CGE 2K4 – First Hand Account
Author :        Date : 10-Oct-05

It was the Dark Watcher's first classic gaming convention, and needless to say we were as excited as a boy with a "Nudie" magazine.  We expected to see a few of our favorite classic consoles, but we were amazed at what else was displayed.  The Classic Gaming Expo 2004 was a fabulous blend of classic consoles, prototypes, hands on gaming, and more.

So allow us to share a few of the highlights and a few of the centerfolds' we got to check out.

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The convention brought several vendors and exhibitors. (starting right to left) had a large assortment of classic consoles, controllers, and handheld games.  Jakks Pacific showed off a number of their "Plug & Play" classic gaming devices.  Game developer Konami showed up to not only show remakes of their classic game titles, but to debut their Playstation 2 version of the cult classic Gradius V.  They also had a high score competition going, but ole DW didn't make the cut (like it's predecessors, Gradius V is tough!).  Coleco (best known for their Colecovision) had this banner hanging on the wall demonstrating their years of gaming contributions.  There were also a couple of their classic handhelds on display.  If you look close enough you can also read a message that says "The name in electronic gaming returns January 2005".  Is Coleco making a comeback?
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Speaking of Colecovision… Check out this beauty!  What you are looking at is the Colecovision Jr. It is a smaller redesigned console created by a Mr. Jay Tilton.  It was proudly put on display by the Northwest Classic Game Enthusiasts or NWCGE.  They also had several other things on display, but the Colecovision Jr truly took the cake.  Also exhibiting was  Their product is a retro-inspired educational video game console designed specifically for both hardware and software hackers.  At least that is what the site says.  The next pic actually shows their XGameStation Micro Edition (XGS ME) Video Game System development kits (kind of cool).
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We will mention one other exhibitor before we get to the good stuff.  Digital Press also made an appearance.  Their website was a wealth of information for this website.  Check them out if your into classic consoles (particularly collectors).  The next pic is probably the best way to begin our display of classic goodies.  It is Ralph Baer's "Brown Box>" that would eventually give birth to the Magnavox Odyssey.  Of course what followed was a pong craze.  It would make it abroad, and effect Japan. Thus the birth of the Color TV Game line.  Hmm..wonder who made those.  Of course it was none other then Nintendo!  Yeah, but next up is the first console to show the Nintendo logo.  It was the Color TV Block Kusure (1979).  It played variations of the arcade hit Breakout.
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Nintendo had quite a few other interesting items on display, but one thing stuck out in ole DW's eyes.  The Famicombox was Nintendo's earliest ways of letting you play videogames in Japanese hotels.  Just insert a coin, and choose the game you want to play!  The machine allowed you to play 10 to 20 minutes per coin.  There were also various NES accessories shown such as Powerglove and U-Force.  There were several cartridge rarities also on display to include early development and black market titles.  It was also nice to get our claws onto the Japanese only Satellaview BS-X.
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Ever wonder what gamers looked like in the 1970's?  We suppose it looked like this next image of a typical Atari game.  Atari had some pretty interesting items on display as well. From some early Atari pinball machines to wireless or remodeled Atari 2600 machines, there were certainly some interesting items.  There were quite a few prototypes as well including the Atari 5100.
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There were several more machines, and accessories that we had never seen or heard of.  There was this beautifully modified Sega CD and a color prototype of Vectrex.  Then there were two different Intellivision computer kits.
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Atari definitely had the most consoles such as the Atari Video System X (which later became Atari 5200), the Atari Mirai (which we recently covered on the site) and several clones (including that awful colored one).  The homemade VCSp portable by Benjamin J. Heckendorn was also on display.
We finished out the evening enjoying many of the playable systems scattered throughout the event.  We also walked home with a few new toys.  All in all the Expo was a spectacular event.  If you get a chance to check it out CGE, you might find yourself in the company of Dark Watcher.  For now, we will leave you with a few more highlights….

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The Magnavox Odyssey 2 with the many faces of Intellivision.  The Odyssey again alongside the Neo Geo.  The Panasonic 3D0 FZ-10 next to a Vectrex.
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The many models of Philips CD-i.  The Emerson Arcadia with clones Leisure-Vision and Schmid.  The classic Bally Astrocade and the grand daddy of cartridge based consoles known as Channel F.
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The rare classic APF M-1000 and the fabulous Sega clone DINA. The prototypes Atari Panther and Sega Neptune.
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Two shots of the Pioneer LaserActive with the Sega Mega-LD pack.  The Japanese only Sharp Twin Famicom and the Atari 7800.
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A Neo Geo Gold system with a Sega Master System.  The NEC TurboGrafx-16 with CD-Rom.  The Amiga CD32 and the RCA Studio II buried with other accessories.

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