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Magazine #6.3 3/99

Classic Gaming Expo '99
Part III

More Museum

mvc-859f.jpg (66732 bytes) Compare the original Atari 2600 to the earlier stylish  Kee Games 2600 - funky, funky! mvc-860f.jpg (70465 bytes)

Remote-controlled Atari 2600 prototype?

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Two versions of the CX-2000 failure.

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CCE Supergame - Brazilian Atari 2600 clone/rip-off.

CCE games - sone of them are 4in1 cartridges.

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(Quelle Universum) Spectravideo CompuMate - turns the Atari 2600 into a powerful personal computer - yeah right!

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Atari 2800 - Japanese version of the Atari 2600.

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TV Boy - 128 pirated Atari 2600 games inside a small, convenient case.

Personal Game Programer System PGP-1, similar to today's Game Shark devices, just a bit more complicated and powerful.

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Starpath Supercharger Demo Unit - very nice!

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Copycart - burn your own EPROMs!

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The famous Parker Brothers Revenge Of The Jedi - Game I and Game II boxes.

Imagic Previewer - very cool!

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RomScanner and Video Game Brain - cart switchers.

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Mindlink Controller - supposedly it only works when you're really stoned.

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Gameline Modem - early Atari 2600 modem.

Kid Vid Voice Module - i.e. tape recorder :)

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Mega Boy - another  TV Boy equivalent.

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Always present: adult Atari 2600 games.

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The case of goodies and various prototypes.

Out Of Control and Q*bert's Cubes!

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mvc-890f.jpg (81754 bytes) Various prototypes and a ultra-rare Video Life cartrdige from CommaVid - with mint box! More prototypes. mvc-887f.jpg (72545 bytes)
mvc-889f.jpg (83455 bytes) More extremely rare stuff: Gauntel, River Patrol, Eli's Ladder, Bumper Bash and Music Machine. The only known copy of Atari 5200 Asteroids - complete with special prototype controller! mvc-888f.jpg (72645 bytes)
Atari 5200 system with Masterplay Interface. mvc-891f.jpg (51639 bytes) mvc-893f.jpg (46467 bytes) Atari Video System X
Atari 5200 Kid's Controller prototype. mvc-892f.jpg (34326 bytes) mvc-899f.jpg (47328 bytes) Hotel Atari 5200 - with six games inside.
Gary Rubio's Atari 5200 Paddle controller prototype. mvc-896f.jpg (47358 bytes) mvc-897f.jpg (54295 bytes) Atari Video System X joystick prototype.
Atari 3200 joystick??? mvc-895f.jpg (34871 bytes) mvc-894f.jpg (40192 bytes) Better view of the Atari 3200 joystick???
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Atari 7800 - too little, too late against Nintendo.

Regular Atari 7800 and clear Atari 7800 prototype with joystick.

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Atari 7800 Presskit.

Atari 7800 keyboard prototype.

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Atari Ultra Pong Doubles.

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A slightly different set of LYNXs.

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Atari Pong.

Atari Video Pinball - funky!

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Atari t-shirts from new to old, notice the 'Just Another High-strung Prima Donna From Atari' t-shirt.

Keynotes, Celebs and Signing

Definitely the highlights of the CGE'99 were the numerous keynotes with legends and celebrities of the classic videogaming world. The Vectrex guys had a good session, the Atari programmers were fun, the Imagic and Activision guys were very good too and the Blue Sky Rangers (Intellivision folks) were great! But the absolute highlight was the session with Ralph Baer! Not only is Ralph an extremely intelligent and smart inventor (150+ patents worldwide) but he is also a great speaker and as one of our NWGCE/VCVCG buddies said: 'far more intelligent and witty at 77 years old than I'll ever hope to be'. After some initial problems he got his old prototype to work and it was just amazing to see technology that will occupy a prime spot in the Smithsonian in action. I also chatted with his lovely wife Dena and his lovely daughter Nancy Doris (who was the 'alpha-tester' on some of Ralph's toys).

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baer03.jpg (29526 bytes) The famous brown box, the first fully functional, transistor-based (there were earlier vacuum tube-based models) prototype of the Odyssey video game - the first consumer market video game in history. 
Upper right: wife Dena and daughter Nancy Doris.
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Coming from a background in radio and radar engineering Ralph came up with the concept of interactive television games in the summer of 1966.  The prototype was programmed (or better: the internal circuits where selected/combined) by switches on the front. So for example: for a pong-type game you had to turn on the middle-line, the two player-dots, the collision detection etc. - everything was hardwired, no programs or CPU! Later a technician suggested the use of circuit boards to replace the switches and the concept of the video game cartridge was born (although containing no active components like programs, RAM etc.!).

activ1.jpg (59979 bytes) The Activision guys, from left to right: David Rolfe, Steve Cartwright, Gary Kitchen and David Crane. activ2.jpg (44485 bytes) activ3.jpg (64070 bytes)
After each session the fans were waiting with cartridges, boxes, posters and more to sign. Here are David Crane and Gary Kitchen signing 'stuff'.
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One of my heros: Don Daglow, the creator of 'Utopia' for the Intellivision, the first Sim City-like game on any video game console. He was always fascinated with simulations and started out writing population models on a mainframe computer (PDP-10). After seeing a cheesy 50ies horror-flick ('The Killer Shrews) about people trapped on an infested island he really got into the simulation aspect of it. After suggesting the basic concept of 'Utopia' to management he got the go-ahead and started developing. The Intellivision had a very fast processor (back then) that allowed him to do relatively complex calculations.

He would have liked to include grain silos, differently sized fishing boats and other items in Utopia but ran out of memory space. This program already contained the longest routine without audio or video output: the main model calculation routine was around 165 lines and lasted around .5 seconds.

Utopia did surprisingly well in a video game market dominated by 'If it moves - shot it!'-titles. It won numerous awards and the marketing folks loved it for its educational potential :)

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Rob Fulop being interviewed by the Electronic Playground folks. 

Howard Scott Warshaw and Tod Frye (Mr. Pac-Man).

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Patrick King and Tom Sloper being interviewed by the Electronic Playground folks.

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Dave Rolf signing more items.

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David Crane and Gary Kitchen being interviewed.

group1.jpg (26954 bytes) Lee Krueger (NWGCE), Mark Santora (maker of the official CGE'99 video) and Don Thomas (IC.WHEN).

Leonard Herman and  Ed Logg, designer of Asteroids and Centipede! 

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Also had a nice chat with Robert G. Smith about his games 'Video Pinball' (it sold a ton of copies and he got a 'huge' bonus of $6000 - no wonder he left for Imagic) and 'Riddle Of The Sphinx'. He had always been fascinated with Egyptology and a historic museum filled with artifacts from that period was just around the corner from where he lived.

Trading Session and Misc.

Saturday evening was the buy/sell/trade session in the keynotes room. Unfortunately there were no tables so most people traded right out of their boxes, shoe cartons and suitcases. There were lots of rare and ultra-rare items available: Atari 2600 32in1 cartridge in box (the box is very rare!), numerous CommaVid games (Video Life, Stronghold, Cakewalk), other European stuff ('StarSoft', Quelle, Hot Shot etc.), the ever present Atari 2600 adult games and much more. And yes, the rumor that somebody bought a Video Life cartridge for $5 is true. I also was told that somebody bought a CCE Supersystem (Brazilian Atari 2600-clone) for lousy $40 :)

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32in1a.jpg (73108 bytes) Atari 2600 32in1 cartridge - I have quite a few of them but have never seen them with a box (they used to be pack-ins for the Atari 2600 jr. console). 32in1b.jpg (67621 bytes)
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Sean and John after a hard day's work :) Yeah! Twin Galaxies' Walter Day with high-score book. The Retrogaming Times.
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Patrick King with Sean Kelly.

Patrick King showed how to get the initials of the WebWars programmers to show up.

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Before the opening of the doors...

play.jpg (28860 bytes) Games everywhere!!! Home consoles and arcade machines!!! classics4.jpg (42224 bytes)

Some folks (Hi Steve!) watching the Intellivision video.

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The Atari security lie-detector at the B&C Computervisions booth.

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A looong day...

Whatever dude...

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The original Activision Decathlon jacket, one of only 200 made! This one belonged to the designed of the patches and he added every single one of them - a truly one of a kind collectible. Missile Command promo-item from the museum. Atari Jacket from the museum as well.

CGE'99 was a great show and worth every penny I paid for ticket, flight, hotel and food. A big THANKS to the team that made it possible - you guys rule! The guests were great, the museum filled with holy grails, the location good and I finally met some folks in person and could put faces to the names. The only disappointments for me were the lack of booths and the lack of other classic videogame consoles besides Atari (with the exception of the great Intellivision booth!). Hardly a Vectrex, Colecovision or Odyssey2 in sight. Another problem that needs to be solved is the room-size for the keynote presentations. 

So, thanks again for a great show! The annual classic videogame shows in Las Vegas are already becoming a tradition for many collectors and enthusiasts.

See you all next year at the CGE 2000 !!!

 

Thanks to:

The CGE'99 staff - great show!
The NWCGE guys (Lee for the packing tape, Steve for the pictures, Rob for the cashews :)
Leonard for the 'Pong' picture and his great book!
The Plaza for letting me check out late and not charging me an extra day!

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Pictures and texts 1999 by CyberRoach™ Publishing, no content may be duplicated without the written consent of the author!
Many pictures 1999 Steve Bender, one picture 1999 Leonard Herman, all used with permission - thanks guys!
Classic Gaming Expo '99, World Of Atari and others are claimed and/or registered trademarks of their owners!