The second annual Oklahoma Electronic Game Expo (OEGE) took place Saturday, April 11th, 2009 at Oklahoma City Community College. OEGE was actually a weekend-long event for me, as out-of-town friends of mine began trickling in Friday afternoon.
Not to be confused with the similarly named Oklahoma Video Game Expo (OVGE), OEGE is organized and thrown by a local college club/group. While the focus of OVGE is (mostly retro) video games, the theme of OEGE is a little more difficult to discern. It’s definitely different than your run-of-the-mill gaming convention; it’s more like a trade show. The focus really wasn’t on buying and selling old games. (There were only three people there selling video games, and two of them were friends of mine who ended up hanging out at my house Saturday night.) Of the fifteen or so vendors who made it to the show, half of them weren’t selling anything at all.
The coolest stuff for me personally at the show was the retro stuff. Local circuit bending musician TV Death Squad performed live for an hour during the show. When I saw a couple of punks carrying in a bunch of DJ equipment I was fearing for the worst, but TV Death Squad turned out to be really entertaining. Halfway through their set, the DJ handed Mason and Morgan hacked joysticks that played different sounds and samples and let them jam along to the music he was playing.
OEGE 2009 also marked the debut of Earl “Phosphor Dot Fossils” Green’s second PDF DVD. Both PDF volumes (Volume I and Volume II) feature three hours of chronological video game footage, commercials, facts and trivia. If you like footage of old games or enjoy things like Pop-Up Video, you will love these DVDs. If you didn’t pick them up at the show, check out Earl’s site and pick them up there for $20 shipped to anywhere in the US. I think there’s a special two-volume set just around the corner as well.
Fellow author Brett Weiss, author of Classic Home Video Games, 1972-1984: A Complete Reference Guide was also in attendance. Brett’s always a cool guy to catch up with, and along with his books he was also one of the three tables selling old games (along with Phosphor Dot Fossils and fellow game collector 98Pacecar).
And then there was my table. Last year at OVGE I tried doing too many things at once: demonstrating arcade parts, running a Commodore demo, selling a gaggle of video game stuff and (of course) signing and selling books. At OEGE I decided to simplify things and just sell books. Armed with only the bare essentials (including a box of books and two impressive signs printed by Paco over at Action Signs and Design in Norman — seriously, give Paco a call at (405) 364-3879 for all your vinyl sign and banner printing needs and tell him I sent you!) I set up my space and, along with my buddy Jeff, spent the majority of the day making sad puppy dog eyes at college students as they walked by and sneered at “the guy selling books.”
I was scheduled to give my presentation “Collecting Arcade Games” at 2:30pm, but at exactly 2:30pm there were only three other people besides me in the room, and two of them were my friend Jeff and my son Mason. I waited another ten minutes before starting and at that point there were almost 20 people in the room so I figured that was as good as it was going to get. (Unfortunately my speech was scheduled right during the highlight of the big game tournament, which is where 2/3 of the attendees were by that point in time.) A few other people trickled in late but no one left early, so that was a good sign. As always I started off okay, got really nervous five minutes into the presentation, and calmed down another five minutes later. I’m sure if I saw a video of my presentation (and it was filmed by the college) I’m sure I would hate it, but it felt … well, it didn’t feel like the worst presentation I ever gave, so I guess that’s good. There were no technical difficulties and I was exactly on time so, eh, it was what it was. There were a few people in the crowd smiling and nodding so it felt like I connected with at least a few people.
I connected with a few others during the show. I’m terrible with names but there was the musician kid with the long hair, the kid who I talked to about writing fiction (everybody under 25 is a kid to me these days), and the staff member who I talked to about DOS and old luggable computers and Linux and BBSes. Several years ago at OVGE I found that if I put out modern systems I got a lot of kids standing around playing my stuff all day, and when I put old stuff out I get interesting people to talk to. I also learned that if you put out candy you will have the most popular booth at the show. I skipped the candy this year and played it low key.
As always, my buddy Jeff was indispensable at the show. Jeff helped me run the table, wrangle up Mason, keep an eye on things when I would wander off to take pictures, and basically be “the responsible one”. I could not have done it without him. Again.
Speaking of pictures, I just installed ZenPhoto tonight so I might as well put my OEGE pictures there. Check it out and tell me how it compares to the other (Picasa) albums. I can tell you this — the ZenPhoto album looks like a lot less maintenance when it comes to adding new pictures and I suspect (if it runs okay) I will move everything over to it very shortly.
Thanks to Susan for helping with the house and the party planning. Thanks to everybody who bought a book, came to my presentation, or just stopped by the table to chat. Thanks to Paco for the rush job on the signs, and Drew Stone for doing such a good job on the show. Thanks to Brian, Ginger, Emmy, Darren, Steve, Earl, Charles, Dad, Linda, Doug, and everybody else who came out to the show or hung out at the house this weekend. And finally, extra special thanks to Jeff for putting up with my kookiness and spending his entire Saturday helping me out.
Susan flies out to DC tomorrow; she’ll be gone Monday through Thursday afternoon; Thursday morning, I hit the road for Cleveland. Sometime between now and then, I have to install our new home camera/security system. I’m really looking forward to next weekend, and I’m kind of looking forward to next weekend being over.