Play Expo Manchester

Boy with VR headset on

Play Expo returned to Manchester last week to a new location at the Central Exhibition Centre. This was Little J's first visit to the gaming exhibition and he loved it more than I expected!

We arrived at the event early to make the most of the day. Programmes of events where handed out as we entered through the now familiar bag check process. This also included a map of the venue with each of the sections clearly marked.

Dad and Son playing on PS4
We headed first to the Antstream setup. Antstream advertises itself as a Netflix for retro gaming, with the ability to play on Xbox One, Pc, Android devices and support to come for PS4 and iOS in future. Its currently in kickstarter but they had live stations set up with a selection of games to play.  The speed of games loading was really impressive and I loved having a go of Speedball 2 having not played it for about 20 years.  Little J loved the fact that they had bowls of sweets to pick from too!

Man with VR headset on
Playstation VR was available for try outs just next to this section and both Little J and I had a go on Driveclub VR.  I really thought the experience was amazing, and have been considering buying the VR set, however I did find that it made me feel a bit ill, so it was good to have the chance to try it to make the decision for me!

Next it was over to the Fortnite section. This was already busy, but we didnt have to wait long to sit at a station and Little J played a few games next to around 40 other gamers. He was really enjoying the experience even though he could have played at home.

Dad and Son playing Outrun
We headed over to the arcade section next, with a large selection of original arcade machines, all set as free to play. We spent to time on Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man,  Operation Wolf and waited for a turn on the original sit in cabinet for Out Run. I also played some of the original star wars games and had a few goes of Galaga.  It's always great fun to play the originals all over again, and even more so to see Little J playing and enjoying them too.

woman playing pinball
Next to the Arcade section was the Pinball section.  We all had a go on 'The Adams Family' which is my favourite machine. I was surprised at how out of practice I had become!

Dad and Son playing FIFA
Next it was time for some Fifa. We could only find two machines running Fifa so had to wait a little for a chance to play.  We played three matches at different times throughout the day and this was Little J's favourite part of the day. When I asked him why, when he could play it at home, he just said 'Its better playing it here'

Then it was onto the tombola, where we won sweets and a teddy bear, and then to the market stalls. Usually I find something catches my eye in amongst the gaming merchandise but nothing did this year.

We didn't have time to go to visit any of the presentations on the main stage, or other areas, and we didn't try out Knightmare Live or the Breakout Rooms, however we still really enjoyed the day playing games, and will definitely be returning next year!


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  1. We have Play Exo close to us and our boys loved it when we visited.

  2. This sounds like a really fun day out. Loads of great games for the family to try out.

  3. OK now this sounds like such a fun expo. My other half is a huge gamer and this most definitely the sort of thing he would enjoy going to and finding out about and trying new things.

  4. This looks like so much fun! I love retro arcade games. There's a cafe/bar in Birmingham which has pinball machines you can play on, and they hold regular tournaments too (not that I'm good enough for them, but it's still fun!)

  5. Oh what a fab day out! I love that there is something for everyone, I think my eldest would enjoy it just as much as my youngest!

  6. What fun! My kids would absolutely LOVE to go to this! We'll have to make a trip to see it some year.

  7. Oh wow this looks super cool. What a fun event for sure xx

  8. This looks like a great event, my boys would have loved it

  9. Have never been here - will keep an eye out for further events


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