Underdog Chamber 2010

Computers, consoles and games that ran in the Underdog Chamber for the Midwest Gaming Classic 2010 show:

2010 – The Underdog Chamber grew in size from prior years, and was officially the biggest exhibit size we’ve done so far.

The Underdog Chamber 2010 – systems that were on display during the 2010 show:

Apple Macintosh LAN running Quake – Back again for its fourth year, Quake returned, this time with an 9-player setup. It was an extremely popular game, with all the iMacs used for the game being in use all during the show, running classic Quake. Unlike prior years, the Quake LAN was playable on all G3 iMac computers, with the exception of a G4 tower that hosted the LAN.

Atari 7800 – The Atari underdog system from the mid-80’s returned to the UC area, after being absent for a few years. The Atari 7800 did rather well, and was running all the games using the Cuttle Cart 2.

Apple IIgs – The classic Apple IIgs returned one again to the UC 2010 exhibit. This system did rather well, running only the Arkanoid GS game, which was recognized and played by many gamers.

Philips G7400 – The Philips G7400 returned once again, this time sharing a TV set with the Odyssey2. A few “+” games were shown, but the most popular game was the European Frogger, which did rather well. The newly released Route 66+ drew some attention as well.

Intellivision – The 1st 16-bit gaming console returned again to the UC exhibit, this time twice (as in two systems). It was played throughout the show, with the majority of the games available through the Cuttle Cart 3.

Odyssey2 – This classic underdog console returned again, as it will every year, because it is my favorite old system. It ran Route 66+ and some other favorites of mine, but like the G7400, Frogger was the most popular game on this system by a long shot. Was nice to see the system get a little more use than it has in some prior years!

TI-99/4A – For the first time I had the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A computer from the early 80’s on display, running some fun games such as TI Invaders, Parsecs, and more.

Timex/Sinclair 1500 (T/S 1000 & ZX81) – I brought the 1500 back this year, with the 1000 and ZX81 just for display only. The T/S 1500 was running digitized iPod commercials again, and drew a decent amount of people into looking at it.

Vectrex – This wonderful console with its built-in screen was back again for 2010, and it drew a good bunch of people into playing it. Mine Storm was the favorite on this system.

3DO – The 3DO system made its first appearance in the UC display this year. It was amazing to see how much attention this true underdog system got during the show. Road Rash was a hit for the weekend!

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Below is a summary of each system that ran in the Underdog Chamber for the MGC 2010 show. All systems that were present are ranked off of how well each system was received by the general public. Longer green bars show more popularity that shorter bars. After the ratings is a section of comments on each system in my opinion.

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Summary of system rankings for the UC ’10:

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Apple Macintosh LAN running Quake 9-player

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Apple IIgs

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Atari 7800

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Philips G7400

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Intellivision

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Odyssey2

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TI-99/4A

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Timex/Sinclair 1500 (T/S 1000 + ZX81)

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Vectrex

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3DO

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Apple Macintosh LAN running Quake 9-player – The ever-popular and original Quake once again made its presence know, running for ’10 in an all iMac G3 LAN (with the exception of a G4 PowerMac running the LAN). There were all flavors of the classic iMac CRT computers, from the original Bondi Blue to the later Snow colored ones. Nine iMac G3 computers were hooked up, making 2010 the first time the LAN has gone beyond 8 to a 9-player LAN. As has been the case for the past few years, Quake was very popular for the 2010 show, with the computers being in pretty much constant use from show start to show end. There wasn’t any lines like last year, but I think the extra computer helped with that. As always, it was cool to see young and not-so-young gamers playing Quake. The most popular thing in the UC area once again (the 3DO came in very close behind it though!).

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Apple IIgs – The Apple IIgs made another appearance in the UC area for 2010. It received a good amount of play, mainly with the game Arkanoid II, which always does well, mainly due to player recognition and easy of play. A few other classic games were on display as well, but Arkanoid II was the hands down winner. I got the impression that most people playing with the Apple IIgs did so by game, not by the actual system itself.

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Atari 7800 – The Atari 7800 returned after a three absence from the UC display. The 7800 was running once again with the Cuttle Cart 2, so a wide variety of games were available to play throughout the show. Most of the classic arcade games did very well, from Centipede and Ms. Pac-Man to Dig Dug and Galaga. Always nice to see people enjoying an old favorite (or new to those too young to remember the originals). This system garnered a good amount of play, beating out the IIgs sitting next to it.

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Philips G7400 – The Euro cousin of the never released Odyssey3 returned again for the ’10 UC exhibit, this time sharing a TV set with the Odyssey2. This G7400 is a special one, with upgraded video and a built-in Voice, thanks for an overseas friend. I alternated the one TV between the G7400 and the Odyssey2, putting in the G7400 for ‘+’ graphics games and for those rare games that will not run on the Odyssey2. As with prior years, the G7400 was not the most popular system, but it garnered enough attention to keep me happy (and the gamers too). For 2010, the Euro version of Frogger got the most attention on the G7400, along with other ‘+’ games including Pong, Puzzle Piece Pannic, and more.

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Intellivision – The Intellivision returned after a years absence to the UC exhibit. I’ve always been a big fan of the first 16-bit video game system, and I’m not alone in that feeling, as the system got a rather good amount of play for 2010. I had two systems hooked up for 2010, both using Cuttle Cart 3’s, so all of the old Intellivision games were available for play. I can’t say there was a favorite for ’10, as many people picked so many different games to play through the 2010 MGC show. That to me is a good thing!

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Odyssey2 – My favorite underdog system, the Odyssey2, returned for 2010 along with the G7400. This great underdog console from the late 70’s and early 80’s faired well for gameplay in the UC ’10 exhibit, but it was not the fan favorite for my area. Games that did well during the show on the Odyssey were such titles as Frogger (Brazil version), K.C. Munchkin, and Attack of the Time Lord. Other games were on display too, but these three faired the best. For some unknown reason, different games on this system do better during different years of the MGC show. I’ll never understand it, and frankly as long as people enjoy playing an old classic console system, it really doesn’t matter.

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TI-99/4A – 2010 was the first year that I setup a TI-99/4A computer in the Underdog Chamber exhibit. Yes, I know that it also runs every year in the museum – via Erik – but I just wanted to have it in the UC area for at least one year. The old computer system did not fair well, and got the least amount of play than all other systems present. Part of this was the game selection I had at the time, and part I’m sure was due to Erik’s display in the Museum. Either way, I was still glad to add a new (but still old) system to the UC area. It will return again some year.

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Timex/Sinclair 1500 (T/S 1000 + ZX81) – Like many prior years, I had the T/S 1500 hooked up to a small 9″ TV set and had the computer running digitized iPod commercials. I has speakers and the iSkull along side it to give the display that extra flair. In all, it faired only slightly better that the TI system did, which means it did not get a lot of attention for 2010. Not really sure why, as it has done fairly well in the past. I love this old computer with crude graphics, no sound or color, and a slow processor. Either way, it will most likely return again, as I like this thing running by the main UC sign with some cool tunes playing with it (through a well hidden iPod hooked up to some good speakers).

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Vectrex – The black & white vector-based console system from the early 80’s returned again to the UC 2010 display. Like last year, I had a specific set of games running on this great underdog system, and it got a respectable amount of play during the show. As is almost always the case, the built-in Mine Storm was the favorite game running on this system. I also got a lot of comments on the Vectrex this year too, which I though was wonderful!

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3DO – 2010 was the first year for a 3DO Interactive Multiplayer system in the Underdog exhibit. This was a real underdog system from 1993 that just had too many issues (high price, limited games, etc.) to make it against the competition. Still, the 3DO is a rather interesting system in itself, and it has a good number of great games for it. For the UC ’10 exhibit, I pretty much ran Roadrash on the 3DO, which did incredibly well. A lot of people walking into my area would comment “oh, a 3DO” and sit down to play. It garnished enough attention to put it just behind Quake in popularity in the UC area for 2010, and that is a rather cool accomplishment for an underdog system.

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