Midwest Gaming Classic 2019

I used to do recaps of the Midwest Gaming Classic every year. Then from 2016-2018 I didn't because I thought I was too busy. I attended every one during that time, even the blizzard one in 2018. Those three years are generally a dark period for new content on this site. That changed recently when I quit social media cold turkey.

Last year I decided that social media was killing my productivity and generally making me unhappy. I'm coming around to thinking it's one of the worst things our species has invented. We have measles outbreaks today because of social media. Measles, seriously people. It seems like it's only good at helping trolls and crackpots reach a wider audience. Since quitting social media I've written over 10 new things for this site, including 3 things that will be posted during Christmastime 2019. That's more than the entire span of 2016-2018.

So yeah, Midwest Gaming Classic 2019. It was a great show. Sure there was another blizzard but it's indoors and there's covered parking. Even with the hiatus I've done a lot of these galleries so I'm trying to limit this one to "things that are new or interesting to me".

Now there are two very important notes about this gallery:

1) This only represents about 10% of the entire show. I don't have photos from panels because I feel weird photographing people I don't know without their permission. I know I am now in a tiny minority on this. It's also a matter of the show growing. My 2004 recap covered ~80% of the show in just 10 pictures. This recap will come in at over 80 pictures and that's now a tiny portion of the event. The Midwest Gaming Classic has grown so much it's amazing to the 20 or so people that have been going since it was in the dimly-lit basement of a hotel.

2) I take the worst pictures on earth. I don't understand lighting or perspective. Many of these are at weird angles because I'm trying to avoid getting people in the background (see previous point). I'm honestly surprised the organizers of the event haven't asked me to take down these galleries because of how poorly I represent their show.


CIB NES collection 1

I was there when both of my children were born and I can say this collection of NES games is the most beautiful thing I've seen in my life. This is how I would wallpaper my house if I stumbled into some completely stupid amount of money. I don't know it for a fact, but I assume most of these games were collected before the video game price bubble we're still in.

CIB NES collection 2

There's a little bit of order to this collection. It's mostly alphabetical but some spots were grouped by series. I don't really have a better suggestion. In this hypothetical world where I can afford a collection like this I would probably group them by publisher.

CIB NES collection 3

This is sort of semi-alphabetical. One of the worst things about working in a video game store in the '90s was keeping the games in alphabetical order on the shelf. An even worse thing was arguing with co-workers about the definition of "alphabetical". In this collection they put Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge under the letter B. That's perfectly sensible but others would put it under E or N. E is the least defensible but I wouldn't argue with N. That part of the job was not good times.

CIB NES collection 4

This part has a few of my favorite covers. Defender of the Crown and Deja Vu rank highly for me. However, for reasons I can't explain Donkey Kong Classics is like one of my top 5 NES box arts.

CIB NES collection 5

I only added this one to make people drool over DuckTales 2.

CIB NES collection 6

I guess Bubble Bobble 2 is rarer than DuckTales 2, or I think it is. Hold on, let me consult the ebay.. OK, Bubble Bobble 2 wins.

Cool World price sticker

Yeah, you read that right - $4.99. Someone who started collecting CIB NES games in roughly 1992 scored a ton of great bargains like this. Every remaining Sears is basically a surplus store now.

Monster Party price sticker

Why am I only learning of the Sears Surplus Store now? I don't want to think about the deals it had up until whenever they stopped selling video games.

Quattro price sticker

Anytime I see an Electronics Boutique sticker I will take a picture of it. Quattro whatever was down to $29.99 in December 1992 [source: me] so I would date this purchase to just before then.

T+C Surf Design

T&C Surf Design just might be my favorite NES cover art. I can't explain why other than it's just so incredibly '80s. I don't surf or skateboard or have any interest in trying. It's just great box art, that's all.

NES CIB banner

Here's who provided the collection, go check them out and stuff.

Rare stuff

Here's a bunch of rare stuff. This is possibly the first time I've seen a Gizmondo in person (unless some previous MGC gallery disproves this).

Nintendo jumpsuits

Nintendo World Championship jumpsuits. I can honestly say I would wear these in public if given the opportunity.

Dragon's Lair

This was one of my favorite exhibits just because of the deep nostalgia I feel for Dragon's Lair. This was a port for a TI computer that looked remarkably good. It reminded me a bit of the equally impressive Game Boy Color port.

Coleco Combat

No, this is not a rip-off of Combat on the 2600 - it's the other way around. Yes, I had to look that up to be sure.

Computer Perfection

Like pretty much everyone else my age I owned a Perfection game. It was challenging the first 2-3 times you played it then it was boring. This was the first time I saw Computer Perfection which is like the 2.0 version of that game. I watched some videos of people trying it and wow does it look impossible.

Eternal Champions

Here's a bold statement, Eternal Champions for Sega CD is the best 1:1 fighter on that console. Normally I would argue for Mortal Kombat but the mid-fight loading delays knocked it down a few places. If you want to argue that the Sega CD version of Samurai Shodown is better that's fine with me. It's all a matter of personal preference anyway so pick Revengers of Vengeance for all I care.

Smaller green C64

Lack of space is the main thing preventing me from having a room filled with computers and consoles hooked-up to various oddball TVs.


I like games that are blunt like this.

C64 with Atari paddle

There is so much going on in this setup I don't know where to begin. I just know that I admire whoever figured this all out.

C64 SX

Here's a much smaller screen version of the previous game. I would have to build some kind of screen magnifier to program on this computer but it would be totally worth it.

Commodore PET

Here's my now traditional Commodore PET picture. I usually try to limit these galleries to new items but this is so amazing looking that I can't resist including it each time. It looks like something that would launch a nuclear weapon.


I think the Videobrain is now number one on my list of things I wish I owned. It might even be ahead of the SuperGrafx now. This first appeared at the 2016 show (unless I missed it previously) and I was immediately enthralled with it.

Videobrain keyboard

Look at that, it's amazing to me at least. 100% no hyperbole here, I would enjoy trying to write a few programs on this thing.


This Spectravideo was fun too. It's not as high on my wishlist but it would still be interesting to tinker around with.

Panasonic Sr. Partner

I don't recall seeing one of these beauties before. It looks like something a spy would use in a 1980s film.


I'm going to have to tape a sign like this to my chest soon.

Odyssey2 The Voice

Here's a random Odyssey picture. I took it because Odyssey pictures seem to be a big hit according to the last time I looked at traffic for this site. That was quite a while ago now though.


The Pippin is now a regular fixture at the show. They only ever have this one game which tells you a lot about the rest of the library.

Magical Chase

Here's a truly awful picture of Magical Chase. Although I claim all these pictures are bad this one sets a new low.

Reaperi Cycle

Here's a new(?) homebrew Dreamcast game.

Tutor Vision

I've seen the Tutor Vision at previous shows and just disregarded it as some Sears knockoff system. This time around I bothered to take the 3 seconds to Google it and realized how wrong I was. I now see it as an amazing concept that had no chance of working. That kind of sums up everything about the Intellivision I suppose.

Tempest 2000 on Nuon

Tempest 2000 on the Nuon. The Nuon, like the CD-i, is why you need to check the VHS/DVD player section of your local thrift store every week.

TRS-80 Model 4P

Here's another computer with that 1980s movie spy theme thing going on.

Road Rash for 3DO

I know it's hard to tell from this awful picture but it's Road Rash on the 3DO. I will personally attest to this being a game that sold quite a few systems.

Arcade & Pinball

TurboGrafx-16 arcade cabinet

There is a new arcade coming soon to the Chicago area called Arcade 816. They have a new premise - offering up console games in custom arcade cabinets. It's a new idea to me at least. I was impressed with their cabinet designs. My pictures do not do these any justice. Here's the TurboGrafx-16 variant.

Sega Master System arcade cabinet

I assume they could make a few bucks selling kits for these cabinets too. They all look amazing and it would be tough to choose just one of them.

Super Nintendo arcade cabinet

The Super Nintendo one was of course very popular from what I could tell. There's no shortage of games for the system that work in this format.

Atari 2600 arcade cabinet

The Atari 2600 variant might work best with Combat.

Game Boy arcade cabinet

This also sort of doubles as a GameCube cabinet.


Here's the arcade game I spent the most time on, same story last year. It's a choose your own adventure style FMV game called Deathstalker. It was developed in the '80s but never released. The folks at Galloping Ghost somehow got the original source and added new menus to make it a working prototype. I would not hesitate to back a crowdfunding project to release a home or mobile version of Deathstalker.

Batman pinball

1989 Batman pinball - again not a great picture. This was a little on the difficult side.

Lost World and Firepower

The artwork on these two completely screams 1978-1981.

Dracula pinball prototype

I've always liked the aesthetics of the Dracula pinball game even if it's a bit unfair in terms of difficulty. At this year's show they had a regular Dracula pinball and this extremely rare prototype.

Melty Blood

I assume this is based on a series that never made it over to the US.

Super Flipper

This is one of weirdest, and unfortunately worst, things I played all day. The hardware appears to be something close to an original Odyssey variant but you don't have control over the paddles, they can just be shifted from one fixed position to another. It's a neat novelty item and I assume very collectible. It's not something you'd want to play for more than a couple seconds though.

Monster Bash pinball

There were about a dozen of these Monster Bash machines so I assume it's a newly produced thing. It was good, not too difficult and lots of campy horror movie art.


In Timber you control the bartender from Tapper who has become a lumberjack for some reason. Unless of course this is a prequel to Tapper. It's OK. I'm much more interested in the life story of the main character.

Ghost in the Shell pinball

This is a homemade work in-progress Ghost in the Shell pinball machine. I can't imagine the effort involved in creating this.

Mousin' Around and Sorcerer

I'm kind of running out of steam for writing comments faster than I expected here. Neat artwork here and all that, let's move to the vendor hall...

Vendor Hall

Random stuff

Here's a table of complete randomness. Also known as the best kind of table.

C64 games

Several mostly really old computer games for sale. There are always a ton of console games for sale here but computer games are a bit more scarce.

Intellivisions and Odyssey

Here are some early boxed consoles. The Intellivision II box is possibly my favorite console box, it's either that or the Jaguar.

GameCube imports

Some import GameCube games, these are kind of a new thing at the show unless I missed them before (always possible).

Saturn imports

Import Saturn games have been there for a few years now. I own a few import Saturn games just because I have some weird obsession with collecting Falcom games.

Imports games

Even more import games - in general the number of vendors selling import games has grown considerably in the past 3-4 years.

Longbox games

I wish Sony stuck with this design for PlayStation boxes. I realize the jewel cases are cheaper or whatever but these look so much nicer.

Wii U games

A sign of the times - most used game vendors had a pile of Wii U games and a couple also had Switch titles.

TurboGrafx-16 games

Pricey boxed TurboGrafx-16 games. I assume something like 99.9% of people threw these boxes away back in the day thus radically increasing their value now.

Dollar box

Some dollar junk boxes, which are always fun to explore.

Junk boxes

Some more junk boxes and cheap PlayStation games.

Untested systems

I'm sure someone thought this was a goldmine.

Floppy disks

I think I could have worked them down to $21 for the entire box. I doubt most of these work but they'd make great wallpaper.

SN Programmable stick

I'm declaring this the worst deal of show since it's a very bad joystick, it doesn't improve with age.

Other Exhibits

Full Quiet for NES

Here's a new NES game called Full Quiet which is one of the most visually impressive games on the system. You can't tell from my bad picture but it has parallax scrolling (or a very good imitation of it).

Halcyon for NES

This is a work in-progress NES game called Halcyon that resembles Blaster Master. This version was very good so I expect the final game to be outstanding.

Super Homebrew War for NES

Another homebrew NES game called Super Homebrew War.

Spook-o-Tron for NES

Here's a Robotron-inspired homebrew NES game called Spook-o-Tron. This was also fun and probably would have been in hit in like 1987.

Tailgate Party for NES

Tailgate Party is a homebrew NES game that uses the Power Pad. Awesome idea.

Homebrew NES games

Various homebrew NES games.

Mario pinball

I've never seen this pinball game before. Like many Japanese arcade cabinets it is meant to be played while seated.

Super Nintendo Championship

A reproduction PowerFest '94 cartridge.

Jurassic Park games

A (not complete) collection of Jurassic Park games.

Epoch Cassette Vision

This is the first time I recall playing an Epoch Cassette Vision. The controllers are funky but the system seems to have a lot of potential.

Astro Wars

By 1984 home console standards, this is an impressive screen.

RCA Studio II

This RCA Studio II was hooked-up but didn't appear to work.

Odyssey volleyball

Volleyball on the Odyssey, not the most accurate portrayal of the sport. It was an innovate idea in its time regardless.

Royal Rumble pinball

A Royal Rumble pinball that was not in the pinball room. It's from that short window of time when Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger were both in the WWF (early 1993).

Portable GameCube

This portable GameCube would take me at least 12 years to make and I'd ruin roughly 30 consoles in the process.

150 commercials

Here's a NES cartridge with a bunch of commercials in case that's something you want.

Blue PlayStation

This is a rare blue PlayStation. Yeah my picture is terrible but it really does look more black than blue in person.

Virtual Boy with TV out

A Virtual Boy modded to also have a TV-out. It's like a dual-screen thing now so you can still play it through the goggles and risk permanent eye damage.

Vectrex cabinet

Here's another project that would take me 12 years - a Vectrex modded into an arcade cabinet.

Vectrex homebrew games

I had no idea there were this many homebrew Vectrex games. This is awesome to see.

Combat Two

Just in case you don't own 7-8 different Atari Flashback-y consoles, here's one you could play at the show.


Here's a terrible picture of Pepsiman, which itself is not a terrible game. It's a basic endless runner style game, I'm surprised it's not a mobile game (or maybe it is).

GameCube lounge

One of the sponsors of the show was a company selling HDMI adapters for the GameCube. They looked great and everything but the $120 price sticker was too much for me. They had a lounge area and I'm not sure how you earned some time in it. I assume buying a $120 gizmo would do it. Anyway, look for a setup like this in my backyard this summer.

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