Video Games Day 2024: Successful Retro Gaming Extravaganza returned to Aberdeen


THIS year’s Video Games Day, held at Pittodrie Stadium, saw record-breaking attendance and a plethora of gaming activities, marking it as the most successful event in its seven-year history. Organised by Chris Plant from Total Entertainment Scotland, the event celebrated the evolution of video gaming with a comprehensive showcase of consoles and games spanning from the 1970s to the present day.

Atari 2600 – Released in 1978 in the UK

The event attracted over 300 enthusiastic participants, a significant increase from its humble beginnings in 2017 when only 100 attendees gathered at the inaugural event at the Crown Plaza Hotel. “Thank you very much to the 327 amazing people who came to Video Games Day today,” said Plant. “Also, a big thank you to William Sellick and his family for all their effort and hard work. Happy to confirm this was our busiest Video Games Day event ever!”

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Video Games Day 2024 featured over 40 gaming setups, including some new additions like virtual reality (VR) experiences, providing attendees with an immersive journey through gaming history. Highlights of the day included six free-to-enter tournaments, a Minecraft room, vintage gaming stations, and ongoing fastest lap and high score competitions. One of the main attractions was the continuous Mario Kart sessions projected on a large screen, drawing both seasoned players and newcomers.

The event also hosted various gaming-themed vendors, offering a range of video games and collectables. The stalls provided a platform for small local businesses, benefiting from the large turnout of gaming enthusiasts.

The controller of the Philips CDi – released in the UK in 1992

Plant shared insights exclusively with Aberdeen Business News, into the origins of Video Games Day, noting its growth from monthly game tournament nights in city bars to a large-scale event requiring a more spacious venue. “I was running game tournament nights once a month around 2015. They grew in popularity, leading to our first Video Games Day on July 1, 2017, with about 15 setups and 100 attendees,” he recounted.

Despite attempts to expand the event into a two-day affair in 2019 and hosting it twice a year, Plant believes the one-day format with annual changes to games and tournaments is most effective. “We completely change all the games and tournaments each year, except for the Mario Kart tournament, which everyone seems to enjoy. I think if we went too big or too often, it would dilute the day.”

Nights into Dreams for the Sega Saturn (1996)

Reflecting on the event’s success, Plant emphasised its inclusive and nostalgic nature. “I think it is a great family event that is affordable for most people and is a full day out. It allows people to try video games and consoles that they might not have the chance to normally and also provides people with nostalgia for the retro consoles from the 80s and 90s.”

” It also brings like-minded people together and shows that playing video games is a social event, something that has been lost in recent years with the emergence of online gaming.”

One of the the event’s attendees, Dan C, from Aberdeenshire, shared his experience “It was a really fun event, took my step-daughter out and we both had a blast playing loads of old-school games that I remember playing as a kid in the 80s and 90s. My daughter entered the Mario Kart Tournament and had a great time. We will definitely have to come back next year!”

Looking ahead, Total Entertainment Scotland has announced future events, including the Aberdeen Card Show and the Aberdeen Toy and Collectables Fair, both set to offer unique experiences for enthusiasts of trading cards and vintage toys.

Video Games Day 2024 has not only highlighted the enduring appeal of video gaming across generations but also reinforced its role in fostering community and supporting local businesses. As the event continues to grow, it promises to remain a staple in Aberdeen’s annual calendar, bringing joy and excitement to gamers of all ages in the North East.

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