I feel old. I’m 32 and surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of young men and women.
To clarify, I’m queuing to enter Barcelona World Games, specifically their retro gaming event, RetroBarcelona, but I’m honestly stunned not to see anybody over the age of about 21. I mean, retro gaming usually attracts retro gamers, right?
I’ve queued for the best part of an hour but as we turn the corner, can finally see the entrance and the large sign that welcomes us: “solo centros educativos” – or “schoolkids only”. SH*T. Wrong queue. I’m actually quite relieved.
Shuffled off to the correct entrance (Plaça Catalunya, people), a good few hundred yards away, I’m finally inside.
Boasting 155 exhibitors; 1000+ game stations and 53,000m2 of floor space, Barcelona Games World welcomes around 125,000 people each year and features a large number of themed exhibits from Nintendo, Xbox, Sony plus a whole host of publishers and indie developers.
What I’m really here for though is RetroBarcelona.
Ascending the elevator to the top floor – thankfully with visitors of all ages – I was amazed to see the size of RetroBarcelona – huge, much larger than the pictures on the website make out. Being one of the first inside, I had the luxury of choosing which console or arcade unit to play, and there were hundreds to choose from.
Although I can’t remember them all, some of the more notable consoles on offer include the Nintendo (NES); Super Nintendo; GameCube (some with four controllers for Smash Bros); N64; Sega Megadrive; Commodore; Atari and a large amount of other systems dating all the way back to the earliest Pong video game units.
One of the vendors explained that the consoles, arcade units and games are brought by their respected owners – enthusiasts, who receive no financial reward for doing so. As with most enthusiasts, they do it for the love of their hobby and to share the experience with other like-minded individuals.
With so much to see, and play, here’s an idea of some of the more notable things on offer:
- 250 consoles and classic systems
- A museum – detailing a wide array of consoles from the earliest machines, to the Virtual Boy, to more recent units.
- The creator of PacMan – here for a meet and greet with fans
- A marketplace – a vast number of games, consoles and gaming merchandise for sale
- Tournaments – MarioKart and Street Fighter battles, for prizes
- 6000m2 of nostalgia
RetroBarcelona also houses the Video Games for Food programme by ASUPIVA. In exchange for non-perishable food, ASUPIVA will trade video games with you, and all collected food goes to local food banks in Barcelona. A very noble cause and an easy one to get behind.
Finally, if you’re in the market for buying some retrogoodness, you’d be wise to bring plenty of cash. Common, obscure and hard-to-find titles and systems are aplenty, and for the most part all are reasonably priced.
There’s still time to attend this year’s festival (if you’re reading this on the day it’s published) and i’d highly recommend going if you’re a fan of gaming – new or retro.
Barcelona World Games runs every year between October 5th and October 8th
14 euros for a one-day ticket
35 for a three-day ticket
Fira de Barcelona, Montjuïc recint, Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina
Take the L1 Metro to Pl Espanya. The building can be seen from the exit
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is a stone’s throw away