Pixel Heaven 2022
Another edition of Pixel Heaven took place! It can be described as a game festival taking place this time in a building that looks like it was taken out of games. There are two possibilities. Either you know exactly what type of events these are, or you would like to read a quick outline from me and start exploring further 😀
Pixel Heaven is an event whose roots reach, on the one hand, the demoscene and our beloved eight-biters, and on the other – the iconic magazines published in this era for players. The latter is mainly because today’s “PIXEL” magazine (not to be confused with the English-language “Pixel addict”) is mostly created by the creators of the legendary nineties’ magazines, such as Secret Service and Top Secret. Over time, Pixel Heaven has evolved from an event focusing on universally understood retro to a game festival in general – with particular attention to the memory of retro games and indie games. Part of the event is the Pixel Awards ceremony – best art, gameplay, audio, story, special awards “big bang!”, “Indie grand prix”, “big fish grand prix”, “Warsaw excellence” (due to the patronage of the Mayor of Warsaw) and finally the ones closest to my heart – “retro roots” and “indie grand prix” 🙂
How big is it?
This year, the festival was visited by over 6,500 people, breaking the popularity records so far! I would like to express my hope that if the organizers had anticipated such popularity, the main lecture room would have some, preferably decent ventilation … But what is a return to the past, if it is not the memories of the men’s locker room after PE?
A record number of 153 games were also submitted to the nominated categories.
You could see and meet fantastic guests such as Éric Chahi (creator of Another World), Jordan Mechner (creator of Karateka and Prince of Persia!), Martyn Brown (founder of Team17), and David Pleasance (former director of Commodore UK).
In addition to the cinema and lecture hall, with more happily situated stands, there was also (not obvious to find, unfortunately) a large market tent, with miracles and wonders in it! That is…
What besides the lectures?
For me, what could be found in the small “expo hall” was at least as interesting as the official points of the program. First, you could interact with real copies of gaming machines from each era since the turn of the 70s and 80s up, be it computer or console.
The hall was half filled with stands with Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amigami, Atari, there was even one Amstrad CPC6128 connected to the Unitra Neptun MTVC 557 TV set, a large and massive box of which stood in many showrooms at the beginning of the nineties (I remember another Neptune model from your childhood). Many of them were attracted as curiosities, many of them were actively played – both adults warmed up memories or learned something new, me and the next generation discovered games from years ago. It is noteworthy that good games from years ago attract kids and today – it’s not about graphical possibilities, about millions of polygons, or even about thousands of animated pixels (although it’s hard not to admit that smoothness helps) – good the idea and “playability” defend themselves timelessly.
Many positions also had something of the stock exchange – traders can still offer us the truest add-ons, cartridges, and game cartridges. I’ve been hunting particularly through the ones for the SNES or Game Boy Advance, but nothing has awakened in me a sufficiently big urge to buy. These are, unfortunately, expensive souvenirs today. Do you remember neighborhood cartridge rentals …?
Finally, a lot of accessories related to all games – be it the ever-alive Super Mario and Zelda, or the latest Fortnights. If you’re able to play something for days on end, someone is sure to sell the right “merch” already.
To be honest, its subject matter can lie anywhere away from games – T-shirts with “funny” inscriptions, from cult movies, or the largest shop with Pusheen mascots in Poland – all this had its worthy representation.
Fun fact: Did you know that the character animation of Prince of Persia, which was impressive for many years after its premiere, was created by the hand-drawn “motion capture” of recordings of Jordan Mechner’s brother doing all these stunts?