A Look Back at Pixel Heaven 2023

A Look Back at Pixel Heaven 2023

The Polish Pop Culture Festival took place from 26–28 May in a former printing plant in Warsaw. As an official media partner, we from Microzeit were present for the first time and presented our publishing programme between densely packed stands and crowds.

In the last 10 years, what is said to be the biggest pop culture festival in Poland has gained a lot of interest and has been able to attract more and more well-known exhibitors and sponsors. In addition to other retro book publishers and merchandising, such as Retronics, Bitmap Books and Kreatorium, the Warsaw Film School, the local computer museum or game studios, such as Flying Wild Hog, added playable information stands to the usual trade fair clutter. An important part of the exhibition was devoted to elaborate table and board games on fantasy and sci-fi topics. There were also artfully framed pixel pictures made of wood, T-shirts, mugs and, last but not least, lots of new PC games to try out. 


In an annexe room, one could discover homemade cartridges for the Atari XL/XE or C64. The dealer even had modules for the ST and Jaguar. By the way, this was the only Atari STE I could find there: completely refurbished for about 220 euros. Remarkable was also the helpfulness of some of the visitors, who immediately began to translate simultaneously when you can't get any further with English.

The organisers and promoters from Eurogamer.pl, the Centre for Creative Development and trade magazines Pixel and PSX Extreme made every effort to create a varied programme for all age groups. There were classic pinball machines from the '80s and '90s in competition (e.g. Terminator 2) and a fast-paced Tetris tournament that once again showed how deeply Alexei Paschitnow's classic is still in gamers' hearts today. In addition to an Arcade corner with the original Stars Wars machine, an 8/16-bit zone fired up the old boxes from Commodore, Amstrad, Sinclar and Atari with pixels and thrilled young and old.

The dome-shaped, light-filled rooms opened the stage for another section with lots of merch and offered international presenters the opportunity for live retrospectives and talk shows.

VIP guests included Simon Butler (ex-Ocean), David J. Pleasance (ex-Commodore) and Dan Wood (Retro Hour podcast). And there are never enough game industry veterans, so Mike Dailly (Psygnosis, Lemmings), Jim Bagley (Ocean) or Robert Jaeger, who decoded Montezuma's Revenge for the numerous Atari XL fans here, made an appearance. 

The Polish guests could not complain about the lack of national specialities. For example, there was a presentation on the importance of Polish pixel artists in the '90s. Finally, this year's winners had to be honoured with the Pixel Awards Europe 2023: a main agenda of the sponsor Intel.

Evening entertainment was also provided: bands like KATOD shone with guitar-heavy EDM and supplied the numerous retro ears with C64 Moog sounds and analogue synthesiser tapestries. Jon Hare (ex-Sensible Software) put on a ravishing groove performance with a band formation and legendary tracks. After the announced Norwegian metal band FastLoaders had cancelled, the Polish formation ARMIA was ready to rock the house at the Remont Club.

For three days, we from Microzeit held sales and technical talks and met many interesting people, including long-standing customers and producers. For culinary sustenance, there were several food trucks offering something for every palate, from Mexican to Dutch, Polish, Greek and American.

A well-rounded affair! We were very pleased with the interest and enjoyed every moment, so we would be happy to come to Warsaw again.

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