I've attended every Midwest Gaming Classic since 2004 and posted middling recaps for most of them. These recaps are not very thorough and this will not be an exception. Each visit I find some new and interesting things, that's what I post about. The show has way more content than what I cover.
For example, there's a giant room for tabletop gaming that looks to have >100 games available to try. That's not my thing so I don't have any photos of it. Sometimes I like attending panels but usually I'm with someone who doesn't so those are out too. That's totally fine, there's probably a recording online somewhere anyway. I usually run into a couple people I know at the show. That's fun but I'm not very social and don't attend any of the meetup type events. This has all been a very long way of saying my recaps are maybe 50% of the event.
The show has changed a lot over the years and that is not a complaint. If the show didn't continuously evolve it would have ended long ago. Every year there are things I enjoy and, yes, things I didn't enjoy. For example, this year there were many vendors selling things other than video games. These existed in the past but now I'd estimate over half the vendors are not selling games. That's great, the supply of old games certainly isn't increasing over time and filling the space with gaming-adjacent vendors works out well. There are so many new things to peruse. On the flip-side, the 2023 show was way too crowded. This was the case before the show moved to the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee 4-5 years ago. It now seems to have outgrown that facility too. It's awesome to see the show doing so well but it's very hard to navigate. It feels a lot like it did in its previous location before the move. The next step up is probably a venue that costs 10x more.
I noted last year that my usual bad pictures were even worse due to the crowd sizes. Getting a picture of anything without someone in the way is nearly impossible. So these photos again are at weird angles and oddly cropped. Trust me, the show looks way better in person.
See what I mean? This table was selling a vending machine. I have not seen that before.
In case you're curious about the asking price.
Prices have bottomed-out for common 2600 games. I predict we'll see a "games by the foot" service someday selling them in bulk. I'm probably repeating something I said in another gallery.
In the 20ish years I've followed retro game prices the 5200 is the most stable. Working systems are tough to find but loose games hover between $1-$5 always.
Here we have someone perpetuating the Amiibo scalping culture we're stuck living in.
Yup, cases only at this table.
These mini backpacks made a couple appearances. This booth was near the entrance of the vendor hall.
These backpacks were a little deeper into the hall.
Here's an assortment of 3rd party controllers for sale. I own half of these.
There seemed to be more vendors with floor bins of common games than previous years. I never counted before though.
Seeing import games in bins was definitely less common in past years. I think some vendors went overboard in buying them.
Here's another example of a vendor with more import games than they know what to do with.
In case you wondered what consoles prices were like this year. People are still trying to scalp the NES Classic I see. I hope they're stuck with them forever.
There was a good amount of Dungeons & Dragons merchandise this year. Offhand there were at least 5 vendors selling books or dice.
This vendor had some very nice looking dice cases.
Figures, yeah, many tables selling figures this year. This again is something that is not new to the vendor hall but now instead of one table there were at least five.
I only saw one free box this time around. It had about what you'd expect.
We're about to see a block of "go home, you're drunk" prices. Just prepare yourself for that. Like this storage box from the 1980s. I get that there aren't a ton of these just floating around today but, uh, wow.
These Game Boy Advance prices.. I can't even. I understand that the original hardware wears out and the supply decreases every year. There are so many other ways to play Game Boy Advance games though. I own at least three things that aren't a Game Boy Advance that can play the cartridges.
OK, yeah, good luck.
Who is buying Rocket Knight for $135?
UMD movies are still dirt cheap though. I don't see them suddenly becoming a hot item.
Is Minish Cap even a rare game? It's not like Zelda games didn't sell in massive quantities for a popular handheld system. Also can't you straight-up play it for (sort of) free on the Switch now?
You know what, this is fine. Really, I don't know why there aren't more CD/DVD vendors. It's a convention for people that generally prefer to own physical media.
I understand better than almost anyone that cardboard Sega CD boxes are rare. No one needs to explain that to me. Monkey Island on Sega CD literally had a reprint like a year ago for 1/3 of this price. So if you're buying games to play them, crazy idea, this is totally bonkers. Also you can probably get it on Steam for $1 right now. That's the reason to buy games right? To actually play them?
The M in the corner is a giveaway that this is the TurboGrafx-16 classic mini (or whatever it's called) that was $99. There was no limit on pre-orders for it.
At first I thought this was a Nintendo 64 signed by Ric Flair. That would be strange, not surprising though. No, this is signed by Charles Martinet (the real voice of Mario).
If people are actually paying $39.99 for original Atari 2600 controllers then maybe I can retire early.
I'm sure Panic for Sega CD is rare since no one bought it.. because it's not something most people want to play.. which is why you shouldn't pay $120 for it now. I should note that I own this game and if it really goes for even half this much I probably won't for long.
I have mixed feelings here. Clearly these are not licensed posters and someone is making money on bootlegs. On the other hand, they do look nice and most are for box art that isn't being sold in poster form (Super Mario 3 is the only immediate exception I see). Hmm.. I suppose you could print these yourself at CVS or wherever for ~$5. Wait, why haven't I done that for some of my favorite box art?
These Pokemon prices are of course not surprising. These prices are also why a product coming-up soon is so popular lately...
Also not surprising is the Japanese versions being relative bargains.
Pack-in games with an asking price of $99.99. The average pack-in game goes for $99 less than that. I literally gave away almost 200 copies of Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt which should be factored into that average price projection.
Here's the product I teased - R4 cards. These were $15 with no romz. Compared to an Everdrive that is an awesome price. However, using these requires a lot of setup work.
Sorry for not getting the price stickers on these but I recall they were reasonable.
Some of these were kind of tempting.
I mentioned the show being packed right? There was one impossible to ignore abandoned section - the Wata table. Excellent.
This is the same expression I had every time I saw the empty Wata table.
Here are two bins of Star Wars figures people bought in the late 1990s / early 2000s thinking they would be worth hundreds today.
There were a few vendors with bargains - this one had a huge crowd around their bins. I never really liked getting close to strangers before the whole Covid thing so I didn't squeeze in to see what they had.
Just an assortment of games since people like pictures of that.
I probably included this one in previous recaps. This vendor is always there.
This section of $3 Wii games had some legit good titles in it. You may not see them but all the Lego whatever games were included. Those are all roughly the same game and incredibly fun.
There was a vendor selling their Zelda artwork and it all looked great.
Seriously, it would take me a year to create something that looked half this cool.
Alright, last vendor pic - some import PlayStation games relegated to bin status. This gels with my theory that some vendors went on buying sprees when import games were uncommon and a little pricier. Now they can't get rid of them.
In the hallway there was a jukebox blasting game music.
Here is a small sample of the tracks included. Kudos to whoever put in the work to create this.
Alright, off to the gaming area. Here's Dizzy on an Amiga 500.
I will pretty much always snap a picture of an Aquarius whenever I can. It really is one of my favorite computer form factors.
Again not counting, but I think there were more pinball machines than last year. Definitely more "new to me" ones like Big Guns. This is the point where someone will note that I had it in another recap.
Here is a homebrew TurboGrafx-16 game called Billy's Bad Day. It is a 1:1 fighter reminiscent of Urban Champion.
This picture doesn't do the game justice. It featured impressive digitized backgrounds. I know this was a lot of work to create.
I can't recall if Blasteroids made an appearance at a prior show.
I think Cactus Canyon was there last year. Yeah, I could just check what I already posted to confirm. [...] OK, it was there last year and I even posted a better picture than this one.
This is another photo that doesn't do the game justice. Caribbean Cruise looks amazing in person. I would gladly replace my coffee table with this.
Daytona USA with the official Sega brand wheel is a staple of the show. Why not? I'm positive few visitors owned that wheel in 1995.
This was the first time I played Donkey Konga. Neat idea, not really my thing.
Doodle World, a game I recommend, is getting a sequel. An early prototype was playable.
There was a line of James Bond themed pinball games this year. From a distance this could be mistaken for something from the 1970s.
This looks nice but I prefer the black version we got in the US.
New Elvira pinball, not to be confused with the much older Elvira pinball.
A pinball game from when the year 2000 seemed distant. I suppose it does again now... this game was probably made closer to 2000 than we are right now. [Note: my offhand estimate totally checks out since this was produced in 1980.]
The main attraction this year was Foo Fighters pinball. There were about a dozen cabinets and they all had a line.
Quick snapshot of the board. It plays like a lot of modern pinball games. It supports up to four players and tries to keep the rounds short. It's for parties really.
An Apple II GS in a lonely spot.
This cabinet looked like it weighed 2000 pounds. I also appreciate games with simple, direct titles.
This is a Mini PET kit that you can still order. This is a nice alternative to maintaining (and finding space for) the original hardware.
Sadly this experienced some malfunction before I could try it.
The very stormtrooper-looking PC Engine + CD.
I admit it, I don't know the name of this Pong clone. Maybe it even pre-dates Pong. I'm totally clueless.
Here's the controller up close. It looks like a 1970s dishwasher knob. A reverse image search came back with various old radios.
Speaking of simple names, here you go. Rock. Just Rock.
The board is interesting, I like pinball games with multiple playable sections like this.
Here's a homebrew NES game called Skate Cat. I've come to appreciate that even very simple looking homebrew games take a ton of work to finish.
Scooby Doo was, I think, new this year. There were very few cabinets, maybe only four. They all had a line. It took a while to get close to one.
Same comment from the Foo Fighters game... this is meant for a group of four playing rapid rounds.
Space Ace is difficult enough in arcade form. The Apple II GS version looks amazing but I couldn't clear the first screen.
I think this is "new to me" also. That is some extremely 1980s fantasy artwork.
This has to be based on a CB radio form factor right?
With the buzz about the Tetris movie there were many ways to play it this year.
Toy Story 4 pinball is the same story as Scooby Doo pinball. There were about four of them and they were extremely popular. They could have had twenty of these and there would still be a line.
This is an example of a work in-progress homemade pinball machine. Very neat to see.
This is not new but I don't recall seeing it for a few years.
I'm not huge into light gun games. Vampire Night is about right for me. The setting and graphics are a style I usually like. The difficulty isn't bad either.
Video Sports also had to start from a CB radio form factor I imagine.
Let's wrap it up with some robots standing next to a Bally Astrocade.
Overall, this was a good show with a lot of new things to check out. Take my comments about the crowds and game prices with a grain of salt. The crowds mean the show is doing well. The prices are whatever, they'll fluctuate. Based on which games were popular I expect they'll rearrange the 2024 show to give more room to the newer pinball machines. Maybe the whole gaming area will be cabinets with the computers & consoles spread across several smaller rooms (like the layout at the previous location). Who knows. Whatever the case I expect to be there next year.