After an unplanned 18-month delay the Midwest Gaming Classic returned in early November 2021. It seemed a little smaller than the last 2-3 events but that is completely understandable. I'm sure some were hesitant to attend for completely opposite reasons. I say enough things to alienate visitors already and won't go any further into this topic.
Unlike previous years I'm not posting full-size photos because it's more work than I have time for now. Seriously, 2021 has been a crazy busy year for me. Some of it good, some of it very not good. When I do finally have a break I'll probably want to spend it on another game demo. This relative quicky recap is the best I can manage.
Another change is these images are organized by the order I took them. So you can experience my chaotic path through the show if that's something you wanted.
Always the same is how very bad I am at taking pictures. I don't plan to improve. I know nothing about angles or lighting and that should be obvious. If you want a better look then head over to the next show. I assure you it is 100x better than my recap suggests.
For unknown reasons I was immediately drawn to this Sky Shark cabinet. Perhaps because I never played the real arcade version of it before. I did terribly but it was fun.
Gorf is a game I first saw in a pizza shop. Calling it a "pizzeria" makes it sound much fancier than it was. I doubt it's still in business. They had Gorf until it was replaced with Tron. I never got to play Gorf back then and I try it every chance I get. It's second to Galaga in its specific genre for me.
I don't think I've seen Triple Action pinball before.
I'm even more sure I haven't seen Metal Man pinball before. Black Sabbath could not be reached for comment.
50% chance I saw this Rob Zombie pinball last time.
If this Space Invaders cabinet was not originally in a Pizza Hut I would be very surprised.
Dogies is another pinball cabinet I don't recall seeing in previous years. This is the part where someone finds 10 photos of it in previous recaps.
A vendor selling some possibly unlicensed hats.
Over quarantine my youngest kid got into Pokemon and.. wow, is that an expensive series to get into late.
I now realize I should have bought this at Gamestop when it was new.
Some festive Kirby pillows.
There were seriously a lot of vendors with plushies this year. A.. lot. This is roughly 1 of 10.
The label is hard to read but this vendor is asking $50 for Asteka II. I bought this for $10 many years ago. I think Falcom stuff is beginning to get expensive now that more than 5 people in America heard of them.
There were also a lot of vendors selling import games. Seriously, at least half had import games.
There were dozens of shelves that looked just like this one.
This stuff drives me mad. You can literally walk into any Hallmark store right now (November 2021) and buy this ornament at list price.
I am 100% positive I gave a few of these away in the 1990s. Illusion of Gaia was not a big seller but the dozen or so people that bought it at my store got a free t-shirt. I could have taken one but wasn't familiar with the series. I couldn't bare to look at the price tag.
Many vendors also had cheap (common) GameCube games.
I don't understand the Piepacker at all. So the idea is you can play your physical games in the cloud? Like the game you literally have in your hand, you plug it into this thing and then can play it online? That's the point? Why would anyone ever want to do that? I'm 99.9% confident with a cart dumper and RetroArch you can do this already.
Here's the demo which is Super Mario Kart running in a browser. I didn't see the actual hardware or any pie in the exhibit.
One room had a bunch of old-school light gun games hooked-up to older-school TVs that could play them.
Here's the Atari 7800 with light gun. I think for most this would be their only opportunity to try it out.
NES and Sega Master System light gun games were going too.
Donkey Kong on ColecoVision is very good port.
Any time I see a Vectrex I have to take a picture.
Even if there are two next to each other that are identical.
I think I'll spend the rest of the night Googling whether anyone stuck a Raspberry Pi in one of these and built an awesome arcade emulation box.
The Intellivision version of Burgertime is the best. I will not accept any arguments to the contrary.
VR64, neat idea. Coming off of the whole Covid thing there is no way I'm sticking my face in anything though.
Rampage on Tandy Color Computer looks nice but is rough to play.
There were two demo units for the upcoming Mandalorian pinball with a huge line. This is as close as I got (on Saturday).
This is a new-to-me game. It's a horseshoe game that I couldn't get the hang of.
Every time I go to a thrift store I look for a Nuon hidden among the DVD players. I found a CD-i using this approach and expect it to eventually work again.
Of course I understand the Nuon has 5 games and the only borderline decent one is Tempest 3000 which is not as good as the Jaguar version (yes, I know that is Tempest 2000 but they are very same-y). None of that would stop me from buying one.
Next to the Nuon was a Jaguar with Total Carnage. This is not a good port of the game.
Quick homebrew NES game recommendation - Doodle World. It's a platformer with a super-easy mode for kids. I bought it back when it was a Kickstarter. It's really fun for all ages.
Here's Coca-Cola Kid running on a setup I've haven't seen before that runs Game Game games on a TV.
I couldn't get a good look at what was going on here but I believe this is a RetronN with a homemade adapter.
Here's the Japan-exclusive version of Bonk's Adventure for GameCube. I played through the first stage. It was OK, I prefer the original.
Sorry I couldn't get a better picture of the system Bonk's Adventure was playing on.
I enjoy the artwork on many of the older pinball games.
Pictured above is the worst possible way to play Dig Dug.
Yeah, some random shelves in the vendor area.
Some Vectrex games for sale.
The junk bins this year seemed junkier than ever.
Seriously, just toss this stuff.
The Pico-8 is something I would definitely like to try out.
Moon Patrol on the 5200 is a slightly better experience than Dig Dug on the 5200.
I will avoid saying something uninformed about this Neo Geo setup.
I really admire how long these old systems can last vs modern ones.
I find this to be the only acceptable way to play the Virtual Boy.
I can clearly picture myself finding one of these at a yard sale. Really, I've been to at least one sale that was all McDonalds displays (former and possibly deceased store manager). I can also picture myself not mounting it to the wall correctly and causing thousands in damages.
I like the visual style of these cabinets.
The Saturn steering wheel works well enough. It's not a bad system for racing games overall.
A simulated version of Tales from the Crypt pinball. There was a real version around too but it was always crowded.
Like previous years there was a good assortment of very old pinball cabinets.
This was my last stop on Saturday.
I arrived early on Sunday and managed to try the Mandalorian pinball machine. It has a lot going on - videos, a second play area, and so on.
The part that people care about the most is whether it has Baby Yoda. Yes, it does. He is forever trapped inside.
The Mattel Aquarius is another thing I would like to try programming whenever I find time. Oh, I guess I have to buy one first. Wish me luck with that.
Pitfall II (or is this Super Pitfall?) is a rather annoying game.
Everyone's favorite computer case.
Atari Video Pinball was a good idea for its time. It's still fun today.
There was a whole mini section dedicated to early Atari devices.
The original (I think) home version of Pong.
I don't recall seeing this cabinet before, it is elaborate and I assume rare.
I blocked this TMNT remake from my memory. Like Bonk's Adventure on GameCube, I think this looked better in 16-bit form.
I own about half of this Pac Man merchandise. I wouldn't mind owning the skates but these were not in great condition.
A couple more super junky junk bins.
I heard about a business possibly called "Books by the Foot" who had booming sales during the pandemic. In an attempt to look smart people wanted to have fully-stocked bookshelves behind them during video calls. The contents of the books were irrelevant. There could 100% be a video game version of this for aspiring "dude standing in front of a wall of games" YouTubers. If the games are just a little out of focus no one will know they are stacks of very cheap common titles.
I thought this was a funny sign.
My theoretical "Games by the Foot" business could include Famicom games for sure. Not these here, these are rare I suppose. Famicom games that require Japanese fluency are still largely cheap and plentiful.
I'll not rag on the Atari 5200 this time. Star Wars Arcade looks and play nicely on it.
The Coleco Combat clone hooked-up to a very genuine-experience TV.
For no reason, let's wrap this up with some Atari memorabilia.
As usual I know I didn't do the show a ton of justice. I hope that by seeing the variety of games at the Midwest Gaming Classic I encourage just one person to attend. Barring a new pandemic I'll see you there in 2022.