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Computer Fairs, did you go? What did you get?


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I was reminded of computer fairs yesterday. They were all over the place selling spindles of 100 CDs, pirate PlayStation games, Bloggo's Pow and all that. 

 

But I Remember one guy selling a very elaborate contraption for various makes and models of inkjet printers. It was an ink cartridge that had tubes coming out of it. Each tube went towards an elaborate rack which had 4 bottles of ink. Maybe a pint each. You would never have to buy ink for your printer again. 50 lifetimes supplies of ink for 30 quid. never saw one anywhere else and often wondered if it actually worked. 

 

So what are your memories of the computer fairs? Did you buy anything?

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I did enjoy going to the ones that appeared in Hove every month or so.

I think the biggest purchase I got from there was a Gainward 9600GT. Amusingly, it's saved my computers on multiple occasions when other graphics cards failed (including a DOA GTX 460), and is now currently sat in a friend's PC - funnily enough, the same PC that's now gone through two households, after the GTX 460's replacement (a 6850) finally gave up the ghost from years of abuse.

Conversely, I also bought an IBM Deskstar Hard Drive. That... did not have the same stellar track record.

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We went to one or two but I never picked out anything insane - usually it was just Adobe or Macromedia software that would typically cost hundreds of pounds, or maybe the occasional PC shooter. Sometimes you'd find that the installers wouldn't work or that things weren't burned correctly, but everything was so cheap that you told yourself it wasn't a big deal. I think there was one visit where I bought what I thought was Max Payne 1 - it wouldn't install on my PC without errors, but there was a second unmarked disc with it that contained Serious Sam, so it wasn't a total loss. :P I don't think I ever really picked up hardware though; I was happy enough finding applications for my existing box.

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I used to work for someone who did computer fairs, would very often be found at the one in Norwich Sports Village ( went for a date with a girl from one of the other stalls in the city at the visiting funfair ) , Ipswich ( can't remember the exact location ) and we even had a run for about a year of doing one in the Isle of Wight every month, nice little trip down in the van, over on the ferry, night in the hotel ( bar tab on the bosses account, thank you very much ) and then a day of selling toot before heading back home.

 

They were quite a good laugh from the other side of the counter, pay was crap, but it was just something different, we'd often be the only ones there with any console stuff, import Dreamcasts were a thing as it hadn't hit these shores yet, random figures and merch, plus tables and tables of big box PC games, with of course all the usual CD spindles, burners, badly made PC's etc.

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My first Dreamcast (2nd photo) was from a computer fair. With a copy of THPS. £100.
 

We’d go for bundles, motherboard, cpu, and ram. SO MUCH RAM! And get anything else that took our fancy. Graphics cards, consumables, stacks of floppies, originally, followed by the move to blank CDs (of the 800mb variety), and the bacon sandwiches. £5 for a copy of Windows 98. £18 for a legit copy of Windows 98. 

 

And so many kb+m. Either we were burning through them, or they were not great to start with.

 

i met the wife when I built a pc for her. A few bits came from a computer fair for that. Mostly SCAN, in case we had to return anything,, but a few things. Like the “AMD Instead” sticker on the full tower case (1st photo), and those speakers.
 


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Tell a lie, the “amd instead“ sticker was on a different machine. The one with the swappable (ide) hdd caddy. Just because we could. That was the other thing. Cases with side windows and LED fans. That’s not a new thing. Computer fairs would often carry unusual items. First time I ever saw a cpu heatsink that wasn’t square?

 

Computer fair.

 

first time I saw a case that wasn’t there?

 

Computer fair.

 

whats that name!?!

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The most significant thing i picked up from a computer fair was Streetfighter II  (USA import) for the Snes and one of these!

 

 

SNESC.jpg 

 

The catch being?  I didn't own a Snes when i bought them :)   -  well I didn't own a Snes for about 2 hours after I bought them :lol:

 

199.99 pounds later  ( Plus 70 quid for Streetfighter II and the Convertor )   and i was transported to the FUTURE...
Then i got educated about how i should buy a USA Snes to get the full experience.  So a few months later i did a straight swap ( plus a 20 quid handling fee.. :rolleyes: )

from a local importer.   

 

Bloody computer fairs! haha

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I used to love micro fairs and mostly came away with a few games and dozens of posters and carrier bags. 

 

The later computer fairs you're talking about; I've only been to a couple, but I did buy my first Neo Geo Pocket Colour at one. Brand new and the guy was able to get new games too so I stayed in touch with him and bought a couple but he was only really interested in selling in bulk. Wish I'd had the money at the time to buy a big library of games from him as they were relatively cheap. This was around the time they were being cleared out as it was a bit of a flop over here.

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The big ones, like the one they did up in Ally Pally were pretty good. Chatted to Jeff Minter on the Llamasoft stand, bought a CM8833 monitor and a copy of Dungeon Master. Not from Jeff - did buy an Atari mouse mat off him...

 

But even the big shows like PCW would have a bunch of stalls around the edge.

 

Used to buy cheap PC and ST games from the box shifters.

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3 hours ago, smac said:

The big ones, like the one they did up in Ally Pally were pretty good. Chatted to Jeff Minter on the Llamasoft stand, bought a CM8833 monitor and a copy of Dungeon Master. Not from Jeff - did buy an Atari mouse mat off him...

 

But even the big shows like PCW would have a bunch of stalls around the edge.

 

Used to buy cheap PC and ST games from the box shifters.

 

oh god! same! Right down to chatting to Jeff.

 

one of pally shows was when I bought my clear Competition Pro 9000. A stick I never actually got on with. As it was far too stiff

 

before that  there used to be a commodore show at Novotel in Hammersmith. Waste of time, as a C16 owner, but I did get a copy of Reach for the Sky.

 

 

 

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Yeah, I used to love computer fairs. Bought cases, CD writers, graphics cards, all sorts of bits and bobs.

 

 

 Probably my favourite thing I picked up was my “shite inside” case badge! Still got that on a defunct tower in the loft.

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First week of university at Liverpool in 2000, went to the Students Guild and there was a computer fair in the whole building on the weekend. Bought a Voodoo 3 PCI board and a NEO GEO emulator CD, installed the card then played Pulstar for ages. Realising that I didn't really need the graphics card at all as I wouldn't be playing too many games with it. Still fun to switch from the onboard graphics to the card. 

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Qite a few of us used to go to one in Stratford, near the bus and train station. Was in some sort of community hall if i remember correctly.

 

Probably some of my fondest memories were in that pace, going almost every week regardless if there was anything to buy or not. overall though we probably built about half a dozen computers using bits sourced from there plus numerous upgrades; RAM, cases, motherboards, hard drives, the lot. Got to know quite a few of the traders too  which gave it a nice atmosphere.

 

When consoles happened used to go and get playstations chipped from there, had quite a nice side racket at school charging about a tenner extra than the chap in the fair would. Didn't get into pirate games as much as we had someone else for that but was nice when some of the random imports would show up and was exposed to quitea few more games that way. One guy also specialised in martial arts DVDs so would spend loads of time chatting and looking through his selection.

 

Haven't been for several years and I hope its still there and wasn;t consumed when the Stratford Westfield was built and opened, was a place that will always host great memories.

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