Arcade Expo 2012 Houston Area Arcade Group

Arcade Expo 2012 came and went this past weekend. The event that has been around for 11 years and the grapevine finally swung over to me. Hearing about a magical place filled with classic pinball machines, arcade cabinets, consoles, and more sounded terrific.  It was!

Pinballs, Pinballs as far as the eye can see.

There were many things to take in as I wonder the Crown Plaza Hotel were the gathering was held.  Imagine two ballrooms filled with nothing but electronic entertainment. Tournaments were held for competitive games like Donkey Kong and various pinball machines. Vendors were selling all sorts of goodies like consoles, classic cartridge games, and cabinet artwork.  Exhibitors were also there to promote their products like Multimorphic and Retro Quest.  (Watch the video and click on their links to learn more)

All of sudden, a wild Atari appears.

 All the obvious classics were there: Q*bert, Mario Bros, The Simpsons Arcade, Space Invaders, Quartet, Burger Time, Sinister, Tron, and of course Mr. and Ms. Pacman. You had a cornucopia of pinball machines old and new. My article could have just been a list of everything I saw.  What I appreciated was seeing these timeless game in their respective cabinets.  Cabinets weren’t the only things that made an appearance.  There were several rows filled with retired but much welcomed consoles like the Atari 2600, Vectrex, Jaguar, 3D0, etc.   After the initial entry fee, everything was free and open to play until closing.  It was like being in a hands-on museum at times. It’s easy to find almost all these games online or through emulators to play, but being born in the 90s I had never seen a lot of these stuff in their prime.  Seeing the cabinets and playing these games as they were originally presented, was a real treat.

Nostalgic isn’t it?

This same “treat” was however, at moments, a small downside to the event.  Majority of the items in the expo was before my time. Even though it was nice seeing old gen games after a while, I also wanted to see original cabinets from my era.  Street Fighter, Metal Slug, Mortal Kombat, X-men, etc. This shortfall was short-lived by home-made emulator cabinets presented at the expo. CX21Arcade provided 5 emulator cabinets, 4 small, and 1 with all the classics I was hoping to play.  Which instantly was the highlight of the show for me.  I always found myself coming back to play Marvel vs. Capcom or TMNT Turtles in Time.  The best part was when Killer Instinct was running on the emulator.  It attracted a lot of hype and several of us crowded at the machine. We played King of the Hill, winner keeps playing as the loser falls back to wait for another shot. Classic, combo-filled, goodness.

It never gets old.

 The Arcade Expo, to me, was a tremendous success.  I saw young and old enjoying these timeless classic.  Based on age group and preference, the joy of this event could be told through different POVs.  A child who was born during the new gen era could view these games as relics or pieces of gaming history.  A man who grew up during the prime of these games can relive his childhood though nostalgia once more.  Another person that likes video games but love of pinball never died, can have once more try for that high score. Playing Killer Instinct with people who enjoyed the game as much as me was great.  It had been years since that happened and brought back memories from playing it as a little kid. People’s experiences could differ when attending, but overall I feel that they can all agree, the 2012 Arcade Expo was a wonderful weekend experience.

Ran into the new Disney empire at the event too.

Arcade Expo

Retro Quest

Geeks and Dorks 


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.