Retro Gaming Expo AAR

I visited the Portland Retro Gaming Expo this weekend with Andy, Brian, Nate, Kevin, and Andy’s friend Eric. The event was a sea of ancient hardware (up to and including the PS2 and original Xbox… though they were certainly more fringe than commonplace), gaming tchotchkes, and an unexpectedly large (at least to me) mass of people united by their love of old games.

Also a giant plastic Pikachu with an Optimus Prime mask hanging off one ear.

I walked away with used copies of Golden Sun and Secret of Evermore, the latter correcting one of the more egregious decisions of my childhood. (I got a GBA later in its life, long after Golden Sun was out of print… whereas I actively chose not to buy Evermore.) I regret that I must report that someone else stole the DS witch-touching game out from under me. (I do not regret reporting that I’m totally kidding about my intent to purchase that game.)

In addition to wandering around the sea of vendors, there was also a freeplay area where people could test their mettle against old arcade games. I wound up not playing much, partly because I never really played games at arcades and so have no fond memories of them, and partly because I am now absolute shit at Nintendo Hard games. I couldn’t even frickin’ play Pong. That was pretty humbling.

I did see a Vectrex for the first time in my life (Andy played a game of Asteroids on one), and enjoyed discovering video game soap… though I question my need to have a replica NES cartridge in my shower. I also joined Brian in completely mis-reading 8bitcraft‘s logo for the entirety of the show. (The “8” looks like an overly-fancy “S”, and “b” and “h” look kinda similar. Word shapes, people!)

On the way out of the show (which also doubled as a sauna), I ran into dance-friend Ashley. (!) Apparently Bridgetown Swing–the premiere West Coast Swing convention of the Pacific Northwest that I’ve blown off for the last ten years running–was happening literally across the street from where we had been geeking out. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to attending.

Looking through the photos on the site just now, I see a bunch of familiar faces. Someday I might be a decent-enough dancer to actually justify attending… maybe.


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