February 15, 2011

Nintendo World Champions at the Cowlitz Classic Video Game Show

1990 Nintendo World Champions Thor Aackerlund (1st Place) and Robin Mihara (3rd Place) will speak at the 2nd Annual Cowlitz Gamers for Kids Classic Video Game Show on April 9th, 2011 in a special panel discussion. They will share their experiences competing in the 1990 Nintendo World Championships and answer attendee questions. Additionally, they'll compete in an exhibition match on the original NWC competition cartridge used by Nintendo for the 1990 NWC.

Our friends from the Portland Retro Gaming Expo put up a fantastic show in Cowlitz last year. The 2011 show promises to be even bigger and now with the added star power of Thor and Robin it will be a blast!


Robin will discuss the upcoming release of the tentatively titled film "Ecstacy of Order: The Tetris Masters" that follows several top gamers as they compete in the 2010 Tetris World Championships. Some footage for Ecstacy of Order was shot at last year’s Cowlitz Gamers for Kids Classic Video Game Show!

On the heels of last year's successful event, our own John H. is organizing the 2nd Annual Cowlitz Gamers for Kids Classic Video Game Show on April 9th in Kelso, WA. Last year we helped John raise over $1,300 for the Childrens Justice and Advocacy Center (CJAC) and we're convinced we can do better this year with your help! PRGE is absorbing much of the cost of putting on this show so that 100% of the admission will go directly to CJAC.

The show will be on Saturday, April 9, 2011 at the Kelso Red Lion Hotel in Kelso, Washington. Kelso is about 1 hour north of Portland or 2 hours south of Seattle on I-5. Doors open at 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Admission is a suggested donation of $5 to CJAC, although we invite you to contribute more if you can! The event is child-friendly so please feel free to bring the entire family!

    Kelso Red Lion
    510 Kelso Dr.
    Kelso, WA 98626
    See map

More information and all the details can be found right here!

September 19, 2010

2010 Portland Retro Gaming Expo In Full Swing

PRGE kicked off this morning at 9:00 with a big crowd of pre-sold ticket holders rushing the main exhibition hall. Within minutes the main hall was full and soon after that the console play tables filled up as well. What a great start for this year’s show.

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I saw some amazing deals for classic hardware and software, some at less than a quarter than the usual Ebay prices and that without shipping costs of course. Tonight there will be a classic gaming auction and items I have seen so far include a HALO Master Chief statue, a LaserActive console, SEGA Genesis, Nintendo and Atari rarities and some 8-Bit home computer stuff.

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Tomorrow the show continues, head over to the official PRGE website and check out the details!

September 18, 2010

2010 Portland Retro Gaming Expo This Weekend 9/18 - 9/19!

It’s that time of year again! “Wockawockawocka” sounds from TV speakers, the smell of old capacitors fills the air and joysticks have just one fire button = it’s time for the 2010 Portland Retro Gaming Expo!

Since this event started 5 years ago it has gotten bigger and more popular every year and 2010 promises to be the biggest and best ever. There are tons of vendors (see photos below) setting up, the museum and console play area is huge and there are XX arcade machines on free play and growing. In addition we have keynotes with noted speakers such as Bill Carlton (“High Score” movie), Robin Mihara (3rd place winner of the 1990 Nintendo World Championships) and Bob Smith (20 year veteran Atari, Imagic and Accolade game programmer). This promises to be an awesome show!

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Here are some pictures from the vendor setups, notice tons and tons of classic games!

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They even set up a little retro corner with wood cabinet TV, scary looking couch, wood paneling and the mandatory black velvet painting – relive the past in style! (or lack thereof)

So come to Portland this Saturday and Sunday and geek out at the PRGE 2010!

July 19, 2010

10 Reasons to Visit CGE 2K10 in Las Vegas

Well, after a longer hiatus it’s that time of year again! Follow the wokka wokka sounds, the smell of old overheated capacitors and the shiny reflections of near-mint Spectravision labels on Atari 2600 cartridges! And if that alone isn’t enough to lure you to Vegas then here are 10 more reasons to go:

10. Vegas Baby! Vegas!

9. I can tell the wife/gf “I’m going to sell all that junk!” – just to come back with more :)

8. The CGE Museum will make your awesome world-class collection look pa-the-tic!

7. Geeked-out chip music Nerdvana!

6. A cold Corona for 50 Dollars? No, it’s not a strip club, it’s the CGE Auction!!!

5. Kunkels and Daglows and Cranes – oh my!

4. An Elvis impersonator playing Atari 2600? Hey, it might happen!

3. Somewhere in hundreds of banana boxes full of Pac-Mans and Combats hides a prototype!

2. It just might be your chance to touch Billy Mitchell’s hair!

1. Mystery boxes! ‘Nuff said!


August 11, 2008

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!


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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.


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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 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.


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!

April 26, 2008

Jet City Retro In Seattle Today (04/26/2008)

Saturday and Sunday is the Jet City Retro classic videogame show in Seattle's University District in the Deca Hotel. We showed up there early this morning and although things were still a bit slow there were some awesome deals! I bought quite a few games and played a few rounds of Vectrex, Frogger and watch some folks jam on Rockband in the free game rooms.

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Show banner with a nice Nintendo graphic, show floor on the right

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Before the opening of the show, tons of goodies are waiting to be unpacked! On the right: Nate (the organizer) being interviewed by KIRO 710 News Radio.

The Rockband room has a full setup with drums, mic and 2 guitars and if you ever wanted to try this game with a "full band" this is your chance! The second free game room has some arcade machines, a MAME cabinet, some classic consoles (Vectrex etc.) and lots of cartridges on loan!

For more information check out!

September 19, 2007

Classic Videogame Show in Portland, Oregon

If you have never heard about NWCGE but know your Nintendo and Atari and live in the Pacific Northwest you owe it to yourself to check out the NWCGE 2K7 Show!

Held at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center, 8439 NE Columbia Blvd in Portland, OR on September 29 and 30, 2007, this is the biggest and best in the Northwest! Last year saw some great contests and phenomenal deals on rare items!

Head on over to the NWCGE website and check it out!

July 30, 2007

Leaving Las Vegas...

Thanks Joe, John and Sean and the countless volunteers, alumni, vendors and attendees who made this CGE show a blast! NWCGE will be back next year in Las Vegas. As Elvis would have said: Thank you, thank you very much!


Sunday Impressions From CGE

Snake gets packed 8BW & Co.

Bill Kunkel Keith Robinson and Glyn Anderson (Intellivision programmers)

Need a Vectrex bag? Puppy Pong aka "Doctor Pong" Q*bert wind-up toys

Joe, John and Sean - the guys behind the show! Stampede for the 50 Cents bargain floor grab!

OK, so I like Q*bert - isn't he a Q*t? Wrap-Up!

More Pictures From CGE2K7

Vectrex Pitcher's Duel, one-of-a-kind engineering samples Gold Sudoku cart for NES

Leonard introducing Al Alcorn ComputeHer, 8BW, Mel-Bot

Crystal is armed and dangerous - promo-sword for Xbox game Don't mess with the Snake Par-tay!

Joe from announces the sale of the show exclusives Everybody say "Deeeeeeeegital Press Group Photo"!

Nick checking out mystery box o'crap Rarities at the swap session

Day One Of CGE2K7 In Las Vegas

Saturday had a full program: the show opened at 9:00 AM, with the swap room opening at 9:30 and the first keynote with Jay Smith (Vectrex) starting at 10:30. After some quick browsing for deals and the first batch of show exclusives I joined Jay's keynote. Together with Vectrex-fan Chris Romero Jay had lots of interesting stories around the birth of the Vectrex, the life and ultimately the demise of this unique game system. He also talked about some of the challenges and some of the resurrection and evolution attempts which ultimately were all doomed by the video game market crash in 1983/4.

Jay Smith, father of the Vectrex

During breaks 8-Bit Weapon supported by ComputeHer and Mel-Bot played some cool video game inspired tunes. Personally I like the setup from previous years (with the live drummer) better but 8BW, ComputeHer and Mel-Bot put on a great show!

ComputerHer, 8BW and Mel-Bot Activision programmers

After listening to the Activision keynote we took a quick lunch break and stocked up on some more classic games. The afternoon had keynotes by the Atari Programmers and a great session with Al Alcorn during which he did a nice PowerPoint show with some rare pictures. What impressed me was the family-type feel of these keynotes, the alumni were candid in their answers and talked freely about the screw-ups and trails and errors. Overall a great set of panels!

The evening brought the famous CGE auction which went way longer than expected. There were some fantastic collectables. From prototypes and limited edition cartridges to rare promotional items and even a full-size Solid Snake statue - this auction had it all! And since it was all for charity the bids went higher and higher, especially once the (in)famous mystery boxes (aka "box o'crap") were up.

John with two mystery boxes during the CGE auction Gold Mario and Crystal

The first two boxes were duds but the third box had a handful of prototypes in it! The fourth and final box went for $1500 and contained a absolutely mint Video Life with mint instructions - one of the holy grails of Atari 2600 collecting! This cart was over 20 years old and looked brand new - a fitting final mystery box! Throughout the event auctioneer John and spokes model Crystal provided lots of entertainment for a packed room

During the evening Tim of the Las Vegas Pinball Hall Of Fame had a party going - including shuttle service and of course the Digital Press CGE Afterpar-tay claimed its victims as well. The CGE party had video games, pizza, drinks, limited edition CGE shot glasses, Crystal and friends and a poker table with the occasional prototype in the pot to  heat things up.

Shots (out of limited edition CGE shot glasses) Nate taking the pot

July 28, 2007

CGE2K7 Ready To Go!

After peeking into the Alumni Dinner on the top floor of the Riviera the NWCGE group had dinner (good steaks @ Kristofer's) and decided to stop by the exhibition hall one more time: the museum had been re-arranged again, there is just to much classic videogaming goodness that needs to be displayed!


I love this retro-setup: Atari 2600 with ancient wood-grain console TV, decidedly fugly retro-couch and some tables with LPs - looks good enough to sit down for a round of Ms. Pac-Man!

We also met Jarett from Packrat Video Games who had arrived and was in the middle of setting up. Also lots of cool German stuff at Y-Bot/Toby's booth, like Saba and Nordmende Arcadia 2001 versions complete with boxes in great shape!

And finally John Hardie told me that some of my pictures from the "Great Dig Dug Drop" made it into the official CGE program this year - cool!

July 27, 2007

Countdown To CGE2K7 In Las Vegas

Just a few more hours and CGE2K7 opens! We checked out the museum and the exhibit hall this morning - wow! The museum is bigger than ever and already they had to bring in extra tables for all the goodies. Of course Chris Romero is there with his Vectrex collection, we spotted LaserActive, Jaguar, Nintendo, SEGA, some Apple goodies, tons of Atari stuff and more. Tomorrow I'll just have to spend a few hours and take pictures of all these items, there is so much stuff!

Museum - work in progressChris Romero, Rik Morgan and ? looking at Chris' Vectrex collection Goodies everywhere - look at the Woz signature on the Apple

The exhibition hall is all filled with tables and the first row of arcade games is up as well! Rick and John arrived with half of the NWCGE stuff, Rob and Brad should come in sometime today with the rest.

Arcade game goodness

July 26, 2007

CGE2K7 @ The Riviera Convention Center

Checked out the Riviera Convention Center today - it's huge! And CGE has rooms Royale 5 though 8 which is absolutely gigantic. If you have been to the shows in the past: this here is noticeably bigger!


Also: when you check in make sure to validate your little pink check-in ticket! Make sure it says Group CGEJL07 on it! Only that way are you guaranteed the upgraded rooms and the special event rate!

Borg Spheres, Klingons and Nerds - Oh My!

OK, so I like cheese. Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyère and cheesy Las Vegas shows and attractions. The "Star Trek Experience" at the Hilton is cheesy, but the good kind of cheesy that you pay extra for on your pizza. Nate and I signed up for the "Behind The Scenes"-tour and I was impressed. Our guide George Rieth was very good, patiently answered all the questions and willingly pointed out some of the more embarrassing things like mislabeled items, recycled props and sets etc. - quite humorous!


Before doing the tour Nate assimilated two "Borg Spheres", fuming neon-green alcoholic drinks. These guys were pretty potent, yikes, but maybe the rides are more fun that way :)

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Sure enough shortly after that Nate got assimilated by a Borg, ah well, he is part of the collective now.

July 25, 2007

Coming To You Live From Las Vegas...

Countdown to CGE 2K7 @ the Riviera Hotel & Casino! Four more days to the biggest classic videogame event in the US, the world? Nate, Tina and I arrived in Las Vegas today and while they are staying downtown at the Plaza (the site of previous CGE events) until the show starts I'm already at the Riviera.


The hotel is decent but nothing special, the rooms are good with no frills and the casino has an arcade with some older games - but nothing classic. If you mention the special CGE code CGEJL07 you not only help out the show but you also get upgraded rooms at a special rate!

For the next few days I'll be blogging live from Las Vegas and the CGE 2K7 via the glorious Windows Live Writer.

July 22, 2007

Classic Videogame Goodness

There are two classic video game events coming up! First is the event that almost single-handedly propelled classic gaming into the spotlight: the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas!

Originally it started out 1998 in Las Vegas as a revival of the World Of Atari shows from the late 80ies and attendance was much better than anticipated. 1999 then saw the first Classic Gaming Expo, also in Las Vegas where it stayed for a few years before moving to the Westcoast. Now, for the 10th year of classic gaming goodness, the CGE is back in Las Vegas July 28th * 29th! This is the must attend event if you are interested in Atari, Coleco, Intellivision, Vectrex, Nintendo, SEGA and anything related to old skool gaming.

The second event coming up is known as the biggest and best in the Northwest:

This year it will be Portland on September 29th and 30th, 2007. So if you live anywhere in Washington, Idaho, Oregon etc. you should attend! As usual there will be tons of contests and prices and lots of classic systems hooked up for play!

May 17, 2007

CGE 2K7 in Las Vegas

A whole bunch of us NWCGE folks will travel down to Las Vegas for the 10th anniversary Classic Gaming Expo in the Rivier Hotel June 28th and 29th.

This should be the ultimate event for classic gamers this year, if you have any interest in Atari, Vectrex, SEGA, Nintendo or other classic (retro, old-skool, whatever you call it!) video games then this is the event for you!