JagFest UK 2006
* Date: 27-29 October 2k6
* Location: Warrington, Great Britain
At 4 o clock I woke up, and realised, that I was already late. I
thought: "Dammed, not missing the airplane again (like at NAS,
earlier in 2006)". So I rushed to the airport as fast as
possible and I hope someone will blow up those speed cams on my
way before they fetch the film. I felt really relieved, after I
got my boarding pass and when I saw the long queue waiting in
front of the security check in I was happy that I didn't arrive
earlier just to wait ages in that queue. Of course I was the
last passenger who passed the security check and also the last
one to board the plane but at least I didn't miss it.
In Standsted I got the one and only train to London. When I
arrived at the booking terminal in London I was shocked by the
price of my ticket to Manchester. 56 UKP, what the hell? The
clerk at the ticket counter seemed to be on the edge due to my
reaction on the ticket price and so I decided to pay it quickly
before he may decide to refuse to sell it to me. I ran for the
train and just before the doors closed I sneaked in. It has to
be said that apart from the high cost I never had any troubles
with the UK railway and so I enjoyed the ride like usual.
In Manchester I was picked up by some friendly Jaguar Sceners
(MugUK and Slick). They didn't dare to park their car in
Manchester for some odd reason, so it was a little adventure to
get to them. I guess they feared someone might "pimp their ride"
when he discovers the little sticker which shows a guy in a LFC
shirt pissing onto a Manchester United shirt :)
When we arrived at the party location - a country hotel in
Warrington - there were already about 20 people enjoying Jaguar
stuff. After a quick look around, I positively identified
Felice, CiH, Nick Harlow, Linkowitch, Gaztee, Steve Moss, the
beast of the southeast, his brother and Mark from the Cheshunt
Computer Club ( http://ccc.atari.org/ ).
Unfortunately I didn't bring my Falcon, but as I mentioned
before, I was in some kind of rush when I left home and so I
talked a lot with Felice after saying hello to everyone. Besides
showing me some Dreamcast stuff, Felice also managed to give me
the Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2, that gwEm had purchased for me
A bit later I went on a shopping tour at Nick Harlow's desk. Of
course I couldn't resist some of the famous bargains from Nick's
treasure chest. Some old Retro Gamer CDs and a double feature
Bitmap Brothers box with Speedball 2 and Cadaver had already
relieved my purse to some degree when I noticed an exclusive
JFUK release from the corner of my eye. It was a boxed demo of
Iron Soldier, which contained more sounds than usual. Afraid to
return with an empty wallet I didn't even asked how much it
would have been...
Steve Moss showed me his latest project: A PSX controller for
the Jaguar or Falcon. How will that work? Well, you take a plain
PSX controller. Then you get rid of the electronics inside and
replace them with Steve's PCB. Afterwards you are ready to use
the modified controller with either the Jaguar or your Falcon.
It features the analogue mini-stick as well as one of the
vibrators. I can't wait to get one of those for my Falcon...
While the PSX controller sounded really exiting it was topped by
the number one attraction of JFUK 2006: The Jaguar VR helmet
which was bought for an insane price from eBay by gaztee. He
told me his intention was to show the system in public, and so
he was happy to get it finally despite the price. It was really
exiting to wear the VR helmet. I had read so much about it, but
I never thought I would be wearing one on my head.
I played "Missile Command" with the helmet which was a bit
uncoordinated in the beginning since I had to get used to handle
the pad and the helmet at once. However, after a while you
forget the pad in your hands, and dive completely into the VR
world of the game. It was a great experience, really. I think
the whole retro community should thank gaztee for obtaining this
fine piece of hardware and making it accessible to everybody.
Completely unnoticed by myself Daeghnao had arrived and I was
stunned to see her repairing some old Atari ST machines. I have
to admit it was the first time I saw a female achieving such a
task, respect! Besides working on hardware she also told me,
that she spends a lot of time on the Gamebase ST project.
Because she also manages Linux user meetings I hope that one day
there will be a Gamebase ST version for non M$ systems.
The next real event was a gaming competition on the Atari
Jaguar. The beast of the southeast choose Gorf as the compo
game, maybe because not many people know this game. This way it
was a new new experience for most of us. As usual I played quite
well and achieved 2nd place. My price were six bottles of apple
cider. I was quite surprised that there are alcoholic drinks in
the UK which are made of apples. Anyway, I tasted one of them
and I think I have to drink more of it on my next visit to UK.
It seems the western part of England is what "Hessen" (my home
area) is in Germany: Country of apples.
(cxt: Let's go for some history lesson here :) In fact, when the
Romans arrived in England around 55 BC they found local
villagers drinking a cider-like beverage made from apples. So it
seems apple cider has a long tradition in the UK)
Until the evening, we continued talking and gaming on various
machines. Steve Moss delighted me with a gruesome lesson in
"Worms" just before I participated in a "Madball" session on the
Later in the evening a bus picked us up and brought us to a
Chinese restaurant. We had a nice buffet with all kind of
Chinese food accompanied by German beer :) After an extended
supper we went to a local pub and enjoyed the sight of some
"interesting" local women. I swear that's one of the highlights,
JFUK is famous for all over the world ;) When the bus drove us
back to the country hotel in Warrington everybody was really
The European summer time ended during that night, so we were
happy to get a bonus hour of sleep, which was extremely lucky
for me because this way I didn't miss the breakfast. Just for
the record: I wasn't - I repeat: I wasn't - the last one to
appear in the breakfast hall. However the hotel staff wasn't
prepared for so many guests it seemed. There was a noticeable
shortage of eggs and I had to wait - like what seemed like an
eternity - for my "complete" English breakfast. In the end it
looked a bit less complete than what was served to my neighbours
but it was all tasty. Today seemed to start much better and more
relaxed than yesterday.
After breakfast we went back to the party room and blew
ourselves up by participating in the Worms competition.
Linkowitch let me win the first round and so I went straight to
the final. There I stood no chance, but I had a lot of fun
nonetheless. In the end I somehow managed to obtain the 3rd
place which was rewarded with a nice certificate.
Now that I had discovered my love for Worms I simply had to buy
Steve's multitap which was quite expensive but worth the money
nonetheless as I found out at home a lot later. On my way out I
decided to purchase a JFUK party t-shirt and Mark of CCC took me
back to the airport in Stansted. Unfortunately we went from one
traffic jam into the other, and in the end I missed my plane.
Faced with the choice of either spending the night at the
airport or paying another 50 UKP I decided to chose the latter
and the woman at the ticket counter was so surprised by my
immediate response that she took a sheet of paper and wrote a
pound sign followed by a five and a zero showed it to me and
asked again. Since I had no intentions of sleeping at the
airport I simply acknowledged the purchase and went back to the
check-in-counter. The guy in front of me seemed to have missed
his plane as well, and he was arguing and complaining a lot. The
girls at the check-in used my case as prime example how to
handle such a case and I smiled a bit sheepish since I knew this
smile had a price tag of 50 UKP on it.
Before I was allowed to pass the security check I was robbed of
three tubes of toothpaste and a brand new deodorant which went
into the trash bin. It seems there are some stupid anti-terror
laws which aims at eliminating terrorism with bad smelling
armpits and bad teeth. Despite that loss I was really happy,
when I finally collapsed onto my seat.
During the ride home from the airfield, I relaxed more and more.
This trip had been a real adventure and I guess next year I will
make better arrangements for my trip. However one thing is
crystal clear, next JFUK is mine.
o Cidre rulez
o Women are capable of repairing ST's
o Gorf rocks
o Worms is much cooler with Steve Moss's MultiTap Interface
o British trains are good but expensive
o British motorways are also ok, but there are also a lot of
traffic jams, even on Sunday
o A full English breakfast could also contains mushrooms. But
you need at least eggs
o English sandwiches are the best
o There is a flight back home from Standsted at 21.30
kRadD for Alive, 2006-11-05