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Classic Gaming Expo 2014: Post Show Report

Written By: Elliott S. Thomas

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The 2014 Classic Gaming Expo has drawn to a close but the memories of this great event will last for a lifetime. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the show which began as Atari World many years ago but eventually grew into the Classic Gaming Expo that we know and love today. The event was a three day celebration of everything related to retro gaming. Industry veterans were on hand to share their great stories of working in the gaming industry. The dealer floor was packed with tons of great merchandise which included everything from classic consoles, artwork, music and even books and magazines. There was also special musical guests who performed each day of the show. The Hotel Riviera convention center was filled with excited guests who lined up hours before the expo just to be the first to get inside the show. It truly was classic gaming nirvana!

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We showed up early on the first and second day to distribute some of our collectible arcade tokens in CGE 2014 exclusive packaging. The tokens were a massive hit as usual, and were gone within minutes of opening the show. Special thanks to our friend Scott Schrieber for allowing us to share some of our great collectible coins at the show.

The Video Game History Museum:

Of course the biggest draw of the show was the incredible Video Game History Museum. This was the largest exhibit of its kind ever held in the United States. It was also the last time the museum will ever display this many great items at one convention. We are happy to announce that this amazing travelling exhibit has found a new home and will soon be headed to a permanent location in the state of Texas. It was truly an honor to see so many rare and unique items from gaming history.

In this video you can take a walking tour of the incredible Video Game History Museum at Classic Gaming Expo 2014. This museum represents the largest collection of video game memorabilia anywhere in the world!

Special Industry Guests:

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The Atari Alumni Panel featured some of the biggest names in Atari history! Special guests included industry legends such as David Crane, Aaron Hightower, Keithan Hayenga, Bob Polaro, Don Traeger, Howard Scott Warshaw, and Steve Woita. And just to make things even more exciting the entire show was hosted by Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel, authors of the book Atari: Business is Fun, a book that is widely considered the definitive source on Atari history.  

You can watch the entire Atari Alumni CGE Panel by clicking this LINK.

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All twelve of the Intellivision Blue Sky Rangers were on hand lead by the captain of the group Mr. Keith Robinson. The group shared their amazing stories of working for Mattel during the golden era of video games. Attendees could also get their hands on a special limited edition version of the upcoming Intellivision Flashback console weeks before it would be available at the show. This limited edition version was individually numbered and fans could even get the unit signed by every member of the Blue Sky Rangers. Wow! This was easily the best and most sought after exclusive at the show.

You can watch the entire Blue Sky Rangers CGE Panel here. [PART 1] - [PART 2]

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Keith and the Intellivision gang were joined by their friends from the Intellivisionaries Pod Cast. They brought along this super cool Intellivision test kit. The device was used to test Intellivision controllers, games and other hardware. It looks like the sort of thing you would find in the arsenal of James Bond!

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Chris Gray, the original creator of Boulder Dash and Richard Spitanly from First Star Software were on hand to share their experiences in the gaming industry. The duo was also proud to announce the release of Boulder Dash on the Mattel Intellivision. If its anything like the Atari 2600 version that was released two years ago, it will be sure to sell out immediately after launch. The classic game is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Other great panels included a discussion on the development and history of the Vectrex video game system. You can watch the entire panel HERE. There was also a panel of guests from the heyday of Activision. The group was lead by David Crane and company. You can watch that panel by clicking this LINK.

Great Live Music:

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A fantastic line up of video game theme musical acts kept things jumping all weekend. Things kicked off with the always fantastic 8-Bit Weapon, a personal favorite of this site. The show kept rolling with great performances by ComputeHer, Evil Weizel, Aidy of The British IBM and Keith Apicary.

Exclusive Movie Screenings:

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One of the biggest surprises of the show was an exclusive early screening of the new Microsoft sponsored E.T. landfill documentary. This was the first public screening of the new movie at any retro gaming event. The folks who helped contribute to the documentary even brought along some samples recovered from the dig.

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Another film shown at the event was a documentary about the 1980's arcade scene called The Video Craze. The film follows the history of arcade gaming and the exploits of some die hard arcade game collectors. DVD and Bluray copies of the movie were made available after the screening. You can purchase your own copy of the film HERE.

Other films shown at the expo included Once Upon Atari, Stella at 20 and the arcade game documentary called The Space Invaders. The movie screenings were a nice break from the hectic excitement of the show floor. It was good to be able to kick back and enjoy some video nostalgia.

Vendors Galore:

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The vendor area had a great selection of sellers offering a wide variety of products. Whether you were looking for classic games and systems, or if you wanted gaming memorabilia, there was a little something for everyone.

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Plush gaming collectibles, giant size action figures, PlayStation classics, import games and more. The vendor area had everything from Pong to PlayStation!

Art and Fan Creations:

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These awesome Punch-Out inspired Pixel Paintings were made by The 8-Bit Artist. He had a fantastic selection of original artwork inspired by all your favorite 8-Bit era games. Many of his paintings and prints feature NES era characters and video games, however a few featured modern games like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker done in a classic 8-Bit style. You can see everything he had on display in this VIDEO.

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Shown above are a number of great pixel art creations from Pixel Art Paradise. Mel K, the artist behind these wonderful creations, had one of the most popular booths at the show. Her limited edition artwork sold out very quickly. In case you missed your chance to get your hands on her work you can visit her website to order your own piece of pixel art perfection.

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These incredible limited run poster prints were created by the folks at Crooked Rook. They also had a number of collectible buttons inspired by retro video games and classic 1980's cartoons like the Ninja Turtles. You can visit their website to learn more about their work. (Link)

Amazing Show Exclusive Merchandise:

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One of the best exclusives at the show was CGE Adventures: The Video Game for the Atari 2600. The Classic Gaming Expo was the first retro gaming convention to have it's own video game. It is a truly fun and unique title that's sure to be a gem in any serious Atari collection. It even comes with a replica show badge and lanyard. This great game was brought to you buy the folks at the Retro Gaming Roundup Podcast. (Link)

You can see a quick gameplay sample video by clicking this LINK

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Our friend Gamester81 was on hand at the CollectorVision booth promoting his new title, Gamester81: The Video Game. This extremely limited edition game was only available at CGE 2014. The game is great fun and supplies sold out very quickly. Let's hope there is a second run of this great title coming sometime in the future.

For a full overview of the game along with some sample gameplay check this video.

New Games for Classic Systems:

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Good Deal Games had a large selection of new games for several different classic consoles. A wide variety of titles were available for the Atari 2600, ColecoVision, Vectrex and more. The company also had two show exclusive games, the first of which was a limited run of their popular title Fail Boat for the Atari 2600. Only thirty copies of this game were produced for the show. The second title was the show exclusive Intellivision game BLIX. It too was limited to just 30 copies.

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The guys from Songbird Productions had a great assortment of new games for the "Atari Cats," also known at the Atari Lynx handheld and the Atari Jaguar video game console. One of the best titles was a recreation of a lost Atari Lynx game called Maximum Carnage. The game came complete in a box with a manual. It's great classic shooting fun! They also had a limited run upgraded version of their game Protector for the Atari Jaguar CD. You can order all of their great games on their official website. (Link)

Games in Print:

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Gamers got the chance to meet author Brett Weiss, who brought along several of his popular books, along with his newest publication The 100 Greatest Console Video Games. Quite the prolific author Mr. Weiss actually had five different books on hand at the show. Three of which focused on the history of classic home video games, another centered on gaming and pop culture, and the aforementioned Top 100 Book. All of his books were a big hit at the show. You can learn more about the man and his work on his official website. (Link)

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Authors Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel were on hand to unveil the new cover for their book Atari: Business is War. The new tome is the greatly anticipated follow up to the highly praised Atari: Business is Fun. Atari BIF is widely considered the definitive and most comprehensive source for Atari history. The book is also a real page turner filled with great stories from the people who lived through the golden age of Atari. I can't wait to get my hands on Business is War, which focuses on the later years of the company during the tumultuous Jack Tramiel era of Atari. You can learn more about both books on their official website. (Link)

The Past, Present and Future of Gaming:

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The gang at Hyperkin had plenty of the new Retro N5 console in stock at the show. It was available in both black and classic console grey. Supplies sold out very quickly. The Hyperkin booth was surrounded by dealers selling classic games. New Retro N5 owners didn't have to go far to find a wide variety of games to play on their new system.

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The folks at Hyperkin brought along a cool Virtual Boy style Occulus Rift development kit. This amazing virtual reality device has been called the future of video games. Fans could test drive the new system and play some cool Virtual Boy inspired games using an authentic N64 style controller.

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The folks from Innex were on hand with demo units of their highly popular Super Retro Trio game system. The innovative retro console uses original cartridges from the NES, Super NES and the Sega Genesis. It can even play Game Boy Advance games using an additional adapter cartridge. The popular system will now also be available in white.

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AtGames has quickly gained a great reputation for creating awesome classic consoles and handheld game systems. This year they have upped the ante with four new retro video game consoles. The new ColecoVision Flashback console was on hand and available to play. It joins the brand new Atari Flashback 5, the aforementioned Intellivision Flashback and a revised version of their popular Sega Genesis Classic Console. Wow! That's a lot of great systems from one company. We hope to have a review of all this neat hardware in the coming weeks.

All of these great systems from AtGames, Hyperkin, and Innex prove one thing, retro gaming is more popular than ever! There are now six different retro gaming consoles on the market along with 4 different portable game systems. Classic consoles now outnumber next gen game systems!

Cosplay Fun:

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What convention would be complete with cosplayers? Cosplay makes any gathering more fun! Literally dozens of attendees donned costumes portraying their favorite video game characters. Even I got in on the act with my Hunter S. Thompson costume. "We can't stop here! This is bat country!" Of course there was a great costume contest that brought out all the best cosplayers, with prizes going to the winners.

Free Play Arcade Games and Classic Consoles:

Finally take a look at the awesome free to play arcade that was set up at the show. Attendees could enjoy dozens of classic arcade games and pinball machines all set on free play. There were also tons of classic video game consoles available to play. You could literally play your way though video game console history. A number of great tournaments and contests were held including a Mario Kart 64 competition that brought out some of the best players in the game. This popular exhibit stayed open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, well after the close of the show floor.

Check out our video tour of the Video Game Console Museum here. (LINK)

All This Fun and Cupcakes Too!:

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What retro gaming expo would be complete without cupcakes? Yes, cupcakes. One generous vendor was celebrating his son's birthday at the show. In honor of the boy's special day his mom and dad brought cupcakes for everyone. The delicious treats were available in both chocolate and vanilla. This is the sort of heartwarming gesture you only see at a classic video game convention. It is truly a great example of the sense of community and kindness that was present at the expo. It also shows that video games help to bridge generations and bring families and friends together. I had a wonderful time at the Classic Gaming Expo. I truly look forward to the next show. Until next time...

Multimedia:

Check out all our exclusive videos from Classic Gaming Expo 2014 on our Daily Motion Video Channel. (LINK)

Visit our Classic Gaming Expo image gallery with over 150 exclusive photos direct from the show floor. (LINK)

About The Author: Elliott S. Thomas is a hardcore retro gaming enthusiast. His retro gaming collection could fill a small house. When you ask him, "Have You played Atari today?", he will almost always say, "Yes."

Be sure to check out our Daily Motion Video Channel for tons of classic gaming videos.

http://www.dailymotion.com/digthatbox