Last Saturday, on October the 29th, the Swedish retro game convention Retrospelsfestivalen in Malmö, Sweden was back for the first time after the pandemic. The show spared no expense and moved into newer, bigger premises – a store that used to sell tools and building materials to homeowners and craftsmen. It may sound odd, but worked out really well, with 2,700 square meters (29,000 square feet) for sellers and exhibitions, plus a gigantic amount of parking space at the shopping mall.
Retro gamers from all over Sweden and across the strait from Denmark came to the show. Closer to 2,000 visitors, in fact – which is a new record for Retrospelsfestivalen. The sellers reported a big interest in games for the classic Nintendo consoles such as NES, Game Boy and Super Nintendo. Prices of games complete with box and manual in mint condition continue to be high, with no sign of the ongoing recession hitting the collectors market.
Several game developers with a flair for retro exhibited at the show. One-man army WhyKev showed off his upcoming 3D platformer PaperKlay next to his other creations. Bitwave brought PC versions of the Toaplan shoot 'em up classics Out Zone, Truxton, Zero Wing and Twin Cobra, alongside the Sunsoft platformer Gimmick that's being ported by City Connection to modern platforms and published by Bitwave. Gimmick has a unique connection to Scandinavia, as it was a late NES game only released in Scandinavia and Japan. The NES game still commands a high price; one copy with a tarnished box was sold for the equivalent of $900 during the convention. Making Gimmick available on modern platforms is indeed welcome.
Visitors could enjoy a big game area with consoles, home computers, arcades and pinball, and exhibitions of game series like Kirby, Super Mario and Sonic – including the comics for the latter. During the day, several speeches and competitions were held. Among the panels, Stefan Gancer talked about the work with his new book 'The History of Sunsoft' and the artist Per Fhager spoke about how he translates screenshots into needlepoint as the concept of pixelation mimics stitches on canvas.
David “Dave” Boström, host of the Swedish YouTube show GamingGrannar and the former 2003 Swedish champion in Nintendo, showed that he still got skills. He went to the final of Tekken Tag Tournament, but lost against Robin Niklasson.
Dave had better luck and totally dominated the Balloon Fight highscore competition in game mode C – Balloon Trip. He amassed 471,180 points during a 45-minute-long session, not far from the 4th best score in the world at 507,070 points according to Twin Galaxies. His second win came in the Swedish championship in Nintendo knowledge, where Dave just barely won an even final and was awarded with the golden hand holding a golden SNES controller.
It's encouraging to see the retro gaming conventions all over the world resurging after the pandemic. Time Extension hopes to see you at one in the future!