[Acorn Gaming]


Acorn Southeast 1998

(Apologies if you have to resize your browser for this page - the graphics in this report were developed for a previous design of the site and have not yet been resized)

The Acorn Southeast show took place on the last Saturday of June this year, at Stevenage in Hertfordshire - handily close for Acorn companies based in Cambridge, including Acorn themselves who were showing their Risc PC 2 prototype, Phoebe 2100.

[General shot of Acorn SE show]

Games on sale
R-Comp's stand
Risc PC 2 and the new portable

[Sports centre banner]Based in Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre, the show was quite literally right next to the railway station, which was very convenient. Complete with show theatre in an adjacent gym, the show was not really that much smaller than Acorn World, with around 50 exhibitors present. It was much emptier, though, and less effort had been put into most of the stands. There were very few show offers, and the basic lack of new software was very evident.

[4D stand]The 4th Dimension (pictured right) were there, with a very tired stand manned by an even-more-tired looking individual. 4D had some of their back catalogue on sale, with various of these available at £9.99 in their 'value for money' range, as launched last year. A couple of their latest budget games were also on sale, also at £9.99, but the game announced as being due for release at the show, the platformer Super Snail, failed to make an appearance.

Also at the show were Werewolf Software, although they had nothing new on their stand. Unlike 4D at least some effort had been put into the presentation, however. This effort included providing evidence of a new family-colour-coordination trend, with both Dane and his stand helper (presumably his Dad) sporting bright orange tops and black bottoms - R-Comp (see below) were also colour-coordinated, with the Rawnsley family wearing purple tops and cream bottoms. It's nice to see some thought being put into such things, I suppose.

[Dane Koekoek] [Werewolf]
Dane Koekoek and the Werewolf Software stand

Various dealers had a selection of games for sale on their stands, including CJE and CTA (Curriculum Training Associates):

[CJE games] [CTA stand]
Games on the CJE stand, and the sprawl of CTA's wares

There was also a games "arcade" at the show, featuring Doom, Wolfenstein 3D and a RISC OS port of ancient platform game Frak.

[Games arcade]

Other non-company stands included 'MADS', the Markyate Amateur Dramatics Society, which gave me a good excuse to take an arty picture of a stand:

Demoing the use of Acorns for sound effects

[The Datafile]The Datafile were selling their games, including the excellent Emotions, which has now been repackaged into a rather smart and cool-looking larger-than-video size case. Also being sold on the stand were various old games, all marked as being incompatible with either the Risc PC or StrongARMs, at not-especially-cheap prices.

[Champions Compilation - 8.50]

[R-Comp's stand]And so to the main attraction from the gaming point of view - R-Comp, who were selling Syndicate+, Acorn Doom, Ankh and the boxed CDs for Quake Resurrection. Unlike at the Wakefield show, Ankh was available in large quantities, and Syndicate+ was fully released. Still no Quake driver, however, so those who bought Quake still have to wait an indefinite amount of time for the delivery of the Acorn player software, being developed by TBA Software for R-Comp.

[R-Comp stand #2] [R-Comp stand #3]
[R-Comp stand #2]
R-Comp's colour coordination (top) and Andrew Rawnsley (bottom)

Syndicate+ was not running in the games arcade, but it was present on R-Comp's stand, along with many stacked boxes of Ankh, Quake Resurrection and Doom:

[Syndicate and Doom boxes] [Syndicate running] [Ankh and Quake]

R-Comp's stand was always busy, unlike most of the other stands at the show, but I can't imagine that they hoped to sell all the game boxes they had present - I imagine they were mainly for show, and they certainly looked impressive, so I guess it worked!

New Computers

Also at the show were both the forthcoming Risc PC 2 (the childishly-named Phoebe 2100) and the 'peanut', the soon-to-be RISC OS portable from Innovative Media Solutions (IMS). I personally found the latter much more impressive - mainly because it was actually running, although the glide finger pad for mouse control (complete with a really cool double-tap action to activate a drag) and excellent-quality display were both impressive.

[Phoebe 2100]
The successor to the Risc PC laid bare

My favourite feature of the Risc PC 2 was the list of faults attached to it, scrawled messily on a parcel label. "IC51 WRONG COMPONENT" was particularly amusing:

[Phoebe 2100 faults]

[RISC OS portable]The Peanut was proudly display on a classically-styled column, and although it was suffering from various driver problems it could still be played with. As mentioned above, one of the most striking things was the quality of its display: [Peanut screen]

Finally, I can't resist just mentioning that present at the show was someone I christened 'Phoebe Man', since he was walking around in a bright yellow tracksuit - the same garish livery sported by the Phoebe 2100. He was proudly wearing a ZFC badge with his name on (ZFC stands for Zimmer Frame Club, referring to an 'older' user of the Argonet internet service), but I'll spare him the public humiliation and keep his identity secret:

[Phoebe Man]
Cool or what?!

...this page last updated: 2/7/98...
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