In a few days, the North will once again be alive with fevered enthusiasm as PLAY Expo returns to Manchester for its 6th year. This is an event that caters for all kinds of gamer, not just our precious Xbox, and with an expected crowd of 25,000 it’s a good job there is something for everyone! But if you are still unsure that Play Expo won’t have what you are looking for then here is a list of just some of the things you can expect:

Nintendo 64 Goldeneye 20th Anniversary Panel

The highlight of the event may not be Xbox-related but if it wasn’t for Goldeneye then it is likely we wouldn’t have had Perfect Dark and TimeSplitters, games which were both on Xbox. So that’s the tenuous link sorted.

Goldeneye celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and completely set the benchmark for first-person shooters on consoles. Developed by Rare two years after the film came out, it went on to sell over 8 million copies and is rightly regarded as one of the most important games of all time. Not bad for a film tie-in!

The 20th Anniversary Panel will consist of five of the original team to discuss the development and the legacy it has, including legendary composer Graeme Norgate.

There is also the promise of being able to take on the team in a local deathmatch with prizes for anyone who can best them. Just no Oddjob!

Indie Showcase

This year Play Expo Manchester also has its largest gathering of indie games ever. This is an excellent opportunity to play games that would otherwise have been off your radar, and I for one will be aiming to check out each and every upcoming game there that will be appearing on the Xbox One. So far, 20 games have been confirmed but there are more to follow and we will keep you updated when those are announced. The list so far:

  • Silo Black Games – Boom Boom Barbarian
  • Hut 90 – Akuto: Mad World
  • Hope for Hopeless Studios – The Tension
  • Huey Games – Hyper Sentinel (Xbox One Confirmed)
  • Lega Entertainment – Bullion
  • Noskyvisible – Time Runner
  • 1st Impact Games – All Contact Lost
  • LimeVibe Games – Space Toads Mayhem
  • Popup Asylum – BeeBeeQ
  • All iN ERSATZ
  • Warpfish Games Limited – Razed
  • Onion Soup Interactive – Nippon Marathon (Xbox One Confirmed)
  • Ginger Biscuit Games – OAOA – Off and On Again (Xbox One Planned Release)
  • OceanSpark Studios – Tetra, Elemental Awakening
  • SinisterSoftRetroStar
  • Gemi Games – Super Lumi Live
  • Chronik Spartan – Glo

Edit: There are a few more confirmed games, some of which are coming to Xbox One. We will have coverage of all those coming soon. The new list:

  • Switchblade – Lucid Games
  • Employee of The Month – Team Cup Of Char
  • Filling Station – Nurishment/Team Cooper
  • Fragmental – Ruffian Games
  • RADTv – Ruffian Games
  • MaoMao Castle – Asobi.Tech
  • Polybius – Llamasoft
  • Tempest 4000 – Jeff Minter (Xbox One confirmed)
  • Sociable Soccer – Tower Studios
  • TANGLEWOOD – Big Evil Corporation
  • Mechanic Panic – University of Northampton
  • Raging Justice – MakinGames (Xbox One Confirmed)
  • Sigma Theory – Mi-Clos Studio
  • SMASH TANKS! – Dumpling Co. Ltd
  • The Otterman Empire – Tri-Heart Interactive (Xbox One planned)

Xbox Live Stations

For those looking for the latest and greatest AAA Xbox One titles rather than the smaller indie games then there will be a host of Xbox’s up and running allowing you to play games such as Halo Wars 2, Yooka-Laylee, Injustice 2 and many more. These will also allow competitive gaming featuring some of the more quirkier and leftfield multiplayer games, but these are yet to be announced.

Retro Zone

If older generation is more your thing then how does a selection of 500 retro gaming machines sound? From the very beginning to the turn of the millennium there is going to be something here for everyone as PLAY Expo celebrates the past 40 years of gaming.

Sinclair, Commodore, Nintendo, Sega, Sony and even the hulking black box more commonly known as an Original Xbox will all be available to play. You’ll be able to try an older classic and see where your new favourites got their inspiration from, or maybe even get a glimpse at some Original Xbox classics that will soon be making their way over to the current Xbox One.

Fighting Tournaments

On the Saturday, some of the country’s top esports players will be going head-to-head in the form of Manchester Battle Arena and Versus Scotland across five recently released beat ‘em ups, including Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite. Other games in the series include Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, King of Fighters XIV and Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2.

If you want in on the action yourself though then separate tournaments will be running on both Saturday and Sunday across the five featured games, but also Killer Instinct! These tournaments cost £5 to enter with the winner taking away a chunk of the £500 prize pool and they are Bring Your Own Controller, or BYOC for short.


PLAY Expo are going all-in with cosplay this year, offering up an entire section of the floor to all things cosplay and featuring not one but two stages! The stages will host panels, talks, competitions including the Cosplay Masquerade with cash prizes and other live performances from a Cosplay Ballet group. A full timetable of the stages can be found at

There is also a shopping area where you can pick up new props and materials. Something for everyone whether this is your first foray into cosplay or you are looking to complete your next outfit.


Another returning feature for PLAY Expo is their Minecraft area which this year includes a Minecraft themed photo-shoot area.

This will also be their biggest Minecraft zone featuring four different themed areas for you to traverse and explore. There is a standard map with an emphasis on surviving the nights and exploring through the day, alongside a creative map where you can build away to your hearts content.

For the more competitive Minecrafters then there will be a timed Parkour map tasking you to complete the course in the quickest time and my personal favourite, a Hunger Games map with traps and other players to contend with. This will be the one I will be keeping my eyes on over the weekend.

More Ways to Game

PLAY Expo isn’t just about console or PC gaming though, there are lots of other ways to get your game face on. There are three different Escape Rooms designed by the team at Breakout Manchester for you and four of your friend to team together and try and escape, and a whole host of tabletop games to play and even a few CCG tournaments so make sure you bring your swaps.

Confirmed so far are a free Final Fantasy tournament and a paid Yu-Gi-Oh tournament. If you are unsure how to play them then fear not as help will be on hand.

VR is making headways in gaming and hasn’t been ignored here either with a number of PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive setups. My top tip though is to avoid Until Dawn: Rush of Blood at all costs unless you bring some spare underwear! Try the original Lucky’s Tale before the Xbox One X release of Super Lucky’s Tale instead.

If you are more of a traditionalist then you are also in luck as there will be over 100 arcade machines including classics like Mortal Kombat, House of the Dead, Space Invaders and Outrun, and even over 100 pinball machines. There will be a paid-for pinball tournament running the length of the weekend but best of all, all these machines will be free. I’ll be next to the Daytona USA machine shouting “DAYTONAAAAA” at the top of my voice, feel free to join me.


Saving the best news until last but yes, retailers will also be joining the party in Manchester with a whole host of goodies to help you part with your cash. Whether you are looking for retro, current gen, consoles, merchandise or even custom artwork I can personally guarantee there will be something here for everyone. It just may not be there if I see it first.

This is just a small taste of the events taking place at Play Expo, as we have only hand-picked a few activities that Xbox fans will have interest in. But there are a whole host of other events going on including talks and panels from the team at Psygnosis, who were behind such classics and Lemmings and the Wipeout series on PlayStation, and a massive Spectrum Sunday feature which includes a sneak peek of the film Memoirs of a Spectrum Addict followed by a talk of some of the stars of the film.

And finally, the acclaimed interactive game ‘The Dark Room’ will be in Manchester on both the Saturday and Sunday that blurs the lines between comedy and game show and has enjoyed tremendous success as a live show. Tickets are available at just £5 per person but limited numbers per day.

If you are liking the sound of all this then tickets are still available for both days and get be purchased at Purchase in advance and get an extra hour at the event!

PLAY Expo Manchester runs this weekend Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th October. We will have a full rundown of what went on and pictures from the event, but rather than wait for us, why not get yourself down there and see what all the fuss is about?

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