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Magazine #13 1/02

 

Wow, it's been a long time since I did one of these, too much other stuff going on. Anyway, March 16th 2002 it was time for another

NWCGE Meeting

It's been sort of a Seattle tradition over the last few years: the annual NWCGE Meeting. Usually the famous Seattle Atari Championships would go along with that but unfortunately Hi*Score Arcade lost their lease when their building got torn down (yeah, more condos is what Seattle needs - not!). Thanks to snow and rain things started out a bit slow but despite the weather the hard core folks showed up at 8:30 AM and started setting up their tables. And pretty soon the hall started to fill up.

Lee had four new carts to show: X3V0LuX (pronounced zee-vo-lux) - an old familiar game with new graphics and an unusual story, NWCGE Invaders (defend Seattle, using the Space Needle as your base shooter, against the NWCGEs), Sentinel in NTSC for the Atari 7800 and finally KLAX in NTSC for 7800 as well. KLAX plays like a dream and is a must-have for every Atari 7800 owner! During the show you could sign up for a X3V0LuX high-score contest and Erik ended up winning with 25,610 perseverance points which was an excellent score! All these games are available in limited quantities at ResQsoft Productions.

As one could imagine, systems of all kinds were showcased. Systems present included: Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, Lynx, Jaguar, Intellivision, ColecoVision & Adam, Vectrex (sold for $50 - what a deal!), VIC-20, C-64, various Atari 8-Bits, TI-99/4A, old Macs, old Apple II computers, 2 LaserActive systems, NEO-GEO, Dreamcast running Rez, special edition Xbox, tons of handhelds, tons of classic videogame boardgames, Vectrex TV (homemade by Aaron), Timex 1000, Mattel Aquarius, PC Engine, Atari ST and much much more.

One of the highlights of all the systems shown was Aarons Vectrex TV (see pics below). This fabulous creation had to be seen to be believed. From what we gathered, this Frankenstein-like unit used a standard TV with a vector board salvaged from a Tempest arcade cabinet with the video output from the Vectrex. The result of which is a self-contained Vectrex TV with a fabulous picture.

Other interesting hardware tidbits included Dan Vernon's nice display of vintage computers. He had an old Mac running Star Wars, Atari STs and Atari 8bit computers hooked up to a laptop PC (to act as a server of sorts). Great prices (e.g. $25 ST Computers w/ Monitor) and an understanding spouse. And just to show that no one is too young to start out on video games, he had his new born son along side.

Although not impressive to look at, Steve Hasting brought in an unusual Atari 2600 development system used at Imagic. The CPU was accessible from the outside of the case. Even more intriguing was the fact that the CPU was ZIF socketed. It was designed so that the CPU could be removed and replaced with an in-circuit emulator. Unlike today, the developers at Imagic did not have the likes of the Atari 2600 emulators like Stella, Z26, etc.. As for debug tools, this was it. The in-circuit emulator would step through the processing. This was hardcore programming at it's finest. Who knows, maybe Rob Fulop's first runs of Demon Attack were run on this exact machine. Maybe it was his ...maybe he took with him form Atari. Who knows...? If it were alive, the stories it could tell. It is an interesting piece of history.


Lee and his...

...creations!
Thanks to snow and rain things started out a bit slowly but then it started to fill up ...
John and Johann
Pretty soon all the tables were taken and people started trading and digging through boxes.

Nice special edition Xbox with Simpson's Road Rage

Johann showing off: Rez on the Dreamcast

William and Layne playing on the NeoGeo console

Rick playing X3V0LuX (pronounced zee-vo-lux)

That's a Millipede prototype on top of the console!
This is Steve Hasting's Imagic Atari 2600 development system. The CPU was replaced by a connector ending in a zif-socket on the top of the console. In the pictures above the socket carries the CPU but back at Imagic developers would hook up an in-circuit-emulator to debug and step through their code. Steve's friend was working at Imagic when they auctioned off their assets in the 80ies and Steve paid about $25 for this unique item!

Rick and Steve holding up...
Steve brought these awesome Activision jackets along. Look at all the patches - these must have cost a fortune!!
...the Activision jackets.
Billy Galaxy had a nice selection of cool stuff and also had copies of his awesome videogame book.
Some hard-to-find Brazilian Atari consoles: left a Dactar, right a Polyvox Atari clone.
Everywhere people traded, played and chatted chatted about classic videogames!

Aarom arrives with the Vectrex TV

That thing weighs a ton...

Notice cartridge port in upper left corner

You can adjust focus for a softer vector line

Fortress Of Narzod

Very crisp display!

Close-up
People kept playing the Vectrex TV all day long. The picture is very clean and crisp when adjusted properly. Otherwise the vector lines will exhibit an interesting color fringe. This was the first time the Vectrex TV ran non-stop for a whole day and it worked just beautifully!

The clean-up crew at TGIF's

 Total we had 16 tables and about 100 people. We actually ran out of tables so people just put their boxes on the floor. This hall is great but if this meeting keeps growing like that we'll have to find a bigger venue next year!


Panoramic overview of the hall later in the day

Lee says: "The competition was fierce. In the end there were 3 people who were obviously much better than the rest. Towards the end of the day it was a tough 3 way battle between Steve Hastings, Luigi (John Getilia) and Erik Oosterhof. Although he tried hard up until he left, Steve just couldn't hold on to the top score of 14,900. Eric left early with a score of 25,610. Luigi kept at it until near closing time, but he was unable to topple Eric's score. So at the end of the day, we have a world record holder at X3V0LuX. It is my pleasure, on behalf of the staff and organizers of NWCGE, to award Eric his free copy of X3V0LuX. You earned it. Your top score of 25,610 perseverance points was the best at days end. Congratulations. Your score will be posted on the X3V0LuX website for all to see. (http://home.earthlink.net/~resqsoft/x3v0lux.htm)"

People from Portland (Oregon) to Vancouver (Canada) showed up, truly a NorthWest Classic Games Enthusiasts meeting :) We had a great time and hopefully we can resurrect and maybe even expand the Seattle Atari Championships next year.

The highlights were definitely Aaron's Vectrex TV and commercial tape, Steve H's Imagic Atari 2600 dev-system, Lee's new releases, Steve B's Activision jackets, too many other goodies to mention and just the fact that we had 100 people there despite the shitty weather! Thanks to everybody for coming, thanks for staying late and helping to clean up - especially Kevan who still had to drive all the way down to Portland. Thanks to everybody for chipping in towards the rental fee, we broke even for the first time ever!!! And thanks for the pizza (Steve) and thanks to the organizers and clean-up crew for dinner afterwards @ TGIF's! And finally thanks to Joie from the Northlake UU Church for the nice hall!


Video of the hall (Quicktime, 6.1 Megs)

 

Bits 'n Pieces

This August Classic Gaming Expo will celebrate 5 years of classic videogame expos in Las Vegas - make sure you head over to the Classic Gaming Expo web site and check it out! It's going to be great!

 

Pictures and texts © 2002 by CyberRoach™ Publishing except where indicated otherwise. No content may be duplicated without the written consent of the author!