Organisers of an exciting and innovative – but also nostalgic – computer fair which took place at a school in Stratford-upon-Avon, England last Saturday were celebrating another successful event , albeit a little more downbeat than last year, with fewer exhibits and lower attendances this time around – perhaps due to the earlier, winter slot.
The historic King Edward VI School, where William Shakespeare was educated, was offering a free and fun-packed digital day out dedicated to computer science and computing in education, industry and leisure, to one and all – and were rewarded with a buzzing, vibrant and diverse event for computer fans of all interests, not only gaming.
The show, dubbed the Recursion 2018 Computer Science Fair, was held in the modern Levi Fox Hall of the Tudor school off Church Street, and delivered a great opportunity for anyone looking for a techno-fix of retro and modern computing, and all things educational. Amazingly, there was no charge for both visitors and exhibitors – but the event was definitely worth far more than the non-existent admission fee for those attending.
There was plenty of time for all kinds of fun and learning, since the fair was open between 11am-3pm, allowing visitors to catch up on the latest community gossip and events, sign up to a user group, find out about robots and computer science – or just reminisce by playing their favourite games from the good old days.
RETRO AND COMMUNITY
There were dozens of fantastic classic computers available to visitors keen to get their hands on a home micro or console for retro gaming fun, these were provided by the guys from Leicester’s ubiquitous Retro Computer Museum, plus The Atari Guy David Dewson, and Adrian Graham from Binary Dinosaurs.
The editor of the Amiga User International website, Stuart Williams, was delighted to be able to attend in person to cover the show this year, as he has for the past few years wearing his previous Retro Computing News hat.
Sadly this year, the Amiga content was much depleted, our favourite computers being represented only by an A1200 amongst the many gems on offer from the Retro Computer Museum, and an A500 on show with the other Binary Dinosaurs. No sign of next generation AmigaOne computers or MorphOS on show this time around. Thankfully, the ever-enthusiastic Nigel Tromans was on hand as usual with his collection of laptops and a tower PC with attached digital projector, ably representing the many benefits of AROS (the Amiga-like AROS Research Operating System for X86 computers).
There were, however, plenty of Raspberry Pi’s over in the Acorn/Risc OS quarter of the show, which although mostly running Acorn Risc OS at the event, seems to be the up and coming popular platform for Amiga emulation at the moment. We would not be surprised to see Amibian on show next year, if the show goes ahead once more.
Fans of emulation on the Pi could also do far worse than checking out the stylish and futuristic-looking new 3D-printed cases on show from Tom Williamson’s Ident Computer (several designs available, including stacking).
THE RISC OS SHOW
The Risc OS Midlands User Group had another strong presence in the hall this year, with their RISC OS SHOW. As did ROUGOL (the Risc OS User Group of London). Individual Risc OS exhibitors Tony Bartram of Amcog Games and Chris Dewhurst with Drag ‘n Drop magazine were also showing off their wares.
EDUCATION AND INDUSTRY
One or two dealers from the educational computing industry also had a presence, with plenty to discover, and possibly buy. There was even a charity supporting villages in Africa by selling rather less high-tech tools (Graham Sheard of TWAM)!
FIZZES, POPS AND ROVING ROBOTS AND VR!
Some remarkable robots and eerie electronics were on show, amongst other things, by David Hannaford of the King Edward VI School Robotics Club, and last but definitely not least, the fascinating fizzPOP Makerspace crew from Birmingham – mad scientists one and all – who had more geekery going on than you could shake a sonic screwdriver at!
Students from King Edward VI School were also busy helping out the show organiser Richard Barfoot of King Edward VI School, by running a multi-PC Overwatch gaming session and a Virtual Reality demonstration, and there were plenty of facilities available to have a go at coding.
Well, a fun time was had by all who attended. But will the show go on next year? We hope so, but we don’t know yet. When we do, we’ll be sure to report back here.