Friday 14 October 2016

Play Expo, Manchester

Being a blogger's husband may seem like a wonderful life of free meals and opening parties but believe me poor Simon quite often gets a rough deal.  He has to eat his food cold, make small talk with people he doesn't know and misses out on hours of gaming time.

So when an e-mail appeared in my inbox inviting us to Play Expo Manchester, the North's biggest gaming convention, I had to say a big yes for Simon! I was very excited as I knew returning to his home city to take part in something he loves would very much win me wife points.  I wasn't sure how interesting I'd find the event myself, but knowing that Intu Trafford Centre (complete with Selfridges) was just over the road was a comfort!

 So how did a girl with no interest in gaming get on at a gaming convention with her Xbox loving husband?

I was very sure to attend Play Expo Manchester with an open mind, gaming is something that Simon is hugely passionate about and his dream is to get me involved in his world. Having already enjoyed Game On together I was keen to get the most out of Play Expo and fully immerse myself in his world (plus a well behaved wife surely gets a post gaming trip to Selfridges!)

Unfortunately busy roads meant that we were slightly delayed for doors opening at 10:00 am but standing in a mammoth queue with loads of gaming fans was so enjoyable. We loved spotting the people in cosplay and trying to guess who they were, not the best game to play with Simon when his knowledge of the gaming world is far superior to mine.

In no time at all we were inside and our jaws dropped to the floor at how huge Play Expo was.  Standing in the queue with so many other people we had worried that it'd be a little busy with no room to move but inside there was ample space with all of the stands and activities spread out to ease the crowds.

After getting slightly distracted by on stage Cosplay Blind Date (brilliant!) we headed for the game play areas where there were plenty of consoles available for gaming sessions. We were so impressed with the amount of stations there were meaning that there was always a free spot available at a console.

Simon was happy to find a space at a first generation Xbox and spent a good while choosing what game to play from the great selection available. Having never experienced early Xbox back in the day I couldn't believe how dated the graphics looked compared to the modern Xbox One.  It's so impressive how far the world of game development has come on in the last 10+ years.

I may claim that I'm not really into gaming but I am a little bit of a closet Nintendo fan girl so as soon we found the retro gaming area I was really in my element, especially when I found a station that had Duck Tales, a game that I was obsessed with during my pre teenage years.

I forget how into a game I get once I'm playing, and how much I swear at the screen when things go wrong.

Strolling around the event we came across something to appeal to every kind of game fan - arcade machines, virtual reality games, indie developers and next gen games - there was even a miniature version of an escape room for lovers of puzzle solving.

After a hearty lunch of burgers from the food van, we decided to have a little stroll round the stalls who were selling loads of goodies for gaming fans.  Having managed to convince Simon that we shouldn't spend money on an old games console for the living room, he couldn't help but get his wallet out at the t-shirt stand where there were some brilliant t-shirts from the world of TV, movies and gaming to pick from.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any better I was so excited when a moment later we stumbled across a table covered in retro board games from my childhood.  I insisted that we stopped for a rowdy game of Mr Pop, which still gave me a huge shock every time it popped up just as it had done in the 80s!

 By this point we were feeling pretty tired and over excited from all of the retro goodness so we decided to call it a day and head over to the shopping centre to give me some time to indulge in my passion.

We both enjoyed Play Expo and if Simon wanted to go back next year I wouldn't hesitate to go with him, I was so impressed how much this non gaming lady enjoyed her day out the gamers.

Play Expo gave us complimentary tickets and being a kind wife I decided to accept on behalf of my gamer husband. I was truly blown away by how much fun I had and wouldn't hesitate to recommend the event to gamers and non-gamers!

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