Underdog Chamber 2011

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

2010 – The Underdog Chamber grew even more in size from past years, filling the majority of the space available to the exhibit.

The Underdog Chamber 2011 – consoles and computers that were on display during the 2011 show:

Apple Macintosh LAN running Quake – Once again classic Quake returned for a fifth year, this time with an 11-player LAN setup. As with prior years, Quake did extremely well, including when the doors opened and all eleven seats were literally filled within 60 seconds! 2011 featured 11 original iMacs running classic Quake via Mac OS 9, all controlled by a G4 tower Macintosh computer. As always, Quake was a huge success.

Apple (Bandai) Pippin Atmark – Borrowed from friend John Norman, the short lived Pippin was a gaming console developed by Apple and licensed to Bandai. The console was a Mac designed as a gaming machine, but not optimized very well. This system was out in the mid 90’s, with only 20 games being released in the U.S. In the UC exhibit, this system got the award for the ‘what the hell is that’ phrase, spoken by almost everyone who say it.

Apple IIe – For the first time, an Apple IIe graced the UC area, with a nice selection of classic Apple II games. This semi-underdog system faired well for 2011, with such games as Load Runner, Crisis Mountain, and more.

Arcadia 2001 – Returning after some years, this 100% true underdog system from 1982 faired just as well as it did before, which was rather poorly. While the few good games for this system were up and running, the Arcadia got little attention on Saturday during the show.

Atari 5200 – Atari’s true underdog system returned for 2011, and focused on games that used the roller ball or dual-stick controller setup. While there were some good games running on the unique console, it did not get as much play as was expected.

Atari Jaguar – The Jaguar made its first UC appearance in 2011. The 5th generation console from Atari was a huge underdog system, even though it still has a good selection of games. It did not fair well in the UC area for 2011, but it didn’t do badly either. Wether it returns remains uncertain.

Fairchild Channel F – Another first appearance in the Underdog Chamber, the Channel F was on display on Sunday during the show. Much to my own delight, this odd system from the late 70’s and early 80’s did rather well, with a good amount of kids playing Alien Invasion and Dodge It – and enjoying it too! It will return for sure, hopefully with some special games being acquired for it.

Odyssey2 – The perennial underdog console returns again, as it always will, running some of the best games that the Odyssey2 has to offer. Frogger was again the most popular game running, with Attack of the Time Lord doing well too, along with many other games. The console did about average compared to other systems running in the UC 2011 exhibit.

Philips CD-i – The 2nd system borrowed from John Norman, the Philips CD-i made a one-time appearance in the UC area (it may return – who knows). This somewhat obscure CD-based system did fairly well, considering I only ran Dragon’s Lair II, Space Ace, and Hotel Mario (the later doing rather well to my surprise).

Sega Dreamcast – The Sega Dreamcast is another video game console that made its first appearance to the UC exhibit in 2011, with a small but good selection of games. Demolition Race: No Exit was the popular game running, with the system doing rather well play-wise throughout the weekend.

Timex/Sinclair 1500 (T/S 1000 & ZX81) – The T/S 1500 and siblings were back again in 2011, running along with an iPod digitized commercials, and some 70’s, 80’s (mostly), and 90’s music that played throughout the show. It got some decent attention, as it does most years.

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Here is a summary of systems that were in the Underdog Chamber for the MGC 2011 show. System were ranked on how well they were used (or viewed) by the general public. Longer green bars show higher game/system play. Comments on each system are included too.

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Summary of system rankings for the UC ’11:

Play ranking
Apple Macintosh LAN running Quake 11-player

Play ranking
Apple (Bandai) Pippin Atmark

Play ranking
Apple IIe

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Arcadia 2001

Play ranking
Atari 5200

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Atari Jaguar

Play ranking
Fairchild Channel F

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Odyssey2

Play ranking
Philips CD-i

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Sega Dreamcast

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Timex/Sinclair 1500

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Play ranking
Apple Macintosh LAN running Quake 11-player – Celebrating its fifth year in the UC exhibit, the now 11-player iMac G3 LAN (with a G4 PowerMac running the LAN) was as popular as ever, with chairs for the systems filling up moments after opening the UC area doors (literally). Many different flavors of the classic iMac CRT systems were running for 2011, a total of 11 computers, making 2011 the biggest Quake LAN so far. The only issue for 2011 was that the LAN went from 11, to 10, to 9-player on Sunday, due to one iMac having a display failure and one system ending up with a corrupted system disc. Other than that, Quake was once again the most popular part of the Underdog Chamber!

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Play ranking
Apple (Bandai) Pippin Atmark – The obscure gaming console created by Apple and Bandai in the 90’s was on display for 2011. The system did not do very well, mainly due to the obscurity of the system, and the difficulty is running games on the system. The biggest thing this system got was the ‘what the hell is that’ comment by practically everyone who saw the system. It did get some play, but a lot of people were confused by the controllers, and the system itself. I do not predict this returning anytime soon to the UC area.

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Play ranking
Apple IIe – For once the Apple IIe finally made an appearance in the UC area. It did reasonable well, with the most popular game present being Load Runner. Other games ran too, but they just didn’t get the play that Load Runner did. With a better selection of games, this computer should return some year (not for 2012 though). And for those wondering, the Apple IIe is considered a semi-underdog system, as it did sell well during the first 2/3 of its time on the market.

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Play ranking
Arcadia 2001 – This true underdog system made a special return visit to the UC area for 2011, and was on display for Saturday only. While there were a few good games on display for this system, it did not fair well against anything else that was on display. In fact, it got very little attention at all, which is kind of sad. For that reason alone, the Arcadia 2001 will not return to the Underdog Chamber for some time (but it probably will make another appearance some year).

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Play ranking
Atari 5200 – 2011 saw the return of the Atari 5200, which was setup to run games that required a trackball or dual-joystick setup. Missile Command got the best attention of what was on display. While intentions were good, the system faired below average in game play, which is less than it deserved. Thanks to those that got some enjoyment out of this classic Atari system. It will return sometime in the future (but probably not 2012).

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Atari Jaguar – The Atari Jaguar made its first appearance in the UC exhibit for 2011. The last of the Atari consoles, the Jaguar faired rather poorly for gameplay, getting very casual attention at best. This was somewhat of a surprise, so it is uncertain if and when the Jaguar will return to the Underdog Chamber. It deserves better than it received in 2011.

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Fairchild Channel F – Making another first appearance in the UC area for 2011, there was the Fairchild Channel F (model II) gaming console. While the system was never a favorite for most, it did surprisingly well when it was setup for Sunday only. Only three games ran, Alien Invasion, Dodge It, and Galactic Space Wars. By a long shot, Dodge It was the favorite, with a good amount of younger folk playing the game – and doing well, with no instructions how to play the game. One good thing about most true classic games is that they can be learned quickly, without having to read an instruction manual. The Channel F will return, sooner that other systems, for future MGC shows.

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Odyssey2 – Still one of my favorite underdog systems, the Odyssey2 will always be on display every year in the UC exhibit, and 2011 was no exception. The display for 2011 was just the Odyssey2 (no Voice), unlike prior years where its siblings from Europe where on display too. This was the first year that I had a system with the original joysticks though. Frogger was the popular game here, as it is always recognized by most game players. A few other games did well on this system too, but the Odyssey2 did not fair as well as it usually does, which is average at best. Thus 2011 was a bit of a slow year for this system.

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Philips CD-i – Another first for the UC, and another system borrowed from John, the Philips CD-i made a special appearance for 2011. This system is not well know, as it didn’t fair well on the market in the 90’s, but it did above average for gameplay in the UC 2011 exhibit. Dragon’s Lair II and Space Ace did well, but for reasons unknown, Hotel Mario did rather well play-wise on this system (Hotel Mario is not a great game – so this oddity is unexplained). In all, it did better than was expected, and that is not a bad thing.

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Sega Dreamcast – Last of the ‘first time in the UC’ consoles for 2011 was the Sega Dreamcast. The last of the Sega consoles got a very good amount of play, especially with the small selection of driving games that was on display. Demolition Race: No Exit was the primary game for the weekend, with friends having fun smashing their cars up. Other games were put in at various time too, but only for limited times. It was no surprise at all that this was the most popular console for the Underdog Chamber 2011 exhibit.

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Timex/Sinclair 1500 (T/S 1000 + ZX81) – As has been done for years now, the old T/S 1500 computer was connected to a small 9″ TV set, and was displaying digitized iPod commercials. This was alongside the iSkull and a new bit this year, a 17″ LCD monitor running visuals (and a few music videos) to accompany music playing in the UC room. The music selection was mostly late 70’s and early 80’s, with other stuff mixed in. The T/S 1500 garnished reasonable attention, which it does every year, along with the iSkull – an old Mac+ turned into a light display with a fake skull inside the display tube.

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