For most gamers, the passing of E3 marks the end of a build up of excitement and exhilaration over all the new goodies on the horizon. Once the show is over, things go back to normal as people wait for all the promises to become a reality. For those in the retro gaming community, however, the anticipation and hype for the Classic Gaming Expo, that "other big show," is just as big. This is no mere get-together; CNN and G4 have covered the expo in the past, so wipe away any thought you had of this being a small affair.
For eight years now, the CGE has thrilled fans with a joyous celebration of the history of the industry, allowing them to congregate in a single, holy center that enshrines all that has made gaming what it is today. There is no competition for market share here, no spirit of one-upmanship, only a desire to keep alive the memories of a bygone era for those who have been there from the beginning, as well as make some new ones for those who have only just arrived. If you're looking to play some classics, pick up that elusive title for your collection, or just hang out and beat a pal at Dig Dug, the CGE has something for you.
On August 20th and 21st, people from all over will head into The San Francisco Hyatt Regency for two days of auctions, conferences, and all around fun. Since its inception back in 1997, the show has strived to serve as a unifying force for the retro community, giving them a place to celebrate their beloved hobby. It has grown since then, and is now bigger than ever before, drawing the sponsorship of such industry heavyweights as SNK, Konami, Midway, NVidia, and Tips & Tricks Magazine. While not on the same massive level of attendance as E3, it is still a remarkable turnout for a show which resolves around retired consoles. Last year's show was the biggest yet, and the organizers are hoping to top themselves this time around.
So what exactly is there to expect when one attends the show? A lot. Collectors might just be content to spend the day scouring the aisles of venders, who have everything from boxed Vectrex hardware to homebrew 2600 carts. Most of the companies still into making games for discontinued platforms will be there, and you'll find long lost titles that were recently rediscovered alongside entirely new programs (complete with manual and packaging). Songbird Productions (makers of Jaguar and Lynx games), Sega CD faithful Good Deal Games, and Atari2600.com have all made appearances and are bound to be there again this year. Which reminds me, I still need to pick up a copy of Mighty Mighty Missile for Sega CD.