Sunday, June 14, 2009


Bruce and I decided to forgo the sunshine and disappear into Urbis to see the Video Game Nation. Jon Hare the man behind Sensible software was giving a talk. The website said it started at 12 so we mooched down to Manchester arriving with 15 minutes to spare. In typical British fashion no-one at Urbis knew where to go, and do bear in mind that Urbis is fairly small. We were initially directed to the exhibition, only Jon Hares talk was in a different room and we were told that we had to go to the shop to buy a ticket. The girl in the shop had no idea what we were talking about and had to call on the radio to find out. She sold us the tickets but was unsure of the room to we headed to the cafe. Apparently we could have just gone there in the first place, they were even selling tickets on the door, however the talk was postponed until 2pm.
To kill time we walked around the exhibition. It was pretty interesting, it reminded me of retro games but with more explanation.
I especially like the Beneath the steel exhibit a wall full of scenes from the game. I hadnt realised how important the UK and Manchester were in the computer games arena especially in the 80s and 90s. Ocean software one of the biggest publishers lived on Deansgate, people did amazing things with the Spectrum, C64, Amiga, yet somehow the IBM PC revolution killed a lot of that home grown innovation.

Jon Hare gave a talk at 2pm, it was really interesting to hear about Sensible Software. Apparently of all the games they did Mega-lo-menia was his favorite achievement, it always brings back memories for me of Phils old house Squarefield, the Amiga and washing cars.

Jon Hare explained how they [Sensible Software] were a small team working on stuff they enjoyed in a fun atmosphere, I was so jealous! After his talk there was a sensible soccer, which actually saw him lose in the final. Ill hopefully be going again to VideoGame nation to see David Brabham creator of Elite and Frontier one of my all time favorite games.

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