by Gary Storm
We didn't know whether our first show would be a success or not. As far as we were concerned if we could get around 150 people coming through the door it would be a great start. If we didn't get any more than a hundred it would probably be our first and last show :)
As it was we had nearly 100 Amigans rush the gig in just half an hour after opening. At the end of the day it transpired that around 190 people attended, which is fantastic for our first effort. Of course this is in no small part in thanks to the brilliant support of Czech Amiga News, Amiga.org, Amiga Active magazine and various other efforts to get the show known.
SEAL members and exhibitors arrived at our venue in Basildon at 10am to set up everything for the 12 noon opening. Setting up was pretty painless, even though there were lots of Amiga's (and a couple of PCs - cough) being used for various things. About our only problem was that the parking area was being invaded by the cars of a junior soccer team's parents (who had a match on that day which we didn't know about), but after we brandished our baseball bats they disappeared for some reason. Strange.
Robert Williams (SEAL God and editor of Clubbed magazine) had printed loads of posters for the exhibitors, and also some for us to stick on the road-signs to show where we were. Mandyleigh (my fiance' www.mandyleigh.co.uk), Dave (not my fiance') and myself went and illegally plastered the signs up with some gaffer tape. We even had a police car drive by us as we were doing it, but they didn't stop to beat us up, which is a shame.
Once the doors were open to the general public, a deluge of Amigans filed into the venue for £1 each, and were handed a raffle ticket each for the multitude of prizes that were on offer to be drawn at 4pm.
There was enough to see, even though Mick Tinker and the mythical beast of a BoXeR couldn't make it, as well as iFusion PPC (which I was hanging out for, although I am assured it should reach us fairly soon).
Blittersoft had a sexy looking Mediator PCI running with a Virge gfx card, which looked great on a motionless screen. Unfortunately there wasn't any app or game running at the time I was there to see how it performed under working conditions, but it's very exciting. The excellent Payback game was on a seperate AGA Amiga. Payback looks and plays brilliantly, and it's not even finished yet. You definitely have to buy this game if you liked GTA in any way. Later in the show Bart, the programmer of "Fubar" showed up to demonstrate his Cannon-Fodder/Command & Conquer-esque game, which looks very promising.
Eyetech had what I think was the most interesting table, thanks to the stock they brought with them and the d'Amiga system that was running.
Analogic didn't bring anything to demo, but had a few bargains, including 17" Compaq V70 monitors for £120. I grabbed myself one of those baby's. Yum.
Forematt Home Computing brought along quite a bit of good software, old and new, games and serious stuff. John and his lovely wife kept on smiling the whole day, which makes me wonder what drugs they were on, and where I could get some :)
Mark Hinton and Russell from Amiga Active magazine weren't looking so impressed on their stand when I was wandering around... or maybe it's 'cos I was there, and joking about Mark's gay Amiga following :). Amiga Active had an absolutely outstanding huge poster behind them as you'd expect, and alot of their excellent magazines on show. Unfortunately Andrew Korn didn't make it. I was doing a bit of Amiga Active magazine promoting, and most of the people I spoke to were already subscribers. One guy even said he didn't want to subscribe because he ordered it through his local small newsagent and wanted to support them even though it cost him extra. If you haven't experienced the delights of the best commercial Amiga magazine in the world yet (ok, the only commercial Amiga magazine in the world), then get your ass to www.amigactive.com and subscribe. You have no excuse not to, as it's brilliant and is delivered all over the world.
Crystal Interactive premiered and sold "Bubble Heroes", which is a game very similar to 'Bust A Move 2" on the Playstation. Anyone who's played that knows how addictive and fun it is, and "Bubble Heroes" is a fantastic Amiga rendition, and well worth buying. Andrew also gave a popular demonstration of some other game who's name escapes me at the moment (sorry), as I didn't get a chance to see it.
Unfortunately I didn't get to see the Gasteiner stand,
but it's nice to have had them at the show and in an Amiga environment
again, even though they didn't have any 'Grand TV-Amazing's'. If anyone
knows where I can grab another one of these great little boxes again....
Ideas2Reality had brought along a working QNX system, which looked very very interesting. Bernard and his accomplice were very nice to chat to, and very interested in the response (which was pretty positive). They didn't really bring much to sell, just a couple of pc keyboards and mice really, but they came to gauge reaction to the QNX rtos and I think they were pleased.
Kickstart were doing a great business of selling registrations to MooVid for PPC and non-PPC Amiga's for the author. MooVid is a great .avi and .mov video player, and I've always wanted it for my PPC. It's a real pity that the Frogger author didn't trust Kickstart enough to let them sell his program at the show as well, as it's much less of a pain in the arse to buy shareware through Kickstart than trying to get get foreign money posted off to God knows where. So c'mon all you shareware authors... let Kickstart do the biz for you.
SEAL ourselves were there promoting our excellent magazine - Clubbed (issue 6 out now), and we sold another 20 subscriptions, and loads more single issues. Wherever you are in the world, get this magazine. If you wanna write for it, just contact Rob Williams, the editor.
Usergroups ASA and ANT where there too attracting new members and selling a variety of second hand bargains. ANT's extremely brash Michael Carillo also did a great job of helping us out throughout the day. His loud voice came in useful with announcements (as we had three separate halls), and during the prize-giving at 4pm.
To get a few of the prizes, you had to win some of the games: Wipeout 2097 was running throughout the afternoon, with people trying to better the best current time on a certain track. The winner got a copy of Wipeout 2097, kindly donated by that great guy Paul LeSurf of Blittersoft. I used to be great at this game on the Playstation, but everyone was beaten in the end by some kid who'd played it once or twice on a friends PSX. Brat :)
Heretic II was played on two PPC's opposite each other, networked in a deathmatch. I got through to the quarter-finals but was trounced. I blame the lack of a mouse-mat myself :) The prize was Heretic II of course, donated by Hyperion themselves.
Finally there was a SEAL-O-RAMA! 2000 Sensible Soccer tournament, where I was knocked out after an own-goal in extra time (a shot deflected from a defender) and a couple of other goals just to make sure. The orange soccer-topped dude that beat me did quite well, but the final was between Paul Qureshi and Glenn. It wasn't Paul's day, as Glenn beat him here, and he'd also lost his long standing best time on Wipeout 2097 to that talented bratlet :) . Glenn is actually a SEAL member who had organised the Sensi comp, but in no way was it rigged (or I'd have won) :). Glenn had the grand prize of an Amiga 1200 Magic Pack from Amiga and a 3.2 gig 2.5" hd from Analogic to go into it.
All three of these games are just fantastic, so if you have any interest or equipment to be able to play them.... do it. Get them.
After many tickets were drawn only to find that the winner was no longer there (it was probably YOU), other prizes to be handed out at 4pm were:
Thanks again to all the exhibitors for donating the prizes. Brill.
All in all the day was fantastic. Most SEAL members did a sterling job throughout the day. Cheers especially to the hard working ladies who sweated it out in the kitchen - Sharon & Mandyleigh. The kitchen was seriously a sauna. Of other note from what I saw were Roy, Jeff, Glenn, Robert, Mick, Dave and the dude with the combat pants who was tied to the door. Well done to those and all the ppl I didn't see or have forgotten. The only negative point of the show was that some exhibitors didn't sell as much as they hoped for. Unfortunately that's beyond our control, as we had a great number of people through the door.
Thanks to all of you who came, and all of you who made it worth coming to :)
Catcha again for SEAL-O-RAMA! 2001.
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