Behind every show, there’s a carefully coordinated backstage operation – unless you’re talking about the area behind the Phosphor Dot Fossils table. I brought about twice as much stuff as I needed, and some of it – like the Odyssey overlays and light rifle – wasn’t seen by anyone. But at least I knew where my towel was.

OKGE 2003
Kent’s clearly the best Odyssey pitchman since Sinatra. (Note Q*Bert on the Odyssey2.)

OKGE 2003
For those seeking a less stressful multi-player experience, you could go up against “Dr. Mario Kart” himself, Shane Kukiattikoon – and get $1,000 if you could beat him. I don’t think anyone came away from those machines one grand richer today, though.

OKGE 2003Finally, close to the planned closing time for the show, the crowd thinned out, and some vendors broke down their displays and hit the road ahead of schedule (but some of them, like Warpzone, had a very long drive home ahead of them). Jess had time to get a few games in (and so did his mom – 2600 Frogger, no less!), and we still had people playing the Odyssey (and nothing else – I had time play the PS1 and Odyssey2, and set myself up a mean game of Missile Command complete with trakball). And before you know it, the show’s over, the crowd’s gone, and everybody’s packing their wares. I suppose I must have OKGE 2003been in denial – by the time Kent and I broke down the Phosphor Dot Fossils display, AtariAge was the only other vendor left, and Jess and his family were trying to get his gear packed up.

It sounds more and more like there will be another OKGE in 2004, and I’m up for it – and this time, I may do something nutty and sign up for more table space.

Lessons learned from my first shot at being an exhibitor:

  1. OKGE 2003Don’t leave the most popular system in the corner. I had the Odyssey in a corner where people were crunched up against the Hardestys’ high-score competition table. I should’ve taken a moment to move the necessary gear to the other side of my table to make things more accessible. Then again, the Odyssey had so little downtime, I’m not sure I could’ve done so without upsetting anyone. Next year, the Odyssey will be back – and it’ll be front and center.
  2. OKGE 2003More signage! As if I could’ve possibly squeezed the Phosphor Dot Fossils logo onto one more thing. But I should’ve had instructions for every single game I brought with me to display. Some of the PS1 and Odyssey2 stuff, people wouldn’t touch – because it was just sitting there and because I was a bit sleepy to try to be a carny for it. The Odyssey, on the other hand – well, basically, it’s just like Pong. Everyone knows how to play it.
  3. More unique games. I had high hopes that the prospect of playing Robotron or Crazy Climber with that big beautiful double joystick would make some folks happy, but hardly anyone touched those games. I had Galaxian3 with me, along with a multi-tap and four standard dual-shock controllers. I should have hooked that puppy up. I guess if someone can play it at home with MAME, a fancy joystick isn’t going to make it any more exciting. And as for the retro arcade compilations, I quickly discovered that nothing’s as certain as the fact that some hapless soul will unknowingly walk away, having punched some button combination that leaves the machine he was just on stuck displaying a warning about having no memory card. In Kanji.
  4. OKGE 2003Get more sleep. Pretty self-explanatory.
  5. Don’t leave home without Kent. I would’ve been in very, very serious trouble without his help – both at the show and driving home, when I started to fall asleep at the wheel. Time to put him on the virtual payroll (hopefully he’s okay with working this next year for virtual pay).
  6. Bring a gazillion dollars. Because I want Star Fire for the 2600 and that Sinistar marquee.

OKGE had a great showing and excellent organization for a first-time show. OKGE v2.0 can’t help but be even better. If you’re in the mid-south area, keep an eye open for the next show in about a year – this is one to watch. It’s not CGE, but it doesn’t need to be – if you recall my CGE 2003 report, I kicked myself for missing keynote presentations, and yet I would’ve missed out on playing games and meeting people – both forum acquaintances and otherwise – if I had gone to every one of them. There’s room for both kinds of shows.

See you next year!