Midwest Gaming Classic 2014

Midwest Gaming Classic 2014

To make up for last year's haphazard Midwest Gaming Classic review I've decided to make this one the biggest yet. OK, I don't know if that's actually true. Sometimes I just like to make random claims and put no effort into determining if they're true. This article will probably be peppered with them.

The 2014 was great as usual. The attendance seemed to be higher than any previous year but this could be one of those unverified statements I'm prone to. Here are 40 or so pictures from the event that will hopefully encourage you to attend next year.


Entrance line and tents

Here's why you need to preorder tickets folks. This was the line at show open for tickets. Those who preorded could skip it and get right in. The massive tents were a new edition. The majority of vendors were in this area which resulted in there being a little more space to move than before. Unfortunately it rained badly on Saturday and although the tents held up nicely, there were a couple swampy spots. There were tons of cool items in this year which I'll recap a little further down.

Exhibits - Atari 2600 homebrew games

I'm going to mix things up and start with the exhibits this time. Here's an assortment of homebrew Atari 2600 games. I'd recommend Skeleton+, one of the more technically advanced 2600 games.

Exhibits - Explosive Diarrhea

Yeah, no thanks.

Exhibits - Atari Jaguar

Although this picture shows NBA Jam: Tournament Edition they later had Fight for Life running at this Jaguar station. I never played Fight for Life before so I gave it whirl. I can honestly say it's one of the 3 worst games I've ever played, close to the absolute worst really. On the other hand, NBA Jam: Tournament Edition is pretty darn good.

Exhibits - RetroN 5

Here's the final prototype for the RetroN 5 which Hyperkin announced was due in the next month. One of the causes for delay was the addition of Sega Master System support which requires a Power Base Converter. Look for those to suddenly spike in price on eBay. I have two of them, including a boxed one, so maybe I'll be able to retire after all.

Exhibits - Fighting games

One hallway was filled with 1:1 fighting games for various systems.

Museum - Atari 5200

With the vendors out in the tents there was more room for the museum and arcade; each seemed to be roughly double their previous size (another unsubstantiated claim). Let's start with the museum, here's an Atari 5200 in all its glory.

Museum - Aquarius

The Mattel Aquarius had a nice keyboard, I kinda wish I had one of those connected to my PC.

Museum - Atari 400

The Atari 400 might be the coolest looking computer of all time. It looks like the flight deck to a spacecraft.

Museum - Bally Astrocade

I know I said it on a previous recap but the Bally Astrocade has one of the best controllers I've seen. If I ranked game controllers it would probably break the top 5 but that's without giving it too much thought.

Museum - F1XDJ

I don't know anything about this computer but it also has a nice design. Based on the labels it's some kind of MSX variant.

Museum - Intellivision Keyboard

There has been an Intellivision keyboard on display in previous years but this was the first time I remember it being connected. I don't even know how to play chopsticks so I didn't try it.

Museum  - Nightmare Busters

The Super Fighter Team release Nightmare Busters was on display in the museum. It was one of the most difficult games I've played which isn't a complaint of course. I think this can compete with Ghouls 'n Ghosts in that department.

Museum - Odyssey

This was the only time I saw the Odyssey unattended. It was quite a popular item every time I visited the museum. It was nice to see people trying a piece of history for presumably the first time.

Museum - Commodore PET

Obligatory Commodore PET picture I include every year. At this point it's becoming something of a running bit in my recaps.

Museum - RCA Studio II

One of my favorite things about the Midwest Gaming Classic is getting to try systems for the first time. You'd think after roughly 10 visits that wouldn't be possible but they keep surprising me with new (old) systems. This year I played the RCA Studio II for a while. It's probably been there before but I don't remember it. The games were very simple but addictive. This is definitely a system I'd like to own someday.

Museum - Station Wagon

Here's a cool Vic-20 mod called the "Station Wagon", very nice 70s style. At some point I'll have to write-up the story about the Vic-20 I modded for a high school science fair project.

Arcade - Airborne Avenger Pinball

Alright, so time to hit the arcade. Here's a pinball machine that's brutally difficult. I could't last more than a few seconds. Great looking cabinet though.

Arcade - Aztec Pinball

There's no way this game could be made today.

Arcade - Disco Pinball

It seems like disco-like music is popular lately, I blame the Rump Shaker guy.

Arcade - Doctor Who Pinball

The Doctor Who pinball from the early 90s was the highlight of the arcade for me. It was from the period where the show was on extended hiatus and featured artwork from all of the first seven Doctors.

Arcade - Kiss Pinball

This Kiss pinball can be yours for close to three grand, which given the age probably isn't a terrible deal.

Arcade - Sprint

This isn't a great picture of the Sprint arcade cabinet, sorry about that. I don't remember seeing one of these in person before, then again I wasn't really hanging out in the arcade age when this was released. I gotta say I like the style of this a lot.


Vendors - Arcade Art

New addition to the vendor space this year - art. This arcade one was my favorite.

Vendors - ActionMax Game

I'm undecided on whether the ActionMax should be considered a game console.

Vendors - Atari 5200 Case (Closed)

Ever want to take your Atari 5200 on the road? Well here's your chance to own a handy suitcase to lug it around. Atari was good at many things in the early 80s, designing compact systems was not one of them.

Vendors - Atari 5200 Case (Open)

The price made sense once I saw there was an Atari 5200 included.

Vendors - Atari 7800

Sticking with Atari systems, here's a boxed Atari 7800. This was an under-appreciated system, doomed to failure by the NES. It had a ton of great arcade ports but that wasn't enough to make it competitive.

Vendors - Famicom Games

Tons of cheap Famicom games this year. It's not a bad way to own games that are rare (and therefore overpriced) in the US.

Vendors - Famicom Disk System

The folks at Windy City Gaming were selling some Famicom Disk Systems. I has extremely tempted to buy one even though it would only be a decorative item.

Vendors - Cheap Game Boy Games

There were fewer bins of dirt cheap games this year, maybe vendors finally broke down and dumped them. A couple tables had a box of Game Boy/Game Boy Advance games like this.

Vendors - Japanese Saturn

Japanese Sega Saturn, a must-have for diehard 2D fighter fans.

Vendors - Sega CD and PlayStation Games

Even though they're a pain to store, I prefer the original PlayStation long boxes to later the jewel cases.

Vendors - Atari Lunchbox

I couldn't tell if this was an item from the 80s or a very well-made reproduction bought at Target.

Vendors - Saturn Mission Stick

That giant Saturn joystick is something I wanted to take home except I just don't have the room for it... nor any games that would benefit from it. Let's face it, 99% of my Saturn time is spent on NBA Jam: Tournament Edition.

Vendors - Nintendo 64 Controllers

Many, many vendors were selling these Nintendo 64 controllers.

Vendors - Boxed NES and Jaguar

Sure the NES outsold the Jaguar 100:1 (another unverified off the top of my head claim) but the Jaguar clearly wins in the box art department.

Vendors - Odyssey Games

I'm just impressed whenever I see 30 year-old cardboard boxes that are still mostly in one piece.

Vendors - Pac Man Merchandise

Some nifty original Pac Man merchandise.

Vendors - Random Games

Here are some totally random games. Most vendors have games organized by system but this guy preferred chaos. I can see the beauty in either.

Vendors - PC Engine ROM AMP

At this year's show I encountered a new species - the TurboGrafx Hipster. This would be anyone born after 1989 who first heard of the TurboGrafx-16 through the Wii Virtual Console and is now collecting it. One that I talked to was surprised to learn that most US games at one point included cardboard boxes. Anyway, I'm sure one of them bought this ROM AMP thinking it was an import TurboGrafx-16.

Vendors - Saturn Wheel

Hmmm.. another over-sized Saturn controller I'd be happy to own but don't have room for. Also I only own two Saturn racing games.

Vendors - SNES Joystick

I found this crazy Super Nintendo joystick in a $1 box. I was tempted to buy it except I'm positive it didn't work because (a) it was in a $1 box and (b) it made a rattling sound when I picked it up.

Vendors - Boxed Vectrex

This little guy sold very quickly.

Vendors - Toys

There were a couple vendors selling toys, with a mix of old and new represented.

Stuff I Bought

I didn't buy that much this year, my collection is getting a little out of control and free space is scarce.

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