Retro PC event set to celebrate Ataris and ZX Spectrums

THEY took hours to load up and became so hot you could fry a cooked breakfast on them.

But retro computers like the Atari and ZX Spectrum are to be celebrated as part of Scotland’s first fair of its kind.

Organisers from the Edinburgh Retro PC Club, based on a similar showcase in Blackpool, want to appeal to gamers across the country to exchange games and reacquaint themselves with institutions like Manic Miner and Donkey Kong.

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Experts said the event, set to be held in the coming months, would give younger people a chance to see how games have developed and appreciate the advances in graphics and speed over the past three decades.

The initiative is the concept of Slateford man George Tingle, 41, an IT trainer. He said: “I would love it if this became a meeting place for like-minded enthusiasts who love everything retro computer-wise. There is a wealth of fun and interest in collecting, restoring, programming and playing old 1980s and 90s computers. Some are very rare and highly collectable – prices vary from £35 to £3000 for some of the rarer models.

“Our members are few at the moment, but hopefully the word will soon spread.”

The Replay event in Blackpool is attended by thousands, and is highly regarded by specialists willing to pay tribute to the games and computers which today’s technologies are very much based on. Computers like Amigas and Sinclair ZX81s are expected to be on show at the event.

Mr Tingle added: “I’ve been brought up with computers since I was 11 years old, and started when the Sinclair ZX was launched in March 1981.

“It had a massive 1k of memory, no sound and a flat membrane keyboard that was difficult to type on.

“There is nothing similar to this in Scotland, all the big events are held down south.

“But I do believe that there is a lot of interest.”

Retro gaming expert Chris Scullion, who is games editor of Official Nintendo Magazine, said: “This will be a great way to show younger generations who will have grown up with the Wii, Xbox, PlayStation and the like to see, learn about and enjoy the systems that laid the foundations for the technologically groundbreaking games they play today.

“While games like Manic Miner, Match Day and Treasure Island Dizzy may look like cave drawings compared to the HD and 3D offerings of today, hopefully events like this will give younger gamers a greater appreciation of how their hobby evolved so quickly and show that the games their parents played are still just as fun all these years later.”

A venue for the event is still to be confirmed.