A kid in a candy store, who has his own money to spend, can be a very dangerous thing. Luckily, I was pretty frugal at my first retro gaming convention. I put back games that were priced too high for me and stuck to only the best deals on games I will actually play. Definitely had to get a shirt also to comememorate my first convention, and I thought the design was awesome so that was a plus. Nothing was technically “overpriced”, but more just on par with what the going rate is on the market. Those of you who are into the retro scene may know that this can be pretty expensive depending on the items rarity. That is of course unless you find them at thrift shops, garage sales, or flea markets, where there tends to be a huge mark down or general lack of knowledge of what the items may usually go for. I sadly have not yet had the best luck with these avenues, but persistence pays and there are some great deals to find while at those places in the mean time. I recommend those options even though I’ve had minimal luck with them because literally every retro gaming collector who I look up to and watch on YouTube says those are great ways to go. Where I have found more luck is on Craigslist, Offer Up, and LetGo. People need some extra money so they will list their whole collection and you can find different lots of games at remarkable prices depending on your timing.
Back to the topic at hand though, Retropalooza was for me a bit overwhelming. As soon as we walked in, BOOM, Gamester 81 is standing right in front of my face. I’m a huge fan of MetalJesusRocks and the All Gen Gamers podcast that he is a part of so I felt star struck right from the jump. He was talking with a vendor who had some Sega games so I started to look through the games and then found an in box copy of The Lost Vikings for Genesis and I ask the vendor, “Was that Gamester that was just right here??” He confirms that it was and I tell him I wish I could have gotten him to sign my game. The vendor is kind enough to actually run me over to him and tell him I was hoping to get his signature which was so awesome of him to do. I wish I had asked his business name so I could give him a plug here but if I find out later I will be sure to mention it. This was when I turned into a bumbling idiot, well not right away. I was able to mention to him that I really enjoy the All Gen Gamers podcast and how much I appreciated it, but when we got over to the table where he was sitting I am pretty sure I lost my shit.
They were all right there, I saw the Game Chasers, 8-Bit Eric, AlphaOmegaSin, BeatEmUps/The Game Quest, Grimsie42, I was straight freakin. I went back to the table to see if I could get a few more autographs since I was a fan of all of them and 8-Bit Eric was nice enough to oblige, many of the others were busy at the moment. So that experience kind of set the mood for the rest of the time for me. It’s a surreal experience meeting people that you admire and are a fan of so I was kind of on cloud 9 for the rest of the time we were shopping around. This did cloud my judgement on a couple of pick ups, I did not check the box on my Lost Vikings and realized later the inside of it was broke and couldn’t hold the game. I also noticed that the label on my Altered Beast was pretty badly damaged, and there was a better copy at the same vendor that I could have swapped it with. Overall though I left very happy with my pick ups and look forward to playing Sonic & Knuckles with my wife when we have the time. Even though she is totally going to make me look like a chump because she is a beast at Sonic.
I wanted to stay for the panels but we had our 2 babies with us and they couldn’t take too much more by that point. Hopefully next year I will be able to stay and watch everybody speak, I’m sure they had a bunch of great tips to give the audience. There was plenty to do for everybody, they had an open snack bar up front, a Street Fighter tournament going on in the same area, consoles to play against each other in the back, vendors with games and art as far as the eye could see, and of course the YouTuber’s who I mentioned earlier that were very friendly and accessible. I brought a bunch of games to trade, but I never pulled the trigger and asked somebody about initiating one. I am just not that familiar with the trading process at shows like that and wanted to be more comfortable with it so maybe next time I will give that a shot. All in all I totally recommend this convention to anybody who is interested. The Game Chasers put them on annually at the Arlington & Pasadena Convention Center’s so right in the Dallas & Houston areas. If you can make it to one it is definitely worth checking out. I almost forgot to mention that the event itself is super affordable to go to. For the one day we only payed 15$ each and the kids were free. They also made the shirt only 15$ so you can tell they were trying to make it an enjoyable and affordable experience for us gamers.
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