written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Like my own personal Delorean, the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo was like being transported to a time when everything in gaming was simpler. Pixelated graphics and chip tune audio, simpler times.
This was my first time attending SRGE and I’m wondering why I haven’t done it before. The space is super small compared to other cons I attend, but the vibe was warm and welcoming. One hall was used entirely for vendors; everything from crafty goodness like all things chic from Geekgasm Clothing to retro games vendors like Game Gurus in North Seattle. Here is the bazaar of the whole event. Looking for a Sega Genesis in good working condition? Trying to nab a copy of Sim City for the SNES? This was your hall. Artists were featured prominently as well throughout the entire convention. Unlike the typical con, the variety of artists felt more varied. Notable attendees like Radio Gosha and Pete Ellison featured unique works that strayed far from the typical fan art of Naruto jumping off a rock.
The open gaming room ended up being my favorite place the entire con. Tables of classic games systems plus a few arcade machines kept the many retro gaming fans entertained. I have to admit that when I popped in a copy of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out for the original Nintendo Entertainment System, my inner 5-year-old kid was both delighted and appalled; I was delighted to be transported back to a simpler time but appalled that I was really not good at these games anymore… I swear I used to be good at them. Despite my personal disappointment in myself, I did enjoy taking a stroll down memory lane.
At my core, I’m a gamer through and through. All my personal memories are so linked to gaming that regardless whether I’m remembering playing with my grade school best friend or the day that I woke up to the news that my grandmother had passed away, these memories are linked to the games I was playing at the time. When I stopped gaming for a (very brief) period in my life… since girls didn’t really dig the gamer geek back then… those memories all kind of bleed into each other like a strange milkshake of blended moments.
Another room was dedicated solely to panels, I admit that I didn’t get the chance to catch too many panels, but when I was taking a break from running around and interviewing artist, I’d relax a bit in the panel room and hear what one of the guests had to say.
What this con lacked in breadth, it more than made up for in all the little things that truly mattered. Being with your fellow like-minded gamer buddies and chatting games til the seconds turn to hours. It’s something that can’t be measured in attendance or monetary revenue, as a press outlet that covers a wide variety of conventions from the SDCC (the Mardi Gras of geek gatherings) to more niche events like Everfree (ain’t no party like a Brony party…) I’ve got to say that the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo sits high on my list of conventions.
Overall, the strength in this con sits firmly on the shoulders of the attendees. All the value I gained from this weekend came directly from all the people I met and the friends I hung out with throughout the entire con weekend. I love moments like this, it’s conventions like SRGE and the people I met that make all those years the popular kids made fun of me for my Super Mario t-shirts… pretty damn worth it.