This past weekend, I took part in a yearly tradition for myself.
For the past three years, I’ve been going to the Houston Arcade Expo, in which several companies and collectors bring arcade games, pinball games, and old console systems to be played. In addition, other companies come selling wares, from stuff like old toys to replacement parts for machines. In past years Jennifer had accompanied me, but the subject matter never really interested her. This time, I went by myself while she ran errands with her parents.
I have to admit, this year they had more games available than I remember in previous years. While the secondary room was full of arcade games and pinball machines, the main room had more than its fair share of both types of machines. In addition, several companies like AtariAge had set up several old consoles like the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Commodore 64, and others, complete with games old and new. Needless to say I played some, from Space Invaders (the first console game I ever owned) to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (which I gave up on after fifteen seconds because it sucked as bad as I remembered). They even had stacks of homebrew games. Who needs Halo 4 when you have Halo 2600? ;-)
I also got to play several of my old favorite arcade and pinball games. My three favorite pinball machines were there: Doctor Who, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (which someone had tricked out with LED lighting on the playfield), and Judge Dredd. In addition, the aforementioned Space Invaders (which I THINK was my first ever video game) was there in arcade format. As far as pinball games went, there were newer ones too; I never got a chance to play the Tron one, and the Transformers one always seemed to have a problem with lost balls. I certainly couldn’t say I didn’t have my fill of games, and overall, the advantage with playing at the expo as opposed to the Pac-Man Fever Fridays at Joystix is that almost all of the machines were in good working order.
I also went to the expo to buy some arcade-related decor for my office. In the end, I ended up purchasing a wood Mortal Kombat dragon logo from Classic Arcade Works, and a Mortal Kombat Reptile action figure from Game Over Videogames. I need to get a stand for the dragon logo, while the Reptile action figure already has a home on the wall of figures in my work cubicle. One of the most interesting items that was being sold, though, was a micro Tron cabinet. It was less than three inches tall, and the artwork was exact. What made this cabinet amazing was that it WORKED. The controllers didn’t operate, but the little screen was showing the game in attract mode. I have to admit, it was amazing, If the unit hadn’t been $200 or so, I would have picked one up.
All in all, I had a GREAT time. I ended up spending several hours there, and took a few pictures as well. I put them on my site gallery, and they can be seen here. You can believe I’ll definitely be going back next year. :-)