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Going to a Retro Gaming Market? Here’s What to Expect

Last Updated on October 7, 2023

I’ve just been to a retro gaming market for the first time and… wow!

Frankly, I wish I’d had more time. So, what can you expect at one of these events?

Well, I’m basing this entirely on my experience today at the Newcastle Gaming Market (which we told you about), which as I write this is cracking along nicely at the Gateshead International Stadium.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get there early doors, which ruled out paying a bit more for a quieter experience. Who knows, I might have missed out on something I really wanted (I don’t think so though), but when I arrived at around 12.20pm, I was stunned to see just how busy the event is.

First off, big respect to the team runing the event. Entry was seamless (cash only, though, so keep that in mind if you attend a future market) and the long queue was brought down efficiently. The huge room at the stadium was perfectly arranged, with stalls around the outside and in four groups around the center, making navigation easy.

How to see everything at a retro gaming market

My strategy, based on limited time, was to size up which stall was selling what, return to the ones I wanted to spend time at, then get out. The random element: my eldest daughter was in tow…

Not a big deal, but it did mean that we spent a bit of time on a jewellery stall (with a sideline in retro art) which gave me the chance to see a few things I didn’t expect. Decals, stickers, art for cab projects, retro and modern game art printed ointo metal plates, coasters, and much more.

There was also a fudge stand – and why not?

Now, I got chatting to the stall first on the left by the entrance and *really* wanted to pick up a couple of rarer late Amiga titles. But with a budget, and spotting some C64 carts which would have broken it if I’d included them, I ended up with just a nice boxed copy of Shadow of the Beast II for the Amiga.

What hardware is at a retro gaming event?

We saw a fair amount of digital eye candy at the Newcastle Gaming Market, from old systems – fully boxed and ready to buy – to refurbished Nintendo Game Boys.

Reconditioned consoles at a retro gaming market

The systems pictured here are refurbished, with IPS backlit LCD displays (XL option available), replacement glass, mostly new shells, USB-C charging, 2000mah batteries, 2W speaker, and 10-12 hours of play time.

It’s fair to say this one stall was the most attractive, even despite the proliferation of artwork for sale around the venue. Such consoles were available for around £175 on the day, but different prices can be found offline.

Tasty, aren’t they?!

What sort of games can you find?

If you think of retro games, you probably think of Atari, Nintendo, and SEGA systems, maybe Neo-Geo, Vextrex, and a couple of other more obscure systems. These – along with Sony PlayStation and early Xbox – were all present and correct. You’re as likely to find Dreamcast games as you are to find Nintendo Wii U titles, which is reassuring

Also available today, and I expect this is typical for UK events: C64, Amiga, ZX Spectrum, MS-DOS/Windows 95 and later. I passed up on a few tasty PC classics, mainly because my MS-DOS system isn’t up and running yet (and doesn’t have a CD drive). It was sad to see a lack of BBC Micro/Electron titles, but not a surprise.

Should you go to a retro gaming market? Yes!

Naturally I was a little nervous about going to the event, not least because I knew it would be a brief trip up and down the A19 from Teesside to Tyneside. Regardless, I loved every minute of it, and only wish I’d had more time to browse games, old controllers, the odd old cable or docking port, and maybe even splash out on a Limited Run Games Nintendo Switch title (we saw a few of those!).

If you’re thinking about checking out what’s on offer at a retro gaming market near you, based on my experiences today, I’d highly recommend it.

Meanwhile, this is a regular event that is likely to be repeated. Keep tabs on www.newcastlegamingmarket.com for information about future events.

Now, off to try out those Shadow of the Beast II disks…

About the author

Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine, TechRadar.com, and other publications.

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