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Darryl B.
Joined: 1/11/2005
Posts: 578
Posted 11/7/2009 8:28:10 AM , Houston gaming expo :)
Score: 0 


Well, I was at day 1 of the expo, 2 will be later today. No pictures yet, as I took a TON but haven't downloaded them to the computer yet (or is that 'upload'?). Unfortunately I'm still using the same 10 year old camera as the last one I went to, so several have been deleted because they came out blurry. Sucks too, because that shot my confidence pretty well, since I like to take photos of people there, get their names down, and they get their 15 minutes of fame from the article that goes up on The Atari Times website. Especially since there were some fine-assed women there too; gads. Wish the camera was newer...

A few things: it's nice to play some 'new' games...even though most of them are 20+ years old.  Like Moon Patrol, Galaxian and Vanguard...on the Atari 5200. I never played those versions before, even though I had friends who had that system. Who the hell programmed Galaxian, Stevie Wonder?! Since when did the aliens go sideways? I'll know what to avoid once I get that system eventually (always wanted one). H. A. A. G. used to be an all arcade and pinball expo, but two years ago Albert Yarusso (sp?) of Atari Age.com started bringing some of his home machines to the show, so that changed.  However, he brought some new homebrews, like Asteroids Deluxe for the Atari 7800.  A good rendition, that game never made it to a gaming console back then, only a PC version or two.

Back to the 'new' old...I also played Varkon, a rare, vertical pinball game.  I might try to explain this better when I have more time later.  Some of it I still can't figure out though, like how they did the sort of 3-D effect with the score right in your face. And Q*Bert's Qubes; holy sh*t. I never even heard of that one until several years ago, I never saw it in a game room back in the day.  That thing's gotta be really freakin' rare now.  Also played a unique game that I don't know what genre it goes under, it came out in 1938 or so.  Kind of like a pachinko machine is about all I'll say for now.  Another one had bizarre reverse flippers, i. e. the right flipper pointed left and the left one right.  Hard to explain but I got a photo of it, I'll probably put that one up.  It also had a small sign on it saying that minors couldn't play the game. Sound weird? Back then, pinball machines (I don't know when it came out, maybe the 40s or something) were considered gambling devices (since you're not guaranteed to win or something) and were even briefly illegal.  So that's why that was on there.

But then, onto the brand new: The Lord of the Rings pinball machine. Holy (*#! sh*t, that thing's a damn beauty. It's kind of sad in a way, since Stern tried to bring back pinball in the last few years but already they're laying off people. There's tons of little statues of orcs, hobbits, Gandalf and a big Balrog on the playfield that glows. That thing costs $4,-7,000, I can't remember how much it is, and it shows, all the fancy ramps and all. I'll probably put that pic up too, I took a picture of it with a couple of guys, one of which I owed a better photo of (his was the only one that came out blurry from the last expo I went to).

And speaking of which, I'll end it on this note, another blurry photo: a guy named Joe Grisaffi (sp?).  He's like an assistant executive producer or something of the Friday Night Lights tv show and is a classic gaming enthusiast (he owns a Centipede and several other games, and is a fellow Vectrex owner like myself :) But I don't have those 3-D Imager goggles and games like he does, dammit! Those cost like $500 nowadays!). He also made a politcally incorrect, but very funny movie called Laughing Boy (the showdown between him and the televangelist is hilarious) shot here and in Sugar Land. I won it as a door prize one year so that's how I know about him, since obviously he's not a big star and all.

Well anyway, I brought my copy of Laughing Boy and asked him if he would sign it.  I explained to him that I was covering the expo for TAT and that I could take a picture of him and use it to promote some new movie he has mostly finished that he did a partial showing of tonight (management shut the movie down before it was over; something about them getting all silly for not liking a movie being shown on the patio! :P ) Unfortunately the pic came out blurry, dammit.  If he's there again today I'll see if I can retake it; if not I'll e-mail him to see if I can just use a press photo of him instead (if the TAT owner will take it as a substitute, which I'll explain to him the deal) or if he had someone take a photo of himself there and if I could use one.  I was surprised he called me by name on the way out, since, with a lot of us in general, you meet someone new, then you instantly forget their name But then I had had business cards printed up a couple of years ago so that visual aid probably helped him remember.  Seems to be a good guy.

Anyway there were tons of other things going on there but I'll leave this as it is for now. Photos to come later!
 

ADDITION: the above is a copy and paste job that I did on a few forums.  Backing up to what I said about the tons of photos, some of them will be for the database for Stage Select.  There's a few rare ones too.  Notice how I mentioned Q*Bert's Qubes?  Yeah, I got one for the site :) I don't use the same photos with different sites.  The tabletop Frogger one will probably go here too.  And I got a couple of pics of the mess of Atari 5200 and 7800 games that I'll probably "chop up" and use individual cartridge photos here.  Got a screenshot of the title screen of a 2600 homebrew as well that'll go here, I forget which one it was for the moment.  So yeah, things are looking good there, the camera behaved itself somewhat ok this time around.  But I'd rather just have a new camera anyway.

And what was the DEAL with that guy playing 2600 E. T. at the home consoles area?!  Should he be committed or given a medal?

 

 


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"He spends five hours a day playing violent video games; what's the point if they don't have any affect on him?" - Hank, King of the Hill

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larsoncc
(Administrator)

Joined: 8/8/2002
Posts: 6412
Posted: 11/7/2009 8:44:21 AM ,
Score 0 


Awesome! 

HAAG is such a cool yearly tradition - wish we had something near us.


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Darryl B.
Joined: 1/11/2005
Posts: 578
Posted 11/7/2009 1:15:00 PM ,
Score: 0 


Quote from larsoncc:

Awesome! 

HAAG is such a cool yearly tradition - wish we had something near us.

You might.  Where are you stationed at now, Chicago?  Let me know, I can dig around to see if there is something near you. Or maybe I'm thinking of some past show that isn't there any more.

Yeah, it's a nice size, no horror stories like for PhillyClassic (I don't mean the show itself, but the lines) where you have to stand in line for 15 minutes waiting to play a game of Major Havoc, or anything else.  Especially as far as the home console section went, I just walked up and played them, they were empty a lot of the time.  But WHERE THE HELL WAS EVERYBODY?!  There didn't seem to be much of a crowd.  Or maybe because there were like 150 games, more or less...the most so far, I think.  Plenty to go around!

Well, here we go, a few pics!  Most of these will be removed once the article goes up though, so enjoy them while they're here...

I've never seen the tabletop version of this one before

 

I never knew they made a Monopoly pinball game...or a Gilligan's Island one either ("a three hour game...a three hour game..." ok, not really)

The 15 minute fad of the laser disc was represented, as usual

I totally forgot about this fun game. (Quick, name the actor who played Flash! Or Ming, for that matter!)

The LOTR pinball...God, that thing's a work of art

I'll be uploading Stage Select pics later.


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"He spends five hours a day playing violent video games; what's the point if they don't have any affect on him?" - Hank, King of the Hill

Avatar
Ditto
Joined: 1/19/2003
Posts: 1712
Posted: 11/8/2009 9:43:00 PM ,
Score 0 


The local pinball museum has definetly spoiled me.


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Darryl B.
Joined: 1/11/2005
Posts: 578
Posted 11/10/2009 11:07:24 AM ,
Score: 0 


That'll suck if you ever have to move again, eh? :D

More...I took the nephew on the second day :) Unfortunately THE first thing he decided to try out was the Atari 5200.  I warned him about the sucky controllers as he fired up Pac-Man...

About a minute later: “this control isn’t any good!” :P

Luckily we went into the arcade stuff next. And on the drive over I asked him if he had ever played a real pinball machine. (hesitates) “Yeah...on the computer...”

“No, a REAL pinball machine.”

Nope, he hadn’t. But he did on this day :) He got the hang of it pretty quick too (not that it’s a real hard thing to do of course). He played a good range of them too, from the old electro-mechanicals to those made within the last 15 years or so.

It was kind of a pain keeping an eye on him though, although usually I could just park myself at a game a machine or two over...especially helped when I would see him die really quick, which would lead to...

Me (pointing at some object on the game screen): You have to _____ (insert gameplay mechanic)

Him: Oh, THAT’S what you’re supposed to do!

So that was cool. And he was familiar with a few things, like with Warlords, which I was surprised, but I’m sure he played it on an Atari Anthology package of some sort. This was one of THE best multiplayer games out there (well, not counting the games where up to hundreds of people can play online now, I mean...just having multiple people around an arcade game back then). It was really smart to whoever brought TWO tabletop versions of that game, as they got plenty of play.

Another one was the tabletop pinball game of Joust, which there weren’t many kinds of these games made...that and War are the only ones I’m aware of. What the deal is, you have your set of flippers, bumpers and all...and then, on the other side of the table, player 2 has their own set of the like. If you choose the one player game then you control both sets of flippers. I’d never played this before because it was either not working a fair amount of the time in the past or it was constantly being played. Well, we played a game of it and it was a blast, especially when you were able to shoot the ball to the other player’s side, and there was suddenly a multiball near the end of the game that happened out of the blue (don’t know what needs to be done to trigger that).

Now, it’s one thing to introduce a kid to older stuff and they find it to be cool (until he played the Atari Star Wars arcade games, he thought that Star Wars games originated with the Xbox [bah HA HA HA, WRONG!]). However, one monstrously old game really astounded even ME. It was basically a baseball pachinko game, but with some additions.

First you just shoot the plunger and hope the balls land into several of the playfield holes to your advantage. There’s several areas that are worth hundreds of points (uhhh, since when does BASEBALL have points that go into the hundreds? [insert Tom Hanks saying ‘there’s no hundred point scores in baseball!’]). In was neat to see the balls bounce around the playfield in hopes of hitting something big.

Then, something totally unexpected happened: at one point the ball either landed in the ‘single’ or ‘triple’ hole, I don’t recall which. There’s these devices at all the bases. Well, what they were used for is that a ball suddenly shot out of home plate to first base, which was then shot to second AND third from there. I mean, hell, this game was made in 1934! Back then, that must’ve been like the Buck Rogers of gaming. I wouldn’t mind having this myself eventually, as I’m sure it’s fairly simple for a billiards device and would only set me back a few hundred bucks (if I could FIND one though!). Amazing to think that a 13 year old kid (actually he will be next week) can have fun with something, in this day and age, that had no lights or sounds that came out when his grandfather was only seven years old.

We also checked out a hockey game made by Chicago Coin. Holy sh*t, CHICAGO COIN?! They were bought out by Stern over two decades ago; they used to be the kings of billiard games, they put out a lot of product. This one didn’t fare as well but it was still fun. Basically it might’ve been one of, if not THE earliest of those ‘pool hockey’ games where you control all these guys on the sticks and spin them around to try to score goals. You only have a goalie that constantly spins around on it’s own; you can’t stop it from spinning. I’m putting in extra photos to show some of the details, as they’re (the goalies and the handles) appear to be made out of heavy, real metal. (Finding replacements for them nowadays must be nearly impossible! But then, the figures are encased and should be fine for decades, just as long as the unit isn’t stored outside...) All you can do is turn them left or right, one of which will send the ball shooting towards your opponent’s goal, the other (wrong) way will send the ball back into yours, which will happen a lot. It was still fun though and we wanted to play it again but that was the last credit on it, ha ha.
 

(I'm just showing the marquee and the controls/figures here)

Now, I assume they started doing this last year for promos only, but if not, then I have no idea why: a local Star Wars region started appearing at the show. You know something’s up when suddenly a wall of people appear and the cameras start flashing. The first time you’re like ‘what the hell’s going ON?’, but then the second time and on then you’re all “oh, a Stormtrooper and/or Boba Fett must’ve shown up”:



They really fit into their roles, just walking around, posing for photos and not saying a word. It was actually somewhat creepy unless you know of a local YouTuber like I do who put up a video busting them playing video games last year (guys! Go play the Star Trek video game! That’d be hilarious!)

 


 

(nephew Bram w/Boba Fett)

Anyway I’ll wrap up the end of this and get into my third and final trip later, since this is long enough as it is, but there isn’t much to tell about my last trip though.  


 

 


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"He spends five hours a day playing violent video games; what's the point if they don't have any affect on him?" - Hank, King of the Hill

Avatar
Darryl B.
Joined: 1/11/2005
Posts: 578
Posted: 10/11/2010 12:34:28 PM ,
Score 0 


Hah, might as well bump this one up with THIS year's report! :) Unfortunately you're going to have to go here www.zaponline.org/forums/viewtopic.php for it, since I had a problem trying to display the images.

And to get the rest of the bad news out of the way, unfortunately there won't be any Stage Select database photos to update.  I had camera problems and couldn't snap away to my heart's content, plus I was only there for Saturday as well (which didn't help).  Only one I did was an obscure one called Space Encounters, which I cropped out of a photo and sent it in.  Once that goes up I'll do a review of it; I would have rather done one on Computer Space but it ended up not making it to the expo, unfortunately :(


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"He spends five hours a day playing violent video games; what's the point if they don't have any affect on him?" - Hank, King of the Hill

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