One of the highlights of OKGE 2004 was the special guest appearance by none than one of video gaming’s first full-time musicians, George Alistair “The Fat Man” Sanger. He’s worked on everything from Thin Ice in the Intellivision days, to PC DOS-era classics like Wing Commander, Star Trek: Judgement Rites, Master Of Orion, The 7th Guest and Ultima: Runes Of Virtue.
Along with a fellow member of Team Fat whose name I failed to catch, George not only made the rounds to see what was on display, but played bluesy covers of everything from “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” to “Dixieland” to “Word Up” (!). To say the guy’s a hoot and a holler is an understatement – as is saying he’s a damn good musician.
Brad and Carrie Strahle of Messiah Entertainment (they’re the ones in the jersey-type shirts) were on hand to demonstrate the amazing new Messiah wireless NES and Super Nintendo controllers.
A complete collector’s set of working Messiah controller prototypes was raffled off as well – and for some reason it doesn’t seem like people bought tickets like I did, so your chances of winning if you entered were pretty darn good. As it turned out, the winner was a young man whose trip to OKGE was his birthday present.
Getting the next generation hooked on classic gaming – the first hit’s free, kid, but the second one’ll cost you.
But the AtariAge tables weren’t a bad place to pick up the habit, with homebrew games aplenty. Debuting at OKGE 2004 were Seawolf and a BurgerTime-ish Atari 5200 game called Beef Drop. AtariAge was also selling copies of Tree Wave’s outstanding Cabana+ EP CD.
Also playing at AtariAge’s table were work-in-progress versions of Fade Out, Reflex, Incoming! and the eagerly awaited Homestar Runner RPG for the 2600 and the amazing Pac-Man Collection for ColecoVision.
AtariAge boss man Albert Yarusso also made the rounds, camera in hand, capturing the OKGE action.
Collector Brad Prillwitz held a Space Invaders tournament at his table, with all contestants qualifying on a Japanese import Space Invaders 25th anniversary edition.
I didn’t even come close to winning with my measley score of just over a thousand, and that’s a great pity, because check out the grand prize…
…it’s a very cool controller housing shaped like an original Space Invaders arcade cocktail cabinet. You just put a standard Playstation or PS2 controller inside, and the miniature joystick and fire button on the arcade cabinet tap the appropriate buttons on the controller. COOL.
Mad props are also due for Oklahoma City video game collector Rob “Flack” O’Hara and his unique theme – console-based gadgets that can make copies of whatever’s in the console.
From Super NES cartridge copiers to a PS2 with the ability to rip games to the machine’s internal hard drive, Rob had an excellent selection and an untiring enthusiasm to explain and show off his gear. All that was missing was a parrot and an eyepatch!
Meanwhile at Brad Prillwitz’s table, the next generation gets to grips with the Gamecube – but some kids didn’t find it quite so thrilling.
That’s okay, daddy’s there to take over.
Brad also had his Atari Jaguar and a Vectrex on display, the latter with an amazing custom controller featuring real live arcade controls. This was the first time I’ve ever actually played a Vectrex. Now I want one. It’s all Brad’s fault. (I also want one of those controllers, but from what he told me about the going price on eBay for that out-of-production gem, I think it’s safe to say I’d rather be able to eat.)
Fellow northwest-Arkansan Brian Green and his wife had loads of Commodore goodness, with a C128, a C64, and even the obscure Amiga CD32 console on display. Brian also donated a Commodore 1541 disk drive and cable to the Phosphor Dot Fossils collection so we can finally get that Commodore 64 section going here (thanks, Brian!).
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