Archive for April, 2008

Midwest Gaming Classic ’08 photo gallery

Friday, April 25th, 2008

A month late, but I finally got the MGC ’08 photo gallery up in my blog. Check it out!

Decent amount of photos, that covers most of the MGC show from this year (in part thanks to Erica).

Enjoy!

Overview of the Underdog Chamber ’08

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

I finally got a little time to write, so I’m posting the summary for the Underdog Chamber 2008, which ran at the Midwest Gaming Classic on March 29th and 30th. I will cover each system that was on display, with a ranking of popularity and comments from myself.

Note: Ranks again are represented by the Green bars. Longer equals more popular, simple as that. Unlike last year though, the ranking are based on loose observation, as I got tired of being more attendant to what people were playing this year.

Unlike last year, I’m lumping the ranks into one, rather than ‘play’ vs. ‘casual’ interest. Not as detailed, but it took less time for me to observe this, and I was too busy this year to care otherwise.

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Summary of system rankings for the UC ’08:
Apple Macintosh LAN running Quake
Play
Atari 5200
Play
Gamecube
Play
Intellivision
Play
Odyssey2
Play
Vectrex
Play

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Play
Apple Macintosh LAN – For 2008, I had seven classic Macintosh computers running Quake, which celebrated its 11th year on the Mac (Quake was released for the Mac in 1997). As expected, the Quake LAN did remarkable well, and got lots of use during the entire show. There seemed to be a better mixture of people playing this year, as I didn’t get too many complaints about other players being too good at the game. We (Erica, Greg and myself) let the game play itself more this year, realizing that once it is running, people can just come in and out of the game, and that it restarts sessions on its own. There were a few more OS 9 crashes this year, and one full LAN crash, but besides those minor speed bumps, it went rather well. Only sad thing is that I’m not bringing Quake back for 2009! I want a different game for the next two years, possible still Hexen II (based off the Quake II game engine). Plus I will probably bump up the LAN to eight Macs next year!

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Play
Atari 5200 – This was the first year I had the Atari 5200 in the UC area. It did fairly well, but not as good as I expected. Part of the issue was people messing with the multi-cart, and partly due to the lack of good working controllers. This made what I had setup harder to deal with, as you basically needed two controllers to start and then play the games. I tried pushing trackball games, but most people were not interested in those. One guy on Sunday really got a kick out of 5200 Kaboom!, which seemed to be the highlight of his weekend (and I was more than happy providing the experience for him). I may bring back the 5200 for 2009, but only if I can get some JAMMA made for this system, with some help from Marty!

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Play
Gamecube– For once, I finally put a much more modern underdog system into the UC display. I got enough comments about why it was there, but those folks just don’t understand that the Gamecube is truly an underdog, like it or not. It was in third place during its time, and that is and underdog! I was fully planning on running a variety of games on the Gamecube, but I ended up running Burnout 2 all day Saturday, and FX Zero on Sunday, and this was more than enough for people coming into the Underdog area. The Cube was by far the favorite console system for 2008, and it will return again next year.

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Play
Intellivision – America’s first 16-bit video game system returned once again to the UC area for 2008. It received a good amount of play this year, but not as much as it did last year. People seemed put off by the numeric keypad and getting games started. I guess the people at the show where more new people this year than last, as that seemed to be the issue. I may pull this system out for a year, as I’ve had it in the UC show since 2006. Again, thanks for the Cuttle Cart 3 for letting people play whatever game they wanted to.

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Play
Odyssey2 – Unlike last year, the Odyssey2 did not receive the kind of attention I would have hoped for in 2008. Yes, it got some decent play time, but it sat idle a little too often. The one good thing this year was that there were at least 1/2 dozen people that sat down and wanted to talk about the Odyssey 2 in general, and this is a rare thing for this true underdog system from the late 70’s and early 80’s. This alone made it worth it to continue to bring my favorite underdog system to the show, as I will every year!

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Play
Vectrex – I took the Vectrex out of the show last year, because it did not do well at all in 2006. This year was much different though, and the Vectrex received a good amount of attention from show goers. Many people were interesting in playing with this unique system, plus there where many fans of the old system. I even learned that the Vecflash is finally for sale on the net, a cartridge that allows you to download games into it, similar to Ssan’s multicart, but you put in it what you want (up to a certain limit). Plus it is menu driven, and doesn’t have to be turned off to switch games. I will probably have this at next years show, as soon as I can get ahold of one (currently out of stock). In all, a good year for the Vectrex in the UC ’08 showcase!

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That is is for my UC ’08 summary. The show was lots of work, but lots of fun as well. Thoughts of the 2009 show are already in my head, even before I’ve finished unpacking from the ’08 show!

And, as usual, a big THANK YOU to Erica and Greg for their help with running the Underdog Chamber. I could not do this without their help, simple as that!

Midwest Gaming Classic ’08 recap

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Unlike last year, I actually got to see more of the MGC ’08 show, thanks in part to the opening of the exhibit area one hour later than the rest of the show. That aside, the Underdog Chamber (even being downsized a bit from last year), did incredibly well. At times, it was doing so well, that we actually had some crowd control issues! But, as I’ve done for the last few years now, I will dispense my own opinion on the show and its various parts (and as always, these comments are my own, deal with them as you will).

Events:

Classic Gaming and Computing Museum – Marty and J.D. (and company) did a rather marvelous job for 2008. There were more systems up and running that I can ever recall for the MGC show, which I thought was just great. Plus it is always fun working along with Marty and J.D. anyway (they are some great guys). I also got to see some cool new (but actually old) stuff again, thanks to Marty.

Atari Jaguar Festival – Downsized from ’07, the Jaquar and Nuon systems where part of my area this year (or at least tagged onto it). It received a decent amount of attention, but I’ll have to admit that I think Jagfest should be eliminated from future shows. I’m not saying the Jaguar and Nuon systems show go away, but rather become part of the museum or even the Uderdog Chamber, as Jagfest just is not the draw that it once was (and I say this with some sadness).

Tom L’s area (which still needs a name – darnit), was again next to the UC area. Tom had expanded for 2008, with flat-screen LCD displays for all of his Nintendo systems. A very popular area of the exhibit hall, as it is every year. Tom also had his huge Lynx collection on display, along with Game Gear games as well.

DS WiFi Play Area – I have to admit that I did not get a chance to play in this area, so I really can’t comment on it. Sorry.

Mini Commodore Expo – This group from Chicago had a small display on Saturday only, but it was cool to see what they had. I really hope they expand more in future years, as the commodore systems have some great games.

TurboFest – A nice setup in the exhibit hall, showing off some of the NEC systems. However, much smaller than it was in 2007, which I found disappointing.

Underdog Chamber – As with last year, Quake did really good in 2008, even with a few extra system crashes (good old OS 9). The five console systems I had on display did rather well too, and I was rather surprised by the amount of attention that the Vectrex got this year (it was almost ignored back in 2006). I’ll be posting a recap of my area seperate from the MGC recap.

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As for the rest of the Midwest Gaming Classic, outside of the exhibit hall:

2008 marked the return of more arcade and pinball machines, which were setup rather well, and got lots of play time. I actually had some time to play this year, partly due to the area being open after hours for vendors and exhibitors (thanks Dan and Gary). First time I’ve had to play some good pinball in years, and it was a very fun experience.

As in prior years, I did not get a chance to see any of the speakers, which I always find a bit sad. Guess it is the price for running my own area. I did catch some snipets of some speakers, but not enough to make any comments on them.

I also did not see any of the tournaments that go on at the show. Maybe some day, but not for 2008 again. I heard that most of them where rather fun, and I did get a peak at the GH III tournament, which looked like lots of fun. Oh, and I did experience the Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament to a point, just because it was right next to my area, and actually caused a few problems for me (which were luckily resolved by Sunday evening).

The Vending area for the 2008 MGC show was rather good, even through I didn’t buy much. It was nice to see a more even selection of games and systems this year. There was a lack of homebrew sellers though, which I heard enough about in my own area. Hopefully Atariage or Packrat will return for 2009! Other than that, it was nice to see some familiar faces, along with new vendors as well. In all, it was fun walking through the area, and seeing all the cool gaming goodness!

I’m sure there are a few other things I’m passing over, like Team Fremont, but I normally don’t get a chance to see everything at these shows. Again, the price I pay for running a popular area of the show. In that regards, it was very cool that I ended up in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel paper, with the Underdog Chamber being listed as the 4th best thing to see at the show (thanks for Dan for pointing out this article). My brother-in-law Greg and myself ended up on the Channel 6 news Sunday night that weekend as well. Just some quick clips, but it is so cool to see myself on TV!

That is is for my short summary of the MGC ’08 show. I would have to say that this was definately the best year so far for this yearly show. Slightly better than 2007, I can only see the show getting better, inch-by-inch every year. And that is fine with me!

Now all I need to get around to in the UC recap and finally posting some pictures of the show (better later, than never).

MGC ’08 photo delay…

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Thought I post a quick note here, basically stating that I’m still behind on getting the photos for MGC ’08 up on the site. At this point, it may not be until the end of the month, as I don’t have the time to really put it together. Will try, but it will probably be later than sooner.

Sorry…