With an alliterative name, Reload, Relive, Replay was an event that took place in the centre of Bristol this past weekend. From Friday 30th until Saturday 31st at the Bristol Hippodrome, the event boasted four slots in which you could go and enjoy games from a bygone era. Along with that, there were board games, merchandise, current games and even some virtual reality rooms. Taking place in the historic building by the fountains of the city centre, the video game event has now come and gone – But what was it like?
I went there for the sole purpose of checking out what I had written about only recently, as it was a brand new event with no track record previously. Indeed, this was an event that was advertised to me in the form of an email by the Hippodrome’s ticketing company themselves, ATG Tickets. The advertiser wanted to make sure the event went down without a hitch and reached out to us for advertising – and when I saw what the event was, I genuinely was intrigued by the prospects of using the Hippodrome as a gaming hub. But a four hour event sounded incredibly short, so what would we get out of it?
When we entered the building and went through to the main hall, we managed to get in a few minutes before the official launch time. The stage was open, filled to the brim with computers – and people beginning to look to settle down on the machines. There were many consoles lined up and I finally managed to try Dragon Ball Fighter Z, which I won’t lie – I enjoyed, but certainly wouldn’t pay full price for. Either way though, it was great to be able to wander from machine to machine, playing games along the way. I even managed to jump onto Parappa the Rapper, a PlayStation 1 era game which had a remastered comeback on the PlayStation 4.
Then, we headed downstairs, finding a room with computers rigged up via LAN. There were loads of machines dedicated to Minecraft, so I being the crafty gent that I am, decided to rig up a small trap for one of the machines. Upon entering the Creative world, a player would be introduced to a door opening and slamming in their face repeatedly with a really simple redstone repeater trap I created a long time ago. The machines ran Minecraft incredibly well and the LAN was working brilliantly. We didn’t see anyone go for the Hunger Games style survival map, but if anyone jumped on creative and saw my contraption, well, sorry not sorry?
It was down here that we also saw the VR rooms. Now, there were only 4 VR machines that we could see, which was fine, but it did mean that the rooms often got filled up quickly with people watching the games. One of our GeekOut Bristol Meet regulars, Melissa, even managed to have a good go on one. The machines were good, but not always up to scratch for the VR game she was playing. Between waves, the PC would struggle, often causing disorientation, but hey – It wasn’t too bad overall!
We headed back upstairs and found the first of two board game rooms, simply dubbed ‘Social Escapism’. It was in here that the board games were meant to encourage people to use creative thought, along with counting, in order to beat the games. I wasn’t too sure what to make of this room – On the one hand, the room was well equipped and the staff were really nice in here, but we sat down with a puzzle. It was okay! I didn’t beat it as I decided to move on, but hey, if you know what this puzzle is, feel free to share how you’re supposed to beat it in the comments below, as the pieces felt too big when we managed to get all bar one piece in place. There must have been a trick!
8-Bit Planet were there, selling merch. There were card games on offer here, but no Magic: the Gathering sadly. Nevermind! Prices for the stock they had all seemed reasonable, including retro gamepads for £5. We bumped into some friends of GeekOut in here, which was great and we left our friends Mel and Adam in here to play on the machine. We headed on to the final room – The Parlour! In here, Chance and Counters were running the board games, which saw a Klask tournament ongoing, along with games that were set up and a ‘Help Your Shelf’ table. This is possibly my biggest criticism of the event, but I don’t believe it’s Chance and Counters fault. The team had set up games, but every table was taken, meaning that there was nowhere to play a ‘Help Your Shelf’ game. I really wanted to try Bananagrams, too. Jon – If you’re reading this, bring Bananagrams to a GeekOut Bristol Meet in the future and play that with me at some point!
Overall, the event was very well organised, really well run by a team who definitely showed they knew what they were doing and it was a lot of fun. £15 may seem like a lot of money for four hours, but if you’re willing to play lots of retro games, then this is definitely the event for you. If I had to make any criticism of the main floor areas, I’d say they shouldn’t advertise a “Next Gen” section, as this implies future releases, rather than current gen releases. The closest game I saw to Next Gen was indeed Dragon Ball Fighter Z – Potentially the Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy, too? Furthermore, the drinks prices were out of this world! £3.30 for a typical 600ml bottle of Pepsi Max was, honestly, extortionate.
As a final note, I’d recommend going with at least one other person, as it makes the experience all the better… But before we leave you, check below for our gallery. As ever though, if you were there, what did you make of Reload, Relive, Replay? Let us know your thoughts and opinions below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. Massive thanks to Simon Guy for letting us know about the event! We hope it comes back in the future.