Cardiff Gaming Market - 22nd October 2023 "Britt's Birthday Bonanza!"πŸ•Ή️ @ReplayEvents #Retrogamer #Retrogaming

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I’ve attended several Replay events over the years, and they have all been well organised, with some great stalls present that always have something that catches my eye. 

There were two things that had my trousers a-twirling this time around, though. Firstly, this was to be the first (as far as I’m aware) games market in my hometown of Cardiff - with the previous closest being in Bristol, several years back.

 I’ve often asked folks over the years about a full-blown convention in Cardiff, but as the majority of the pinball and arcade cabinets for these events are based/stored up north, the logistics seem to be an issue, for now at least.

The second thing that made the day so special, was that the gaming market was due in my hometown...on my 40th Birthday, October 22nd 1983. A date I’m sure resonates with everyone reading this because you’ve got it tattooed on your face because I play such an intrinsic part in each of your lives. Needless to say, I was excited. Especially as this was the first gaming event that we (@kingdomofcarts and I) would be taking our two-year-old son - Brian Blessed* - to.

Rocking up at 11 a.m. to the Utilita / CIA / Motorpoint (delete as age appropriate) with the rest of the early birds, we joined the pretty lengthy queue and gently fondled our purses in anticipation. After a few minutes, we noticed that they were pre-scanning tickets so as to avoid a bottleneck, which was a nice touch. 

A member of the staff also advised us that there was a separate entrance for pushchairs/wheelchair access, and – as we had a pram with us, we headed off to the much shorter queue (three other people) to await access to the arena via the stairs-less route. Upon entry, it became apparent that half of the arena was closed off for the Comic Con (with Christopher Lambert!!!) that was taking place behind a mysterious black curtain, and it felt that the games market was a little smaller than it usually is, but I assume that this is due to it being a first in Cardiff– that said, it was packed for the whole two hours+ that we were there, and so I hope it’s a resounding success this year so as to bring more traders from further afield for 2024. 

Although it was a touch smaller than other gaming markets I’ve attended, there was plenty of gold on offer for all tastes. Pictures (courtesy of @kingdomofcarts) below – and we got some great deals, possibly due to my fluttering eyelashes and doe-eyed ‘but...it’s my birthday’ comments.

We picked up quite a few things there:
  • Batman & Punisher graphic novels – priced at £25 in total, but £15 paid
  • Parker Brothers Wildfire Pinball – priced at £140, £90 paid
  • Sonic the Hedgehog board game (sealed) and The Keep (Nintendo Switch) – priced at £28, £24 paid
  • Bizarre, Japanese knock-off 8-bit multi-game console - £3 (good, love these!)
  • Star Wars unisex perfume - £6
  • Hot Wheels Batman car - £3
As you can see, there is a pretty decent spread of items, and we would have picked up a lot more, were our games room not currently in storage. I had to tear my eyes away from the Mega Drive, Amiga and 8-bit cassettes as I currently have no way to play them, but there was a LOT of gaming action going on that I had to ignore – as if it they were ex-girlfriends with handsome partners of bulging codpieces, lauding their love in front of me. I really hope other folks dug deep and picked up some cool retro gaming stuff, though!

The atmosphere was great, and I actually didn’t have to step outside to vomit due to the fetidness of someone’s breath, which is always a bonus (I genuinely had to do this at the Bristol gaming market a few years back, not my favourite memory). Plus, the bar opened at 11 a.m., so I managed to have a few ‘wallet-looseners’ as I wandered around, which was lovely.
As I’ve said, it was a great inaugural Cardiff event, but I’d love to see it expand next year, with perhaps some MAME stalls and more specialist items on the menu, as there usually are in the London and Northern gaming markets. A friend of mine had specifically come prepared to buy a MAME cabinet, assuming that they would be available. Hopefully, this was a big success all around, and next year other traders will see the benefits of travelling down so we can all throw our purses at them, raiding them of every copy of Heavy Nova on the Mega Drive that is available.

Here’s to Cardiff Gaming Market 2024!

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