Interview: Nottingham Games Expo 2022

This weekend – 17-18 December – will see the launch of a brand new event, the Nottingham Games Expo which aims to bring together gamers of all kinds for a fun-filled showcase of games, talks, competitions, and more. Ahead of the event, which takes place at The Richard Herrod Centre in Carlton.

Ahead of the event, we spoke to the founders and organisers of the Expo James and Alex to find out more about what was happening….

Hi guys, if you’d like to first introduce yourselves and give us a bit of background on how you are involved in the event?

We are two friends who met online during the coronavirus pandemic, and have been going to gaming events for years but have now we’ve decided to give it a try for ourselves. Our formula for the Nottingham Video Games Expo is to put together all of our favourite parts of those previous events and wrap it all together just in time for Christmas with our own event. Having been part of our fair share of conventions and events over the years and know exactly what works and what doesn’t.

James & Alex – organisers of the Nottingham Video Game Expo

So, what is the Nottingham Video Games Expo?

The Nottingham Video Games Expo offers two days of action-packed gaming, activities, guest speakers, and more on the 17th and 18th of December. As it’s a week before Christmas, it’s just in time to get those last-minute gifts, too!

We want to make sure that, wherever possible, the expo focuses on the local community, so we reached out to small and large gaming businesses and groups.

What made you decide you wanted to launch this particular event?

The city centre of Nottingham has seen internet cafes like Combat Strike close, as well as much-loved video game stores like Play Time. On a larger scale, The National Videogame Museum – which was once located in Hockley – and the ALT Gaming Lounge have both vanished, too.

A Retro Games Fair was previously held in Nottingham, with sold-out crowds and excited visitors wanting more. This is where the Nottingham Video Games Expo comes in.

What can those not familiar with these events expect from Nottingham Video Games Expo?

We’ll have a wide selection on offer, from market stall-style sellers through to live guest panels on stage speaking about the gaming history and areas to pick up and play video games.

You have some fantastic guests and traders lined up, what goes into deciding the kind of people you want at these events?

First off we contacted the guests, traders, etc that we wanted to be at an event if we were to pick a Dream’cast’, we then contacted groups and devs within the local community to focus on what Nottingham has to offer, and then we reached out to people, groups and traders who we had been told would be a suitable fit for our first event. 

The event is taking place at The Richard Herrod Centre in Carlton, what made you choose that as the venue for the first Expo?

As our first event, we didn’t want to go too big too soon. The Richard Herrod Centre was a great place to start, as ultimately we didn’t know whether the appetite for this kind of event would be there or not.

Gaming is somewhat paradoxical in that it can be the ultimate cooperative event but at the same time can involve no physical interactions with the rise in online gameplay, how important is it to still offer opportunities for people to come together and interact? 

James: Very important, people have always had a choice and to offer something which can engage and interact with their communities and also showcase new ones this is something that I personally feel is a good thing to bring people together who may share the same interests or to learn more about video gaming in a fun a friendly atmosphere.

Online gaming has been around for quite some time, I took part in a number of cooperative gaming groups over the years, meeting those people ‘offline’ in person who are now lifelong friends of mine and are only a phone call or a headset chat away. Since lockout, I’ve noticed online gaming has increased which could be for a number of reasons such as ease of use, faster internet or just finding something to do indoors to pass the time. Gaming events of this kind showcase what is out there for gamers or anyone who has an interest in video games or the entertainment sector, at these events you can meet with people in person, share gaming stories and memories and also make new friends with their community or join new ones is something which we aim to bring to the Nottingham Video Games Expo and who knows may even get to play video games online with them when they get home.

What is the earliest game you remember that really captured you? 

Alex: For myself, it was Head Over Heels for the Amstrad CPC 6128. It was my and my brother’s first introduction to computer games. The computer was second-hand to us but came with a treasure trove of over 250 games on discs and cassettes, so we had our pick of hours of gaming fun.

James: The same as Alex really, it all started with the Amstrad but for me, it was the Amstrad CPC 464 and it had to be either Oh Mummy! or Bomb Jack as it was my older brothers Amstrad all the games got passed down to me so it’s great to have those memories of home computer games on cassette before moving onto to the Sega Master System cartridges.

What is your all-time favourite game? Or games if you just cannot pick one?

James: Now that is a difficult one for me, so I am going to have to pick a couple. So if we are talking fond memories games like WWF Wrestlfest in the arcades when going to holiday parks and also Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker on the Sega Mega Drive has to be up there with being a fun game to pick up and play however, I’m gonna go with the arcade and Sega PC version of The House of the Dead.

Alex: For myself, it would have to be a pick of a few. Head Over Heels in all its isometric goodness. Doom for it being one of the roots of my initial launch into the gaming world. Then it would have to be Half-life. A heavily story-driven action FPS… What more could you want?

If you had to describe Nottingham Video Games Expo in one sentence how would you do that?

Bringing communities together to celebrate all things gaming and beyond.

The Nottingham Video Games Expo takes place Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 December at The Richard Herrod Center in Carlton – for more information check out the official website

Interview by Darren Patterson

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