Category: Conventions and Events

Sometimes I take the blog with me as I travel to gaming events and write about what happened there.

I Bought Stuff! 11/7/2018: Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2018 (and more!)

Alright, finally got to this. A few weeks late, but I was never known to be prompt on things like these.

So a while back, the Portland Retro Gaming Expo happened. On its twelfth year, it’s a convention that has retro arcade games, pinball machines, loads of booths to buy merchandise of various kinds, and panels about retro video games in some fashion.

Regrettably the past few years I’ve missed out on a handful of panels, but I’m grateful for at least checking out the Nintendo History Museum by the cool peeps at the Video Game History Foundation. I also bumped into my friends Weasel and Cass while during my roaming of the show floor, while also spotting a fair share of notable personalities here and there. (Weasel told me I was “right next to The Gaming Historian” at one point and I didn’t even notice.)

I’m at that point where I don’t really need many video games at this point, considering my burgeoning backlog. Yet against my better judgment, I did buy games for super cheap, trying to fill up my original Xbox collection and snagging a few cheap deals. But I also grabbed a few tech-based things during and after the expo, so let’s get to recapping.


$15:

  • – A component video cable for an original Xbox ($10)

  • – Xbox: Medal of Honor: European Assault ($5)

Okay, these were after the expo. On Sunday I had put a goal to find some video cables for some of my consoles because I felt they needed an upgrade. I didn’t find one of them, so I had eventually went to Video Game Wizards (the closest mom’n’pop game shop to me) and snagged some cables, as well as an Xbox game for good measure.

At this point, now I am able to play all of the early-to-mid 2000s game consoles in component video quality. I have component cables for the PS2 and Xbox, and I have a Wii with Gamecube backwards compatibility, which I also run through component.

I know there’s solutions now to get those systems to output in HDMI, but I feel that’s a bit excessive. Though, EON had a booth for an HDMI adapter for the Gamecube, which might be cheaper than trying to get the very expensive component cables for the system. If you’re going that route, check them out here, perhaps that’s a better option for those who have more recent TVs where it’s HDMI only with no other video inputs.

As for Medal of Honor: European Assault? Well, we’ll get back to that one in a bit.

UPDATE 11/8/2018: The cables in question refused to show any video on my television regardless of resolution, so I exchanged them for different cables. While those actually showed video in component, the signal occasionally flickers out and doesn’t work in 720p. Sadly, I think my TV is slowly dying, which I’m not surprise, considering it’s a Toshiba TV I got about several years ago. I should probably get a new TV at some point.

$10: Xbox: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x

Now to cover stuff I actually got at the expo, starting with probably the most expensive thing I bought.

The Tony Hawk games were a franchise that passed me by. I played the first two, but tapped out not long after. I snagged Pro Skater 3 on disc for PS2 a long while back, and I thought now’s the time to start getting into the series proper while they’re still easy to get.

A launch title for the original Xbox, this was a spit-shine “HD” version of Pro Skater 2 by Treyarch, before they became 1/3rd of the Call of Duty Cerberus. In addition to prettifying the original game’s levels, there’s a few levels exclusive to this port as well as the original Pro Skater stuff in there.

In my head, this is probably a better way to start playing the franchise in order than hunting down fairly pricey copies of Pro Skater and Pro Skater 2 for older systems. Though, I wouldn’t mind finding any of the Pro Skater games for the Nintendo 64, as those are interesting technical marvels. Well, that and the N64 version of Pro Skater is how I got introduced to the franchise back in the day.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the chopped up music loops they used because of cartridge space limitations, and Pro Skater 3‘s soundtrack pretty much makes them outright remixes.

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I Bought Stuff! 10/27/2016: Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2016 Edition.

Hey hi hello. It’s been a while since I posted, and it’s been rather rough for me lately to really get that drive to actually post stuff here. So this will be a fairly quick one.

I went to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo last weekend, as is custom for me. I’ve been writing about it almost every year, and it’s great as always. Nice blend of retro stuff from the Atari/NES days to even an Xbox system link section where games from Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast and Halo 2 were being played throughout the weekend.

I tagged along with my friend Weasel who writes for Hardcore Gaming 101, and occasionally other blogs like Grinding the Rumor Milll, a blog of which I recommend checking out.

Most of the time we were perusing and finding interesting things here and there with not a lot of purchases,at least for me. Despite that, we both saw cool stuff. I posted some of my pictures to the Secret Area Facebook page, deciding to not leave that place dormant. You should go to the Facebook page and give it a like and a share, btw. It helps a lot.

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Remembering PlayStation Home.

PlayStation_Home_Logo

R.I.P. August 7, 2008 – March 31, 2015.

On March 31, 2015, a piece of PlayStation history died. PlayStation Home, the strange graphical chat client that had been running for about seven years, was ending on that day. I had almost forgotten about it until someone had mentioned it to me. Despite me publishing this on April Fools Day, I can assure this is a genuine post of remembering one of the more infamous moments during Sony’s floundering period of the PlayStation 3.

There might be some of you who read about this little thing somewhere on Wikipedia, or even when some YouTubers mention it as a gag for laughs. For those who never experienced it, PlayStation Home was a graphical chat client that was meant to be used as a social hub. It was like Second Life but more PG and with less phallic objects.

PlayStation Home was announced by then-Sony executive Phil Harrison, complete with this silly, fake-looking trailer:

(Video courtesy of IGN.)

Naturally most of us laughed it off and mocked it incessantly. Webcomics, gaming sites, among other places were lambasting the idea, even more so when it was released to the public for everyone to try. For its entire lifespan, Home was more of a punching bag than it was a legitimate thing people cared for.

Then again, it's hard to take it seriously when you see stuff like... this.

Then again, it’s hard to take it seriously when you see stuff like… this.

When I got my PS3 around 2008, I actually tried the system during its closed beta. In spite of the internet dogpile, I decided to hop in and give it a try. As the years followed, there was always that moment of “Oh right, Home is still a thing,” and I’d pop back in to give it a look to see what’s happening. Usually this moment happened when a big event had a space in PlayStation Home, like during E3 events. For instance, back in 2013 I actually did a video of me roaming around Home’s E3 Studio, which was quite the interesting experience despite how goofy it all was.

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Checking out the 2014 Portland Retro Gaming Expo, with bonus I Bought Stuff!

So this past weekend, I went to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. It’s my fourth time to the con, and I remember when it was wedged into a small conference area in the DoubleTree Hilton near Lloyd Center to it’s current home at the Oregon Convention Center.

prge1

Last year I had recorded video footage from the event, but didn’t use any of it and didn’t write anything about it. This year, I promised myself I’d actually blog about it this time. Especially since the people that run the Expo actually linked to my entry from 2012, where I had gotten a bunch of stuff, talked to “Gamesmaster” Howard Phillips, and had David Crane sign a copy of Pitfall I found at the same expo. I have to thank the expo for even giving my podunk blog a few extra views every now and then. 🙂

This is more of a “what I saw” post. I didn’t spend much at the con itself, but I did find a bunch of really, really interesting gaming stuff. Join me as we look at some of the things these vendors had to offer.

See if you can spot all the references and crossovers at this booth.

One of the things I saw early on was a booth by Level Up Studios, one of those “gaming/nerd culture” sort of places that covers the gamut of common stuff. There were shirts based on current trends, including several based on Guardians of the Galaxy. I guess people really liked Rocket Raccoon and Groot.

Well, at least he’s going back to his roots…

But one thing really caught my eye: This shirt. It’s Sonic eating onion rings. Somebody must of have played a lot of that Sonic 2 XL Romhack that was popular around the web a few years ago. It also reminded me of one of those old Sonic communities I was a part of when I was a teenager.

Unfortunately I’m not big on wearing t-shirts that have designs on them. Even the many shirts I’ve gotten over the many years I went to PAX go mostly unused. So, sadly, I didn’t buy a shirt with fat Sonic on it.

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PAX Prime 2013: Gaming invades Seattle!

Another year, and another PAX has passed by. I played a bunch of games, met with some people I know, and got to see some of the sights and sounds of Seattle. Thankfully this year I’m not recovering from some nasty post-convention flu, just sleeping a bit more.

Alas, unlike last year, when I went to the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary event — you can see that blog entry I made of it here — there wasn’t any big outside-of-PAX events that I was aware of.  What I did notice around the Seattle area was a flood of gaming-related entities. From seeing ads for games, to seeing retail stores show their slight understanding of video game culture. So I took a few pictures of them while I was around Seattle.

Most people who were walking to or from the convention center saw this one from the nearest Starbucks. I have to give credit to the sign-maker for making a Ms. Pac-Man reference.

I don’t drink coffee that much, so I didn’t go in and try it. It was probably alright, but when it’s from a Starbucks and there’s about 50 of them within walking distance, it kinda loses the appeal.

A quest… with Mario? I doubt they were referencing Paper Mario or Mario & Luigi

About a block or two down near Pine St had a Timbuk2 clothing store with this Super Mario Bros. reference. Chalk drawings of Mario and Bowser, plus something that resembles the castles of the old game. The other side, which I regrettably didn’t take a picture, had a Question Block on the other side, also talking about quests.

I like how they were trying to shoehorn in RPG references, but since they thought something like Final Fantasy would be too obscure, they went with Mario. Must’ve been a manager’s call. Gotta give the guys credit, even if they got confused which games they wanted to refer to.

Pac-Man here! Pac-Man there! Pac-Man’s EVERYWHERE.

Saw another games-related related thing at a bar a few blocks away from where a Karaoke event sponsored by Destructoid was happening. Surprise, it’s more Pac-Man! Since this was several blocks away from the main convention center, I’m surprised they even bothered to throw a video game reference in, not many people were gonna be heading up this way.

I actually prefer the Strife that’s an FPS, thank you very much.

Even by the Convention Center, video games were all over the place. The Daily Grill, the restaurant next door to the convention, had banners and ads for the MOBA game/DOTA clone Strife. PAX 2013 seemed to be the year of the MOBA as there were about a dozen different kinds of MOBAs being shown off. I bet most of these never took off, especially this one. I’m more a fan of the shooter that’s also called Strife, but that’s just me.

Update 7/15/2020: It turns out the MOBA Strife shut down in late 2018 with no announcement. Meanwhile, the classic FPS Strife eventually got an updated version and seems to be what Google searches lead you to now compared to the old MOBA. I wrote about the FPS Strife in early 2020, which you can check out here.

I also saw ads for Total War: Rome II and Project Diva F: Hatsune Miku on taxis and buses, but sadly I could not get good quality pictures of either. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a few other games-related things in the city to take advantage of PAX happening, but this is what I saw while I was out and about.

I like PAX, it’s a cool convention. It’s too bad it’s being partially ran by two guys who have constant foot-in-mouth syndrome. Hopefully we’ll start seeing other conventions show up in response, I want to make sure my money’s going towards people who aren’t complete dicks.


2020 Update:

This would end up being my final PAX to date. Since I don’t have a lot of money, traveling to Seattle was a rather costly endeavor for me, especially in the last few years I went.

In the years since, both Penny Arcade creators Mike “Gabe” Krahulik and Jerry “Tycho” Holkins would turn out to be massive jerks, with Krahulik saying he felt immense regret for backing down on making T-shirts about Dickwolves, which some people took umbrage to because the original comic was a thinly veiled rape joke.

I bet the convention is still alright in spite of the Penny Arcade involvement, but I honestly can’t say I really miss it. The process to register was rather nerve-wracking for me in the past, and I wasn’t really up for going through the stress-inducing process every year, combined with me having the lack of funds needed.

I wouldn’t mind going back to Seattle again someday, but probably would be for a smaller gaming event, or to just visit friends. Maybe visit Pink Gorilla again, or some of the other mom’n’pop game shops in Seattle.

Alternatively, I’d love to do the common Tourist Garbage and just see all the popular sights and sounds of the city. I feel that’s a necessity if you’re visiting a city. While I did that one day towards the end of one PAX, one day isn’t enough. I figure a week-long excursion of that would be more fun than being around hundreds of sweaty nerds who want to play Dishonored early for a whole weekend.