Tilburg 2004

by MSX Resource Center on 01-05-2004, 00:20

On the 24th of April, the annual MSX meeting in Tilburg was organised again. On beforehand, there were some doubts about this fair being worth visiting or not, since much controversy had arisen after the Tilburg fair in 2003. Many visitors as well as participants were left unsatisfied in many ways past year and many people feared the same kind of thing would happen again this year.

For me, MSX fairs have always been a reason to party. The day before, that is. When I was still actively participating in Sargon, in the late 1990's, the products that would be released at the fair weren't completely finished yet the day before, as was the case with many other MSX groups. This often resulted in a long night of programming and production activities. When things became quiet around Sargon, I felt some kind of tradition had been born and now I had to look for a reason why I would be extremely tired the next day. The solution was simple: invite a friend and fellow MSX user and just start drinking.

So did I this year. Although I released the English versions of Daiva 4 and 5 at the Tilburg fair, the production process had miraculously been completed the day before the fair. This was on purpose, however, since I had invited Snout to come over the evening before. Exactly the same day I got my drivers licence, so there were enough reasons for a party now.

It had been a long time since I had been MSX-ing with someone else the day before an MSX fair. As a matter of fact I expected Snout and me not doing anything with the MSX at all this evening, but as I promised Snout a demonstration of a game I'm secretly developing and a first row seat for 'John Hassink and Robert Vroemisse in concert' (I presented Snout the many tunes they once composed for the never finished Sargon RPG 'The Curse of Kaijruu'), the MSX was switched on after all. We zealously drank, talked about various things, abused the MSX by booting a Chillsoft production (never heard of it? You'll probably hear of it some time Wink) and it had become four A.M. even before we noticed. Woah, we had to get up at seven the next morning, only three hours left to sleep and process the alcohol!

Surprisingly, we did get up, asking ourselves whether it would be worth the effort or if we'd better stay in bed since Tilburg would be a fair like the one last year. A friend of mine, who helped me very much with the production of Daiva 4 and 5 and studies Japanese in Leiden (like I did), Rene Lourens, joined us and off we went to Tilburg!

After arriving at the Tilburg train station, Latok picked us up with his car. Since I had just acquired my driving licence, Latok proposed I'd drive. Which resulted in a very hilarious ride, but that's a little bit too off-topic Wink.

The fair building wasn't really difficult to find, partly because the organisation had put up the traditional 'MSX' signs to lead visitors to the fair. At the entrance, the names of MRC and Sargon were immediately recognized and we could go on to our booths. MRC and Sargon shared two stands at the upper floor of the building, which actually was the largest room, apart from the entrance floor.

After greeting Sander, who had already arrived (Bart wasn't there since he was too busy becoming a father - congrats eh Bart ;)), we put up our stands and the fair could begin.

One of the most eyecatching aspects of this year's Tilburg was all the promotion that was made for Ebay. The reason was clear: Ebay had sponsored the fair. Probably people at Ebay didn't realize exactly what they were sponsoring, but hey, there were some PC's as well, so who cares...

Like past year, the large hall at the entrance floor was not taken in use. Since the building itself has a somewhat complex structure, I'm now starting to doubt whether there were two or three floors apart from the entrance floor. Anyway, there were a total of twelve groups who had a booth at the fair.

At the entrance floor, the MSX NBNO booth was to be found. Almost at the end of the fair, Mari, chief editor of XSW Magazine, told me the last issue of XSW Magazine was presented at the fair, but to be honest there was given little attention to this. I hadn't noticed until Mari told me. Apart from MSX NBNO, Sunrise was to be found at the entrance floor as well, selling the new game Bombaman by Team Bomba, which was released at the MSX fair in Oss 2004. After the fair, it appeared that the cd included in many copies of Bombaman sold in Tilburg contained a virus and some corrupted files. Sunrise already admitted this was the case and everyone who bought Bombaman in Tilburg will receive a replacement copy for free. You can read everything about this in this forum thread.

Apart from MSX NBNO and Sunrise, some booths with PC hardware and supplies were present at the entrance floor. As was, of course, the smoking corner and the cafeteria, where I drank some beers and smoked some cigarettes together with fellow MSX users.

As I said before, I can't recall how many floors there were in the fair building, but this doesn't really matter since the only floor where new things were to be found was the upper one. On the other floor(s), HCC and MSX Club West-Friesland had a booth, mainly presenting MSX hardware. Totally Chaos was present as well, selling old products. They officially stopped publishing their MSX Info Blad, by the way. The new 'MSX World Wide' magazine was still available, though.

On the upper floor, many original Japanese MSX software was sold by R. Klok. The mystery of the unknown Japanese game of which R. Klok couldn't figure out what the name was, was solved and he told me he sold relatively well. The openMSX team was also present, showing a preview of the version of openMSX that will be released next (v. 0.4.0) and collecting feedback from openMSX users. The stand of the organisers of this fair, CGV, was at the upper floor as well, offering much MSX and PC stuff. Also Delta Soft was present again. They sold their old products (e.g. Xak and Sorcerian English) and they had a pack of Salamander anime bootlegs with them, which sold quite well apparently, since at the end of the fair they were sold out completely. They had also planned the release of Feedback English at this fair, but the translation (by Tsunami) wasn't finished in time. Another Tsunami translation was finished, though, and it was released at the booth next to the Delta Soft booth: the Sargon booth. Here, I released Tsunami's English translation of Daiva Story 4 and 5. Of course, older products (e.g. Firehawk, Hydlide 2 and Randar 1 and 2 English) were available again. These English versions sold relatively well as well.

And last but not least, there was the MSX Resource Center, with whom Sargon shared a booth. Although the MRC didn't organise any special presentation this year, visitors could have a look at the newly developed MSX Game Reader, which had come straight from Japan a few days before the fair. Several cartridges were available to demonstrate this interesting new device and many people came and ask if it was for sale. But unfortunately, it was not (yet).

I cannot estimate how many visitors have visited this year's Tilburg fair, but I don't think it were too many. Judging from the fact that the sales of my English translations went quite well, probably most visitors were really active MSX users. I guess there were almost no visitors with interest in the PC part of the fair.

For me, it was nice to see that so many people still had interest in English game translations. It was a nice day to have chats with known and unknown people since it wasn't really crowded and the MRC staff helped me out by watching my booth while I was away. It was nice to see a couple of faces I hadn't seen for quite some time.

After the fair, we drank a beer with the MRC crew on a terrace (the weather was quite nice) and plans were made to eat together with some other fair visitors, but both Snout and I were too worn out to join them. Snout went back to Groningen, I went back to Leiden and immediately after arriving home, I fell deep asleep.

It had been a nice day.