up these days and don’t know who Pac-Man is! Sheesh!
We run different types of events, from general ones where everyone’s welcome to those that are for a specific group of people such as the arcade community. At the open house parties we get all ages coming to play. A friend of ours, Jake (@jake74) brings his young son to play and we can’t get him away from the machines.
In late 2012, as part of JAMMA+, we added our entire collection of arcade games that were working (approximately 32 at the time), to PlayExpo in Manchester, again organised by Replay Events Ltd, which made a total of 75 machines. Over the two days of 13th and 14th October, over 5,000 people visited and most made a direct route for the arcade section. Regrettably in early 2013 some differences of opinion forced me to leave JAMMA+, however, well built foundations are always solid and i’ve been able to maintain good relationships with the friends i’d made.
Generous help and donations
I’m truly grateful that i’ve managed to make so many friends over the years, and being a good communicator has probably helped a lot. Retro Games Party works in partnership with UKVAC, North East Retro Gaming Events, Revival Retro Events, GamesYouLoved and many other organisations to assist in community building, event supply and feature marketing.
Friends have kindly loaned many machines and game boards to us for the benefit of those visiting the parties and in lieu of this commitment and in partnership with some individuals recently acquired an additional 1200 square foot to store, maintain, restore and most importantly play these games making our total available space nearly 2600sqft – certainly a contender to be one of the largest private gaming spaces in the UK.
What’s our mission?
To provide information about local, national and international events relating to retro games
To own and operate a collection of retro games consoles, computers and arcade machines for people to come and play or to lend to various events for the benefits of other enthusiasts where possible.
To operate a safe environment where politics stay at the door and everyone is welcome.
Want an event listed?
No problem, we can do this for you, and we’re geared up either for a simple twitter post to generating local interesting and right up to a national campaign. Get in touch via our contact form for more information. Some minor services are even free.