Here are the thoughts on Midwest Gaming Classic I posted on my Facebook wall...
First off, just to get this out of the way...Billy Mitchell was there despite the bombshell that happened just a few days earlier. Personally I think the video evidence against his Donkey Kong scores is pretty damning, but at the same time, I got to talk with him for the second time. We didn't talk anything about the big stink. But the feeling I got from him was not at all that of an egotist that the Billy-bashers love to condemn. Instead, in our short talk he was very respectful and had kind words for the gaming community in general. Whatever YOU think of him, that's your opinion, and I respect that, but from my experiences, he seems to be a cool guy. And when I talked to him at MGC, he certainly was a class act. But I am NOT getting involved in the pro-Billy / anti-Billy wars.
Now that that's out of the way...some overall thoughts in general...
My primary goals: 1) get a working Commodore 64, 2) get at least two homebrews from Packrat Games, 3) get the three books I brought signed by the authors, and 4) get the two Activision games I brought signed by the developers. Success on 1, 2, and 3. Secondary goal: get a trackball for Atari 2600/7800 that will work with the trackball hacks. Not a success.
MGC this year afforded me my third time getting to chat with Walter Aldro Day Jr. I first met him at Galloping Ghost in 2015, and again at Underground Retrocade in 2016. All three times I got to talk to him, one thought went through my mind: "Wow, what a nice guy." Always a pleasure to talk with Walter; and it was an honor to have him walk by our table when I was doing my world record attempt on the Atari 7800 homebrew b*nQ, the late Ken Siders' interpretation of Q*bert.
Speaking of Q*bert...a pleasure as usual to see Jeffrey Lee, a true gentleman with some amazing creativity. And I know I'm a jerk for saying this, but one of the highlights of the weekend was watching James White rage-quit Faster Harder More Challenging Q*bert. Jim, I know you're a serious gamer, and you've always been good to me, but man...I'm sorry, I got a good laugh out of that. No offense meant!
Speaking of Atari 7800...some of you might have seen my desperate post asking if anybody going to the show had a 7800 power supply to either lend or sell. When I was setting up my side of the table, I plugged everything in, turned everything on, except...the 7800 wouldn't power up. After trying a few troubleshooting steps, it fired up!....and then *poof!* out again. Thanks to my friend and longtime podcast supporter Keith Sheehan for lending his power supply! (BTW, I DID get my power supply working...sort of -- the catch was the power supply's cable had to be in JUST the right position.)
As we all know, there are people you meet in person who turn out to be absolutely nothing like you imagined. Well...there is one longtime online/podcasting friend I got to meet who turned out to be EXACTLY as I imagined he'd be, and I mean that in the absolute best way possible. It was an honor to finally meet and get to hang out with William Pepper and his family. (And yes, I do hope that Sophie and I can put the bitterness behind us. I'm willing to call it a truce if she is.) Bill's podcast Atari Bytes is very creative: every week he plays an Atari 2600 (or occasionally Atari 7800) game and makes a story out of the game. He also has a very educational monthly podcast called It's a Podcast, Charlie Brown, which focuses on the Peanuts TV specials and feature-length films. And people who follow me on Facebook will see me plug his book In the St. Nick of Time around Thanksgiving -- that's going to be an annual read for me. (Trust me, it's really, really good.)
And few things brighten a day more than a conversation with Brian F Colin, who seriously is one of the most entertaining folks you'll ever meet. And one reason I will always be thankful for him: he and Jeff Nauman are the brains behind Rampage, Pigskin 621 AD, and Arch-Rivals (and many other classics)...and in what other video game besides Rampage do you get to eat a toilet? HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! (And yes, I do plan to see the Rampage movie.)
Glad to finally get to meet Tim Lapetino in person and have him sign my copy of Art of Atari (an AMAZING coffee table book for fans of any era of Atari). Tim, it was fun talking Chicago stuff with you. (Sorry I kind of cut myself brief, I just didn't want to spend too much time away from our table. )
Also great to get to meet Marty Goldberg, coauthor of Atari: Business is Fun (and many other books yet to be published), a true gentleman who also isn't afraid to tell it like it is.
Had a great talk with Tim "Mr. Boomshakalaka!" Kitzrow. To be honest I was not very familiar with him at all before this weekend, but I must say...I'm in awe of his talent. (And he goes to Beatlefest.)
And what would a rambling post about Midwest Gaming Classic be without expressing appreciation for the Guys Games and Beer team? Wow. They always have an amazing setup, and they absolutely did not disappoint this year. Tom, Drunken Larry, and company are truly among the nicest people you'll see at this show. They outdid themselves this year with the "Vect-Rex," a modified Vectrex housed in an Omega Race cabinet, with a 19-inch vector monitor and built-in re-sized screen overlays (which, from what Tom tells me, will eventually auto-select!!), and the arcade-sized true full-color Vectrex. Whoa. Honestly, if I weren't going to Midwest Gaming Classic as an exhibitor/vendor, I could spend the entire show just in their room.
And of course, I was there with longtime friend Jim Goebel, basically attention-slutting ourselves for Pie Factory Podcast, which we've been doing for three years. (The anniversary is right around now, actually!) I've actually been thinking lately how I really wanted to just put an end to it, at least my involvement, but we have a few changes in mind that will hopefully alleviate my burnout. Plus, we have some pretty amazing news that we'll be sharing in our next episode that just makes me realize...yeah, I need to keep doing this, there's no question about it.
So...I think that covers at least some of the experience. Hopefully this year I'll remember to sit down and consider 1) what stuff we brought that we didn't need to, 2) what stuff we didn't bring that we wish we did, and 3) what stuff we need to bring extra of (like, say, an extra Atari 7800 power supply).
Infinite thanks and props goes to Gary Heil and Dan Loosen. (Gary - sorry about, uhhh...practically Blues Brothersing the convention center when I arrived!) Dan - third year in a row I saw you around, and we've been FB friends for around a year, and I still haven't said a single word to you in person, but you're doing a hell of a job. I can't imagine the stress you go through every year to get this thing off the ground, especially this year at the Wisconsin Center. You and your hard work are beyond appreciated.
That's all for now. I know I'm forgetting some stuff. So sue me. (Wait, actually....no, don't sue me. Lawyers aren't cheap.)
Edited by dauber, 17 April 2018 - 02:40 PM.