Ryton Retro Games Event


What’s that? Another massive gaming event in Gateshead? Yes, please.

The Grapple Arcade via VultureHound Magazine sat down with David Kirkland, founder and organiser of the very first Ryton Retro games event at Ryton Hall (Old Masonic Hall) to chat about old games, Mr. Perfect and what to expect on May 26th.

“It’s a retro gaming event for all ages (U16’s must be accompanied by an adult) featuring arcade machines, retro consoles, pinball machines, merchandise stands and a FIFA knockout tournament!”

We’re no strangers to arranging and promoting and when it comes to organising an event such as this, it tends to be due to a passion, nostalgia and a story. David discussed his.

“Long story short. When I was on holiday in Australia with my parents, just a kid, I remember going to this arcade hall and completing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (with the help of my Mam I must admit) and I totally fell in love with the place. I went there every night for about a week. There’s something special about retro machines and I’m at an age now where I can appreciate all things retro. It’s about time we celebrated the things that remind us of some of the best times of our youth! Who doesn’t love reminiscing about old games, movies and music? That’s what the event is all about but also a chance for parents to show their kids what they missed out on!”

For those of you unaware of Ryton, it’s a small village situated in the borough of Gateshead. So what is it about Ryton, more specifically Gateshead, that’s attracting large gaming events?

We’re a couple of months away from the North East Retro Gaming (NERG) annual event, and with Ryton Retro now hitting the scene, this surely must make Gateshead the retro games capital of the North East.

GA “So why Ryton David?”

“I’ve been fortunate to travel and work all over the world but I’m from Ryton originally and moved back there with my wife to raise our family three years ago. It’s a lovely village just outside of the city centre with a great community, but unfortunately, there isn’t a lot going on. I’m actually a coach for Ryton Boxing Club and asked a few of the parents and some of the lads that train about putting on this event and every single one said it sounded awesome.

“This event is about giving back to the community and providing a fun and safe environment for everyone who has bought a ticket. I know for a fact there’s going to be lots of people who haven’t seen each other in a while which is just fantastic. I actually took my nephews to NERG last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. There is definitely a market for retro events if done correctly. I’ve never spoken to anyone from NERG but if they are reading this I’ll defo be buying a ticket for this year’s event!”

The Grapple Arcade have been invited to be a featured attraction at Ryton Retro (hmm), and whilst we’re looking forward to playing wrestling games with the public, we want to play arcade games, lots of arcade games.

GA “What can attendees expect to see, do and play at Ryton Retro?”

“Where do I start!? We will have a mixture of some of the greatest arcade games of all time as well some awesome pinball machines for attendees to play. As well as this we have a lounge area which will host our FIFA comp on the big screen in the morning, followed by multiplayer GoldenEye on the N64.”

“We will also have a selection of retro consoles for people to jump on and take a trip down memory lane. If people want to take a break from the machines they can check out the quality merchandise stalls that will be setting up and grab a few bargains I’m sure.

“If they just want to rest their fingers for a bit, Ryton Retro has its own designated bar area which will be open all day! All of this inside one of Ryton’s oldest buildings which will be transformed into a retro den covered in nostalgic artwork and accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack! And of course, the Grapple Arcade team will be in the house!

“I’m looking forward to seeing people’s reaction to the Star Wars Pod, and I’m looking forward to playing on the Turtles of course!”

David has been tight-lipped about the machines on offer. He truly wants to keep an element of surprise and whilst he has teased his followers on social media with screenshots and images of Mortal Kombat, Star Wars Pod Racer, Aliens Extermination and Shaq-Fu (seriously), the Grapple Arcade team have spent the best part of two days, trying to figure out which machines we’d love to play.
In no particular order we finally agreed on The Simpsons, Sunset Riders and WrestleFest. On that note we asked David about his favourite wrestling game of all time.

“Royal Rumble for the SNES. Curtis Henning is my favourite wrestler of all time and I would wipe the floor with anyone as Mr Perfect.”

If that doesn’t sound like a direct challenge, then I don’t know what does. If David somehow manages to survive the absolute pasting he will undoubtedly receive on any wrestling game at the hands of the Grapple Arcade crew, we couldn’t help but inquire about his long term plans with regards to the Ryton Retro event.

“I’ve already sold enough tickets to cover costs and if all goes to plan, I will 100% be doing it again. I’ve really enjoyed organising Ryton Retro and hopefully everyone in attendance has a great time. Long term plan is to go to a bigger venue, have more machines, more stalls, celebrity guests, retro cars out front that kind of thing. I’ve got loads of ideas and I’m fortunate to have some brilliant contacts but I know I’ve got to be sensible and just see how this one goes first. I’ve not really tapped into the cosplay audience so maybe that’s something to think about next year.

“I must say a huge thank you to Pixel Arcades in Blaydon for all their help and support as well Smuggling Duds clothing, DJW electrics and Game Under. For everyone attending, I promise you will have a great time. Our FIFA comp winner gets cash, signed memorabilia, clothes and Nintendo goodies but we are doing something nobody has ever done in the form of anyone who buys a ticket, automatically gets put in to a draw where the first prize is a £650 bar top arcade and second place is a Commodore 64 mini! Not bad for just buying a ticket.”

For more information about Ryton Retro and for general enquiries, you can reach the team via the following social media handles:
Twitter @retroryton
Facebook Ryton Retro
For tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ryton-retro-retro-gaming-event-tickets-44599467207

The Grapple Arcade run live retro wrestling games events around the U.K.
For further information or for general booking enquires, you can make contact via:
Twitter @grapplearcade
Facebook thegrapplearcade