Midwest Gaming Classic 2010
This is now the sixth Midwest Gaming Classic recap I've posted. For the past couple I was afraid I wouldn't find anything new and exciting to write about. Fortunately that hasn't been the case yet. Yeah, many things are the same every year but there are also surprises. As with years past, I'm going to focus this recap on things that don't appear in previous ones.
The Midwest Gaming Classic returned to the Brookfield Sheraton hotel, where it was back in 2004. At first I was bummed because the location for 2006-2009 was so much larger. That was until I found that they booked all the available conference rooms in the hotel giving them way more space now. The event was spread out which sometimes made it difficult to find where certain exhibits were. Despite that minor annoyance, it was another great event. If you live within driving distance of Milwaukee I can't encourage you enough to pay a visit to the next one.
There were two types of items that there seemed to be tons of this year. The first were pong clones and other bulky plastic systems from the 70s. One thing that's remained constant throughout the history of video games is our apparent love for giant plastic accessories. If anything, that Marksman is sleek and compact compared to the stuff we have today.
Import games were the other items that appeared in abundance this year. Usually there's one vendor who specializes in import games and a small handful here and there. This time there were two import vendors (three if you count Anime figures) and every vendor seemed to have a couple import games. For example, the vendor that had this copy of Phantasy Star maybe had a total of four import games along side a mass of Super Nintendo cartridges.
This whole economic downturn thing never seemed to impact the classic video game scene. Quite the opposite, prices in 2008-2009 were higher than ever. In 2010 it seems like things finally caught-up. I saw deals like crazy, overall prices were lower than any previous year. Sure, rare items were sky-high but there were bargains galore for common items.
This vendor had a shelving unit filled with Genesis games for 50% off. Most were common but there were a few good ones buried in there. I walked away from this rack with Faery Tale Adventure, Clue, and Beavis and Butthead.
There was one vendor I hadn't seen before who only sold import PC Engine games. He was the exception to the declining prices seen elsewhere. Great selection though, if you were looking for a specific title there was a good chance he had it. I held off on buying anything there because I hadn't yet visited Mad Gear LLC who always have an amazing selection of import PC Engine games.
The PlayStation market has officially bottomed-out. This shouldn't be too surprising, with the PlayStation 2 being backwards compatible there's not much reason to hang onto the original except for nostalgic value. Maybe when the PlayStation generation starts turning 30 (~2015) that trend will reverse.
Here's a snapshot from the aforementioned Mad Gear LLC. The economy finally hit his business and he was none too shy to talk about it. All these $10 import games were at least $20 last year. I searched for any PC Engine CD games that weren't adult or karaoke titles and found two. Although it turns out one of them is an adult title after all. If my wife is reading this I swear it looked like a regular adventure game on the outside.
I also bought a copy of Snatcher for PC Engine for $25, that's $10 cheaper than when I debated buying it last year. It's great to get deals but at the same time I hope business picks-up for him and all the other vendors.
I decided to try out the Vectrex a little this year. It was running their blatant Asteroid knock-off Minestorm. That game worked really well on that crazy little screen. Although I'd like to own one of these, I doubt I ever will because they sell for too much online and there's a very slim chance of finding one in the wild.
Here's Jordan vs. Bird running on an Atari computer with pastel colors. Sorry to any readers in the U.K. but I never got into the Atari computer line so I can't identify which one this is.
Update: Visitor Silvergunner, not surprisingly from the U.K., identified this as the Atari XEGS. Released in 1987 it was an Atari 65XE computer with modifications to make it more appealing to console gamers. It was not a success but I'll admit the case design looks nice.
I'm glad they had one of these GenMobile systems out because I was debating buying one. I thought the screen looked great but didn't care for the controller. It felt like the d-pad on the original PlayStation controller which I didn't care for. This would be a great system for RPGs but I can't imagine playing Street Fighter II on it.
Last up is a picture of a work-in-progress project from the "BenHeck.com Experience" room. Ben Heck was there helping someone with a pinball machine when I stopped in. Of all the WIPs lying around this was the most fascinating. It's an Xbox controller with an LCD screen in the middle. The Nintendo 64 cart lying next to it makes it appear like a portable Nintendo 64 project but can that system really be modded to fit something so small?