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NWCGE 2K8 Portland Retro Gaming Expo - Recap

Wow, what a great event this was! Two days of non-stop classic gaming goodness in Portland as over 200 attendees played, traded, bought and sold classic and new video games!

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What set this event apart was the large number of private collectors that sold and traded at their own booths. Some of the people sold their extras and duplicates at unbelievable prices!

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There were about 25 vendors total offering everything from very early Odyssey games (complete with full-size TV overlays), handhelds, VFD table tops, to Atari rarities, custom-made dust covers, Vectrex, ColecoVision games and newer things like PS3, Xbox 360 etc. Even some more unusual systems showed up: NEO GEO, Commodore Amiga, Philips CDi, various store kiosks and much more.

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The kiosks were set up for play, so were a few arcade machines, like this Pac-Man (one of the first 1000 made, see the blue speckles on the side).

Overall there were tens of thousands of games and consoles for sale and trade!

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There were also many rare import games and game related items as well as some real classic game treasures.

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John, Rick the two organizers and Lee, all from NWCGE. Nice referee shirts from Twin Galaxies!

ATARI 2600 CHAMPIONSHIP

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The first highlight of Day 1 was the annual Portland Atari 2600 Championship!

The initial qualifying round was a high-score match of Fastfood with last year's champion James R. achieving the fantastic top score of 11309 points!

Twelve people made it into the second round where they went head-to-head with Surround. I was amazed how filled up some of the screens got, the players demonstrated a lot of skill here.

The surviving six players James R., Lee, Jordon, Mike (last year's runner-up), Anthony and Hans now faced the Quarter Finals with a high-score round of Super Cobra.

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To the big surprise of everybody James R. and Mike - last year's #1 and #2 both got eliminated and dropped out!

The Semi Finals had a head-to-head in Space War and Lee and Jordon moved on to the Finals. Scores were close, both matches were won 10-8.

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In the Finals then Lee and Jordon faced off on the ingenious Ebivision Pac-Man, the best Pac-Man game on the Atari 2600 bar none. Lee got the high-score with a solid 17230 points with Jordon being a close second with 15090 points!

First prize was $100 in gift certificates, second prize was $50 and third prize was still $25.

HIGH SCORE MOVIE WITH Q&A

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The second highlight of Day 1 was the showing of the movie HIGH SCORE from Jeremy Mack with the star of the movie Portland's Bill Carlton participating and staying for a Q&A session afterwards.

I had seen Bill in Seattle a few months ago and the showing here at the game expo was definitely much more in depth and quite enjoyable. Bill also signed a lot of memorabilia while I chatted with his girlfriend and learned that Bill now ones dozens of classic arcades. That guy is serious about classic gaming!

For the people with energy left Portland's premier classic arcade Ground Kontrol gave out discounts to show attendees.

SUNDAY - DAY 2

Sunday proved to be just as busy as Saturday with some additional vendors showing up and many of the private collectors starting to aggressively discounting their goodies (leading to manic rushes)!

Scott Boothby brought his full-size home-built R2-D2 and drove it through the exhibition hall prompting Anthony from Portland's Ground Kontrol to go into Luke Skywalker-mode.

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Day 2 also brought some additional contests: 8-player Bomberman by the Portland Hobby Fair, Call of Duty 4 contest and the N64 Championship!

There were also numerous raffles: Video Game Wizards raffled off a new Nintendo Wii, Josh a Dreamcast kiosk and Deepend Gear two new Wii Fit sets for various charities.

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I had to leave before the N64 Championship finished but I was told it was awesome!

Overall the 2008 NWCGE Portland Retro Gaming Expo was an awesome show, well worth the drive from Seattle! A big thanks to Rick, John, Chuck, Toby, Jon and Billy to get this organized!

I can't wait until next year!