Classic Game Fest: 2016


Classic Game Fest took over the Palmer Events Center last weekend. This two-day event was advertised as “The Biggest Retro Video Game Convention in Texas.” That seemed like a valid claim. It was big. 


Bill and I visited the Fest on Sunday because a) it was air-conditioned, and b) we wanted to hear the Intellivision panel discussion. Four programmers spoke about their experiences working for Mattel as members of what was called The Blue Sky Rangers. Their stories from the late 70s/early 80s sounded familiar: up-to-the-last-minute testing and debugging; three-month project schedules that always took six months to complete; hand-delivering manufacturing master cartridges by putting someone on a plane. Unfortunately, Intellivision’s popularity and sales were short-lived due to increasing competition and the North American Video Game Crash of 1983. (Yes, this is really a Wikipedia entry.)  One of the panelists, Keith Robinson, eventually purchased the Intellivision rights and now sells a smaller look-alike system called Intellivision Flashback.


After that blast-from-the-past panel discussion, Bill and I wandered around the convention floor. Live bands played on a stage in the far corner, making for an extremely noisy convention floor. Some attendees were dressed as their favorite characters. Tables were set up for playing all the old video games from companies such as Nintendo, Atari, and Sega. The retro TVs fit right in.


Classic arcade and pinball games were lined up along the back wall. Alas, we found out that our Ms. PacMan skills are very rusty.


The convention was filled with vendors selling vintage (=old) video games and equipment. Bill inquired about the value of his original Intellivision console and game collection. No big surprise…it’s not worth much.


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