Insert Coin 2009 is the UK’s first, and after attending it on Sunday – the best, public arcade gaming expo. The event took place at the Northampton Saints Rugby Club in the Rodber Suite and Heroes Bar; whilst the venue was perfectly sized for this event I can guarantee that the next Insert Coin will need one much bigger – the online gaming community has been abuzz with praise for the event and I can see why…
The expo featured a myriad of arcade machines – including some not seen yet outside of Japan such as the Delta 32 and a particularly bizarre “dog-walking” arcade simulator! I haven’t seen so many “candy cabs” in one place except for in photos of Japanese arcades. The selection was varied and all the big-name machines were covered: Atomiswave, Egret 2, Naomi, Lindbergh and more. The games on display were just as diverse, and best of all every machine was on Free Play. I managed to spend (alot) of time on Arcana Heart (on which I got the #1 score!), Marvel vs Capcom 2, Outrun 2 (on 3-player versus mode), King of the Fighters XII, an amazing Japanese schmup called Dimahoo, Splatterhouse, and Garou: Mark of the Wolves – sadly Tekken 6 was so busy with a winner stays on round robin I didn’t get a hands on, but from what I saw it looked gorgeous even if it did offer nothing new to the franchise.
The main arcade area was in the Rodber Suite, but down in the Heroes Bar the organisers had set up four Dance Dance Revolution machines for those that enjoy that type of gaming experience . It was much quieter in this part of the expo, but it was all the better for it as a lot more time could be taken on the machines. Plus there were a number of DDR-UK members in attendance here, offering advice on how to better your game, show novices the intricacies of DDR, and show off their skills:
There was also the opportunity to enter a number of tournaments across the event, there were 6 tournaments on Sunday alone! These included Tekken 5 and 6, King of Fighters XII, Streetfighter IV and a japanese Shoot ‘em Up tournament; and all of which were bursting with entrants. There was also a number of raffle prizes on offer including a mini candy cab which would look perfect in anyone’s front room…Alongside all the gaming there was the obligatory cosplay contingent that seems to feature at all UK conventions these days – this did lead to some weird sights at the expo, including one I caught on camera: a Stormtrooper playing Lethal Enforcers 3 with a guy dressed as soldier from Call of Duty!
All said and done, Insert Coin 09 is an amazing new entry into the UK gaming calendar. It was well organized, well attended, and by all accounts very well enjoyed. There was talk that the next Insert Coin event will be taking place in a mere 6 months time, you can guarantee I’ll be there for that, and all subsequent expo’s and if you love gaming you should be at the next Insert Coin too.