It is finally time for the summary of the Underdog Chamber 2007, that ran at the Midwest Gaming Classic on June 9-10th. I’m going to go over each system here, along with its ranking in popularity and comments from me.
Note: Ranks are represented here by Green and Yellow bars. Longer bars = more popular systems/games, short bars = less popular.
Green is ‘play’ interest, where people actually sat down and used the system.
Yellow is ‘casual’ interest, where someone took more than a glance at the system, but made no attempt to use it or ask questions about it.
Summary of system rankings for the UC ’07:
Apple Macintosh LAN (Quake)
Apple IIgs – The Underdog of the Apple computers, at least that is how I see it. Apple let this computer die a slow horrible death, and the Apple IIe was the actual last Apple II to be manufactured. This computer was setup with an external hard drive, along with a small selection of 5.25 and 3.5 discs based games. The IIgs did reasonable well for the UC ’07 show, but the vast majority of people played the feature game that I put up, which was Arkanoid II. Most show attendees that saw this game recognized it on sight, at least those into the old Apple computers. I did get a request for a few other older games, like Crisis Mountain, but Arkanoid II was the hands down winner for this system. I may bring it back next year, but if so, will try to show off different games. I am undecided at this point if it is coming back in 2008.
Arcadia 2001 – A definite Underdog console if ever there was one. This system, as with last year, got the least amount of attention in the UC area overall. It was not terrible, it just did not get very much attention. The main game played here was Funky Fish, along with some Jump Bug requests. I do not plan on bringing this system back for some years now.
Astrocade (Bally) – This contender from the late 70’s just couldn’t compete with the Atari 2600, and lost out before the video game crash of ’84. However, this year it did rather well in my area, with about half of the people that played it remembering it from their childhood. People played The Incredible Wizard, Gunfight, Galaxian, and a few others off of the multi-cart I have for this system. I would have to say that Gunfight got the most use, as many friends gave the system a try, and liked playing a game that was two-player!
Atari 7800 – The Atari 7800, a true underdog in the Atari line of game systems, did very well for a so-called new display in the Underdog Chamber. With the help of the Cuttle Cart 2, people had the chance to play with the entire library of games for this system. Games that got a decent amount of play were: Asteroids, Centipede, Dig Dug, Joust, Ms. Pac-Man, Ninja Golf, and TitleMatch Pro Wrestling. I got a decent amount of questions about the Cuttle Cart 2 as well, and the video on the system (updated by Kamino) was rather nice. This system, however, will probably not be back in 2008. Main reason is that I want to show the 5200 next year, and these systemw are too close in their game library.
Intellivision – The world’s first true 16-bit video game system was the 2nd most popular thing in the UC area this year, as it was last year as well. The Intellivision, even though an underdog, is enjoyed by many game players – many of which remember it from years ago. I got a lot of interest in the Cuttle Cart 3 I was using to run almost the entire library of games for this system. People where just amazed that you could get over 100+ games on a cart, and I was happy to point out that it is currently for sale – but for a limited time only – just search through Google for Cuttle Cart 3 to find it! Popular games for the Intellivision were: Astrosmash, Burgertime, Demon Attack, River Raid, Shark! Shark!, and Tron Deadly Discs. Burgertime was the hands down winner of these game! As for 2008, I am still leaning towards having this system at the show, as it does so well each year.
Odyssey2 – The true American underdog of the late 70’s and early 80’s, this system was running games alongside its European counterparts – the G7200 and G7400. While the Odyssey2 didn’t do incredible well, it faired better than the Apple IIgs, and it got a lot more people actually playing games on it than it did last year. The most played games for the Odyssey2 were Attack of the Time Lord, Frogger (most likely because it is something many people recognize), K.C. Munchkin, Pick Axe Pete, Puzzle Piece Panic (cool homebrew game), and the pre-release demo of Tutankham. Note that I may bring this back in 2008, but may downscale the display from what I had this year (which was pretty big).
Philips G7200 – This Europe version of the Odyssey2 with a small built-in black and white screen did reasonable well in my area. I’ll have to admit that I was surprised by the attention it did get, which included a decent amount of people sitting down and playing games on it – most notably Frogger and Puzzle Piece Panic. The only sad thing here is that the system developed a hardware problem on Sunday, and is out of commission for now. I hope I can get it fixed!
Philips G7400 – The Europe version of the unreleased Odyssey3 here in the States did okay in the Underdog Chamber this year – much better than last year. Part of this was probably the way I had the Odyssey2/Philips games setup – right in front of my area with some large cardboard stands displaying various Odyssey promotional material and the like. (Thanks to Marty for the Pick Axe Pete material.) Best part for this G7400 was that it had the Voice module built in (thanks RenÃ©), which helped show of some Voice games, as I did not bring the Voice for the Odyssey2. Popular games for this system are listed under the Odyssey2, with some of them playing with the ‘+’ graphics backgrounds on the G7400.
Timex/Sinclair 1500 (T/S 1000, ZX81) – This system was back again for 2007 with a new digitized part of the original aluminum iPod Nano commercial, running with wonderful black and white graphics on a 1MHz system with no sound. This system did not do as well as it did last year, mainly because there were less Japanese groups and those who remember the old Timex/Sinclair computers. Of the two Japanese groups that came through, they loved the thing! And, even though it didn’t get tons of attention this year, those that did give it a good look took some type of photograph or video of it! I am not sure if this will return in 2008 – put it in the ‘maybe’ category.
Apple Macintosh LAN – I had six Classic Macintosh computers running Quake this year, which celebrates its 10th year on the Mac. Quake was originally release in 1997 by Macsoft, who ported it from Windows which had their version release in 1996. I won’t deny that I was rather amazed at the popularity of this game. A few hours after the show opened on Saturday, after gamers had a chance to buy things in the selling area, the Quake LAN was swamped with people. This game ran virtually the entire show, with very little breaks in the action, all the way up to closing time on Sunday at 5pm! This game setup also marks the first time I can recollect someone thanking me for bringing in a LAN game that they enjoyed! As for next year, it is very probable that Quake will return, but that is not 100% certain. I may try to have the OS X version next year (it was OS 9 for this year), if I can get the newer OS to run well on these older systems. I am also thinking of doing another game that is based off of the original Quake game engine, such as Hexen II. Time will tell…
And that is it for my summary, ratings, and comments on the Underdog Chamber ’07 exhibit. It was a very, very busy time, but it was fun as well. Here’s to march 2008, when the UC area should make its return once again from the recesses of my basement!
And, one last time, thanks again to Erica and Greg for helping me run the Underdog Chamber. Without them, this whole thing would not have been possible!