April 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm #1296
Jesse announced on Facebook that he’s aiming for August 9th, which is a good thing – I have another convention the previous weekend, and someone else (I think it might’ve been Brett Weiss) has one the following weekend. The venue is TBA – I’m guessing that means it’s not Spirit Bank Event Center this year.
I’ve already hatched an idea or two for this year, not least of which is my recent messing around with the WeatherStar 4000 emulator. If one looks at the dear old thing’s mighty chunky graphics up close, it fits right into a show that’s all about old computers and consoles:
(Yes, the “Weather Emulation Channel” is me being goofy. The logo can be anything.)
I’ll have to check ahead and make sure we have access to wi-fi; if there isn’t, there simply isn’t a point in waking up an old laptop and putting the WeatherStar emulator and a bunch of MP3s on it. The thing doesn’t work without real time data.
As an added bonus, I can have the same computer play a music playlist that will drive the Atari Video Music display right next to it. (You might be amazed how heavily “not bringing as much crap as I used to” figures into my OVGE battle plan these days.)
The Odyssey2 display last year… went over like a lead balloon. I brought it because it was the tenth anniversary show and “Earl always brings the Odyssey2!”… but there’s no point in bringing it if no one plays it. 😕 Maybe the PS1 running old arcade compilations with the big arcade joystick will make a return. Or maybe I’ll just try to sell stuff again.
Last year I tiredly packed a heap of stuff to bring, forgetting that I was sharing my table with Ubik and MegaManFan… I could’ve just brought the O2 and the sale stuff and been done with it. I’m hoping this year that, what with the job-having and all, I might be able to pay for tables… maybe more than one table. Maybe then I’ll make more grandiose plans. The Coleco tabletop games are actually still packed up, and they require no electrical access, so they’re probably a good bet.
And yet I feel an obligation to change things up, rather than being That Guy Who Brought That Stuff… Again. On a year-to-year basis, OVGE itself doesn’t change much – that’s left up to the vendors and exhibitors. And yes, you do occasionally see folks who show up with the same stuff year after year. If it’s stuff for sale, and it’s popular (I’m thinking Drew’s arcade marquee enclosures here, and the bead art stuff that my son was all over last year), then there’s a point to bringing it. Speaking as someone who usually has “stuff to display” that’s separate from “stuff to sell”, however, I feel like it falls on me to vary things, bring something this year that nobody else has this year, or that nobody’s shown in years past. Hence my out-of-the-box thinking on the Weather Channel emulation.April 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm #6702
OVGE XI is confirmed for August 9th at PJgamers in Broken Arrow (a large suburb of Tulsa). I was curious about the venue, and went to look it up. It’s basically a combination of Arkadia Retrocade, a used game store, and a LAN center (I’m assuming the LAN center will be repurposed as the show floor for the day).
The official Facebook post from OVGE states “The new location gives us more space for arcades and over 50 tables. Pricing for tables etc.. is still being decided, but I can tell you the prices will be cheaper then past few OVGEs!”
Judging by the photos, I’m kinda wondering if 50 tables isn’t optimistic, but I guess we’ll see – the photos may not be showing the whole place (they were from Facebook albums chronicling a couple of recent LAN party events). If tables are cheaper this year, that means I can probably swing two tables without a problem. I’m having a hard time not being skeptical of the idea that this (taken during setup of the store):
…is going to hold almost as many tables as this:
(OVGE 2012 @ Spirit Bank Event Center)
Maybe it’s just the ceiling height tricking the eye into seeing it as a smaller space. If, down the road, a revision on the estimated number of tables the place can hold results in a “one table per exhibitor” rule, ah well, I’ll scale down accordingly.
On the plus side, there’s already an arcade there; another thought that occurs is how vendors like Game Xchange and Vintage Stock will feel about setting up shop inside what’s basically one of their competitors, even for just one day.
So many questions, but the show’s still on, so time to make plans. I definitely plan to be there.August 4, 2014 at 11:45 pm #6703
This year’s theme is… PDF Unplugged!
I’ll be bringing these. And they run on batteries. Hence: unplugged.
But I’ll have some other portable devices on hand to demonstrate how portable gaming has gone from “oh well, that’s good enough” to “original game code running in perfect emulation”.
I may also still be doing the Weather Channel emulator.
And, of course, the usual merch.
See you this weekend!August 6, 2014 at 5:20 pm #6704
I’ll be there. No tables for me this time so I’ll just be hanging around being a pest to everyone.
I hope Steve will be there this year. Last year he was a no show and I was very disappointed. Mr. Flibble was very cross.August 7, 2014 at 2:56 am #6705
I’m not planning on going this year either. The Game Chasers will most likely be there, and I don’t want to be around them for various reasons, but mostly because I worked with one of them and I ended up hating the guy. I have loved video games since my first home Pong console, this hobby means so much to me, and that asshole is ruining it for me, in a way. And they’ve whipped all the locals into scouring all the local thrifts and flea markets clean of anything fun and reselling it all on eBay, so I don’t find jack squat anymore. I still try to drive out someplace just for the adventure, but finding absolutely nothing time and again is so demoralizing.
I do have Saturday off, but I don’t think I’m going to change my mind anytime soon.August 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm #6706
EDIT: Is that why you were a no-show last year?August 8, 2014 at 3:31 am #6707
Yeah, pretty much. I don’t care to run into that douchebag again, I’ve already seen him at local area mini-cons a couple of times.
And another reason I won’t make it this year is because I now work Monday and Tuesday nights, 11pm until 7am, then the rest of my schedule for the week is 2pm to 10pm. That tends to screw up my sleep schedule, and it makes it incredibly difficult to go to sleep at 9am Wednesday morning and then a few days later I have to wake up at 4am to drive the four and a half hours to Tulsa, stay awake all day groggy from the sleeping pills I had to take the night before (that stay in my system for seven or eight hours after waking up), and feeling twitchy from the energy drinks I have to consume to get myself going that early. Then I have another four and a half hour drive back that night, since I’ll have to work on Sunday.August 8, 2014 at 9:08 am #6708
UG! And, I consider my schedule bad.
“We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene KranzAugust 10, 2014 at 5:51 am #6709
Well, it’s now August 10th… how’d the show go?August 10, 2014 at 9:56 pm #6710
The facility was indeed a bit on the cramped side, and there was one side of the place that was significantly hotter than the other side. I was hanging out with the cool kids, literally. Flack, Brett Weiss, Drew Stone, Delf, Brandon Staggs and Jeff Cooper were all on the “cool side” with me and we were still sweating.
Jesse reports that 400+ people showed up for this year’s show. The lineup of Coleco tabletop games + a couple of Jesse’s Entex games went over well, but the interest in the laptop running the Weatherstar 4000 emulator caught me by surprise. I thought I’d get a few smirks and laughs, and even wrote up a little placard to sit over the laptop keyboard with the title “Why on Earth would anyone emulate this?” But people were genuinely interested – they wanted to know where to get it, how to configure it, how to customize it, etc. We also had a humdinger of a little noisemaker storm blast through, so great time for a tech demonstration.
Sold one copy of each book, as well as some DVDs. The blue box full of random cartridges and other items – the “mad man with a blue box” sale – went over very very well. I made about $150 total from selling stuff, and had a good time chatting with Flack and swapping broadcast horror stories with Drew 😆 (with whom I really need to start a podcast).August 11, 2014 at 12:13 am #6711August 11, 2014 at 5:54 am #6712
You know, if the Weather Channel had any sense, they’d figure out how to put their branded Weather Star 4000 software into self-contained programs that can run as either screen savers for PC, Mac and Linux, they could also do it for Android and iOS. Without doing the slightest amount of research on it, I’m guessing that Weather Star 4000 is a software package from a vendor and nowadays won’t run on modern computers without emulators. They could always license or outright buy that particular version, slap it into a shell to run on new machines, and charge a buck or two for it to make their costs back. I’m sure that they aren’t even aware there’s a market for such a thing. Maybe you should email them your story.August 11, 2014 at 4:55 pm #6713
[cross-posted to Brian’s forum, Earl’s forum, and my forum]
After the convention’s previous space (the Spirit Bank Event Center) was converted into office space, OVGE 2014 was moved to PJ Gamers, a videogame store/arcade also located in Broken Arrow (roughly six miles from the old location).
I was told that PJ Gamers has roughly the same amount of square feet as the Spirit Bank location, but there’s no way it has as much usable space. PJ Gamers is divided into three rooms (instead of one large space). The middle room contains a large counter area and the “left” room (in relation to the front door) had a sales counter and a break area that took up maybe 1/4-1/5 of the usable space. Additionally, OVGE had a whopping 45 arcade cabinets on the show floor, and (by my count) approximately 50 6′ tables. The end result was the show was very crowded and very warm.
The left room consisted of me, Earl Green, Brandon Staggs, Jeff Cooper, Brett Weiss, Delf Meek, Drew Stone, and Josh Dunbar (Brian Green wasn’t able to attend). It was definitely tight quarters. Back to back (the space in the middle of our island) was six-feet from table to table, so with chairs on each side it was tough walking down the middle (we kind of had Jeff Cooper trapped for most of the show). Because of the layout Jeff Cooper only had 6′ of space on the backside for his 12′ of tables, which lead to some confusion (people kept asking Jeff about my things for sale, and half the time his kids were sitting behind my tables). The middle room had Jesse’s tournament tables, Trade-N-Games, and a bunch of arcade games, and the right-hand room had all the various game vendors along with some big displays.
So, let’s get this out of the way: the air conditioning was inadequate for the amount of arcade games and people in the space. Our room (the left hand side) stayed between 70-75 for most of the day. (Thanks to a tip from Brian and Delf, I brought a box fan with me which helped keep our area bearable.) The middle and right-hand room stayed between 80-85 degrees. Walking into the middle area where the arcade games were was like walking outside on a warm summer day. Within 5 minutes of playing Galaga I could feel sweat running down my face, arms, legs, and butt crack.
As for the PJ Gamers staff I have to say they were the most attentive volunteers I’ve seen at any show, ever. The guys were by every 15 minutes offering us free bottles of water, and the provided free pizza for lunch as well.
Being in the left-hand room had its advantages and disadvantages. At times it didn’t feel like we were a part of the show, and I think some guests didn’t even realize we were there. We definitely could not hear any of Jesse’s announcements being made throughout the show and because of the way the room was segmented off we couldn’t even see the main part of the show. That being said, our room was the quietest and the coolest of the show, which made visiting amongst ourselves easier.
Members of the Retro Gaming Society (RGS) took to Facebook over the weekend to voice their disappointment with the show. I believe the “rift” (if there is one) began when it was announced that if people want to bring things into the show to trade or sell they need to buy a table, otherwise they need to do it outside. I believe this is a fair rule; otherwise, why would anyone pay for a table? (I should note that that didn’t stop people. One fellow carried in something he was trying to sell and literally set it down on top of Brandon’s t-shirt display to show a potential buyer.) This rule caused members of RGS to set up their own swapmeet out in the parking lot (we could see multiple SUVs outside with their hatches open from where we were sitting). That worked until the rain started (and I can’t say that we weren’t chuckling about that). Here are two reviews direct from their Facebook page:
“I drove up to OBGYN and was literally disappointed. Highlights….meh??? Vintiques Drew Judd & Alex Benito had nice stuff!!! James Ainesworth had really decent stuff, the rest BOOOOO, it was cramp, extremely HOT…. Bought nothing, not really worth the $5 it cost to get in!!! Grade: EPIC FAIL!!!!”
“I went, I saw, and can honestly say it was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. This “con” simply felt like a swap meet held in the smallest place possible. I mean, seriously, they couldn’t find a bigger place? For a fat guy like me, space is a MUST. There was nothing there that screamed “I absolutely want that” out of the MAYBE 7-8 gaming vendors there and only one had decent prices. Will I go back? No, unless this turd fest does a complete 180 degree turn. What I can’t wait for is next year’s Super! BitCon. Come on March!”
I don’t know any of these people personally (and probably never will since I unjoined the RGS Facebook group over the weekend), but I’ll just say that some of those (and other) accusations on the page are quite ridiculous. If $5 is “not worth it” to play 45 different arcade games for free and browse 50 tables then I think your sense of value (and entitlement) might be off. And, really? It’s “the worst thing you’ve ever seen”? I also think it’s both disingenuous and suspicious that members of RGS (who also happen to be behind Super! BitCon, the “other” retrogaming convention that takes place in Oklahoma) are attacking OVGE so vehemently. The two shows take place 6 months and 100 miles apart; there’s room for both of them.
I think on paper it probably looked like PJ Gamers would be a good fit for the show and it just didn’t work out that way. I think the volunteers went above and beyond to make vendors as comfortable as possible with all the free water and pizza, so it had nothing to do with the people behind the show. If OVGE is going to be at the same place next year then some changes will have to be made (less arcade cabs and more A/C). I’m sure everyone involved already knows that.
I made $250 selling stuff on my table and my kids made $200 selling their videogame coasters and magnets. Earl posted that he made $150 and Brandon, Brett Weiss and Delf have all posted publicly saying that they made a profit. I’m not going to lie and say the show wasn’t cramped and wasn’t hot, but in the end I think it’s what you make of it. I can think of things I’d rather being doing less.August 11, 2014 at 6:09 pm #6714
Sounds like a logistics issue to me. $5 is basically a low-end combo meal at your local fast food joint, and sounds like fair compensation to a store which is giving up it’s business for a weekend. I know that, for a Toastmasters group, we face challenges in finding a location to hold club meetings, an area or division contest, club officer training, and the monthly district executive council meeting without any cost, not to mention the twice-yearly district conference.
“We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene KranzAugust 13, 2014 at 2:47 am #6715
It sounds like those Facebook reviews were written or inspired by the guy on OVGE’s Facebook wall who was griping about the trading rule; go and look at the post where Jesse announces the no-trading rule and you get the impression these guys made up their minds that the show sucked before the show even started.
Within 5 minutes of playing Galaga I could feel sweat running down my face, arms, legs, and butt crack.
One thing I could’ve done without, and this is really a personal pet peeve of mine: vaping. I’m not in favor of it in general. At least two of the store staff were doing this almost constantly. I am aware that the store sells products for that habit/addiction, and it’s far from the first convention I’ve run into it (and one of the sci-fi cons that I frequent has had to ban it, both as permissible merchandise for vendors and as a permissible activity). Honestly… it so often just strikes me as “Hey, I can’t smoke, so I’m smoking anyway! F@$% you!” The science is finally coming to the conclusion that it’s not much better than smoking, and the second-hand vapor is not as harmless as falsely advertised. I really could’ve done without the vaping. Other than that, the staff was taking good care of us.
As for another other deficiencies of the venue… as I said so many times on the day… it was this or no show for this year. I’m glad there was a show this year, sweaty and stormy as it was. I don’t know that I’ll be able to do many/any shows next year what with the second round of fatherhood kicking in.
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