Sunday, 16 June 2013

Interview wih Philip Murphy, the man behind NERG.

Yesterdays post was a write-up regarding the North East Retro Gaming Event, today's post is connected to the event as GameOverYeah presents an interview with the man behind the plan, Philip Murphy.

Hi Philip, can you start by telling us a little bit about NERG?

NERG is the first and biggest retro gaming event that will be held in the North East. As we don't have any exhibition centres, space is limited and I'm restricted to only allowing 900 people in per day. It's being held at Gateshead International Stadium. At the last count, I have amassed 44 pinball machines, 55 arcade machines and 55 home computers/consoles. Even though this is the first event I have ever done, I have managed to secure 5 exclusive(maybe 6) machines which have never been displayed before at a UK event. One thing people don't realise and find hard to believe is that all the machines are free play. You pay your admission price of £15 per day or £25 for the weekend and that's it! You can play as long as the venue is open for free.

What made/inspired you to create NERG?

I got back into retro gaming about 2 years ago when a friend introduced me to an arcade collecting forum. Since then, I've collected arcade/pinball machines and been to numerous events around the country. I was travelling back home from an event in October 2012 when I was thinking/wishing that the North East had an event like it. After a couple of weeks thinking, research and planning, I decided to do it myself. North East Retro Gaming was born on 24th October 2012

What would you say so far has been the biggest achievement of setting up the event?

Wow.....that's a tough one. Primarily, the 5 event exclusives I've managed to secure. The Matrix pinball machine is coming over from Holland. It's a one of a kind machine and has never been on display in the UK
The Angel of retro gaming of the North with the Angel of the North
before. There is the Tron Legacy Limited Edition pinball machine. Only 400 of these were produced. The Wizard of Oz pinball machine was released on May 1st and will be appearing for the first time ever and it's the first pinball machine to contain an LCD screen in the back box. We have a Mad Planets video arcade machine. Only a handful of these are left in Europe. There is a Sharp X68000 home computer which was only ever released in Japan. I may have a 6th exclusive but it's not finalised yet.

I'm really proud about doing the whole thing as I'm doing it on my own. And I've never done it before! I've had to plan, arrange and promote everything. I'm pulling a lot of favours from friends and family also, which range from logo, web, flyer and poster design to photo shoots and actual help and assistance on the day.

On the flip side, what has been the most difficult part of setting up the event?

Promotion and making people aware that this event is taking place. I don't have a track record like other events around the country have. This is brand new and the majority of my time has been spent promoting and convincing people that this event will be worth attending.

Did you have a plan when it came to which machines to have at the event or was it a case of let’s go out and see what we can get?

I needed the support of machine owners before I could even announce the event. Without their support, it just wouldn't be happening. Since the initial announcement and promise of machine loans, I've been approached by others offering machines and it's got to the stage where I've had to turn down offers as I've had that many. It's a great and fortunate position to be in. I've obviously targeted some key favourite machines like Star Wars, Tron, Defender and Space Harrier. Which are all appearing by the way :-)

What machines/consoles are you looking forward to playing?

It has the be The Matrix pinball. This machine doesn't officially exist! The movie has never had a pinball license. The Dutch guys have converted a Johnny Mnemonic pinball machine by changing the artwork, the playfield, the software. Everything! It's a one of a kind! From the videos I've seen, it looks great!

What would you recommend to someone who is attending NERG who is new to the retro gaming scene?

Enjoy the experience and join the many forums out there for retro gamers/collectors. It's a huge community and not restricted to just the 35 to 45 year olds. Many kids/teens love the old school games also. Gaming began in arcades, not the bedroom.

As for yourself, what were your favourite games back in the day?

Phoenix had to be one of my early favourites. Then there was Star Wars and Tron. My first console was an Atari 2600 and on that I played a lot of Space Invaders, Pac Man and Asteroids.

Finally, what does the future hold for NERG?

I believe I've done everything I can to make this one of the best retro gaming events held in the UK. A bold statement, I know. Afterall, I'm new to all this event organising but I'm determined to make it a success but I need people to attend and show their support. If it is a success, NERG will be back yearly :-)

Thanks for your time Philip, much appreciated.

Hope you enjoyed the interview. A huge thanks to Philip for taking the time to answer the questions and remember that you can purchase tickets for the event from

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