VR/AR (not quite retro)
We arrived about an hour after opening and were lucky enough to stumble upon the beloved PIG (Portland Indie Game) squad. They were hosting a VR/AR area with an Oculus, Playstation VR, and VIVE.
There was one more experience in corner and we first thought it was a Leap Motion, but no, it was a Magic Leap. We shuffled over to look.
Overall, it’s neat, but not even close to the hype that the company promoted. Very small view frustum, small screen space. I don’t see them being able to attract developers. Currently, the company has 1700 employees -that’s a lot of payroll.
Our next stop was the Game Museum, a large conference room size area centered with several rows of the complete NES collection. It was a lot of fun to hear everyone pacing through the collection saying things like, “I love that game!”.
We got a chance to see the Nintendo Playstation -and no, that’s not a typo. The Nintendo Playstation was one of 200 prototypes build when Sony & Nintendo were collaborating. The project failed and both companies parted ways. The kids loved it.
The vendor area was fun, but not quite the best area for the kids. There were some great $1 and $2 deals for Xbox 360 and older PlayStation games and your typical t-shirts and game related crafts. One of the boys found a Slime Rancher keychain that interested them.
In the console area, we were able to play nearly every console. Simply find an empty console and then head over to the library where the nice assistant would fetch you a game from their wide selection. People were friendly and if you wanted to play for a while, people were fine with that. Instead of being impatient, they would sit down with you and enjoy the gameplay.
The arcade area is the most busy. We floated around for a while looking for empty games not unlike someone stalking parking spots at a busy lot. We played a few classic arcade games, but had a bit more fun playing some tabletops that were nearby.
Another highlight of the arcade was the pinball. Isn’t pinball always fun? The kids loved it and I’m pretty sure we played more pinball then quarter games.
Finally, there were a few areas where tournaments were happening. We would have enjoyed watching a Melee tournament, but we didn’t happen to be in the area while it was happening. The main attraction was the Tetris World Championship which always had a crowd buzzing around.
Overall, the Portland Retro Game Expo is a great conference and a good place for kids -we stayed for almost five hours. It’s big enough to keep you busy all weekend but small enough to see some familiar faces. Everyone is very relaxed and friendly and only the (expected) high food prices gave us pause. We can’t wait to stop by again next year.