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Ben's PGRE Trends


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#1 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:44 PM

I really enjoyed visiting PGRE this weekend, but it was very clear that this retro gaming hobby has moved on a bit.  There were two trends that made this show so different from the Classic Gaming Expos I loved in the 2000s.

 

1) Nintendo Kids

 

For many of the attendees, their retro games started with the NES or Super NES or Sega Genesis.  I suspect some of the attendees started with the Playstation/N64 era.  It's great to see so many people excited about those systems, but it drowned out much of the discussion of anything older.  Of course, it was great that PGRE still had space for those -- there was a lot of Intellivision love, Al did a great job with the AtariAge booth, and I loved seeing a fair amount of Atari 8-bit computer hardware on display.  There was also a table full of TI 99/4A systems.  However, most of the games available were NES and newer, sometimes with a box of 2600 and Intellivision commons over to the side.

 

2) YouTube Celebrities

 

I saw a bunch of good panels at PGRE, but the ones that consistently had long lines and capacity rooms were the YouTubers.  Angry Video Game Nerd, Metal Jesus Rocks, Gaming HIstorian, Pat the NES Punk, and so on.  I admit they can be entertaining, but it was a little sad that people were more interested in seeing the people that talk about games than then people that actually made the games.  I was in the Imagic talk on Sunday and there were 40 people in the room, compared the the 150+ for an earlier talk about the Super Mario Brothers movie.

 

So, the event left me feeling a bit old.  I probably won't be back next year (Portland's pretty far from Austin), but I'm glad I did get to experience it.  It did give me some ideas to suggest to the organizers of Austin's own Classic Game Fest.



#2 Metal Jesus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:15 PM

This is interesting feedback...and one that I think is completely valid for a certain part of the attendees. I was listening to a podcast recently from some gamers who were in their 20s and they admitted that they can't even stand looking at Atari games... it's just too alien and simple for them.

 

As for the YouTuber panels, obviously I am a beneficiary of this, and at over 40 million views it's the reason why those lines happen. That said, I've had a LOT of people tell me that they got into retro game collecting because of my videos...and every once in a while... they will even mention my Atari 2600 or Jaguar videos, which warms my heart :)



#3 Metal Jesus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:27 PM

Speaking of feeling old... During my panel at PRGE (which was full), I asked "Who remembers those Infocom Text Adventures?"

 

Maybe 5 people raised their hands....

 

 

 

I felt old ;)



#4 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:31 PM

Sorry for sounding negative -- I think the YouTube videos are great, but that's one part of the hobby that's changed a lot since I got involved back in the USENET days.  I wonder when we'll finally be seeing panels from people who worked on the Jaguar or in developers like Tengen or 3DO.  There was a panel that poked fun at the CDi and Nuon consoles, but given that a lot of people worked on those, I'd love to see a retrospective panel featuring devs that did some of those games or who implemented the hardware.  I remember when I started at Motorola, I worked with an engineer who'd been on the 68060 project, a chip designed specifically for Phillips to use in the CDi.

 

The lack of content on older systems probably also has a lot to do with the lack of sophistication.  There are many great 2600 games, but not many that have the kind of depth that actually requires long commentary.  Memory got cheap enough with the NES era (and the computer games that also were dominant then) to give games much more of a narrative arc.  That gives people a lot more to engage with.  I think the older game system fans who are still active are more into them for the technology aspect, while once you hit the NES era, you get a lot more of the emotion,



#5 tep392 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:58 PM

Speaking of feeling old... During my panel at PRGE (which was full), I asked "Who remembers those Infocom Text Adventures?"

 

Maybe 5 people raised their hands....

 

 

 

I felt old ;)

Wow! Only 5?  I feel a little bit older now. 



#6 SIO2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:20 PM

Just embrace it. I am old. What the hey. I have played my share of Zelda and Mario games too. These days though I would rather play Pac-man for the 9 millionth time than switch on my PS4. And I love the PS4 aside from all that online crap where you have to download an update for a brand new game.

Excuse me now, I have to go play Pac-man again. Looking at you tep392.

:)

#7 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:37 PM

Speaking of feeling old... During my panel at PRGE (which was full), I asked "Who remembers those Infocom Text Adventures?"

 

(raises hand)



#8 neotokeo2001 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:08 PM

NES and Genesis are definitely the hot video game systems now. It makes sense, the kids that grew up with Nintendo now have the nostalgia and the money to buy their memories back. Those of us into Atari, Colecovision and Intellivision had the same but we are old now. The kids raised on XBOX and Playstation are next up to bat. But they will probably play everything on tablets or phones.

 

For the other old guys out there, be sure to join Atari 2600 Homebrew on FaceBook, it is a closed group and we now have over 400 members in a short time.

https://www.facebook...ari2600homebrew


Edited by neotokeo2001, Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:09 PM.


#9 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:49 PM

2) YouTube Celebrities

 

I saw a bunch of good panels at PGRE, but the ones that consistently had long lines and capacity rooms were the YouTubers.  Angry Video Game Nerd, Metal Jesus Rocks, Gaming HIstorian, Pat the NES Punk, and so on.  I admit they can be entertaining, but it was a little sad that people were more interested in seeing the people that talk about games than then people that actually made the games.  I was in the Imagic talk on Sunday and there were 40 people in the room, compared the the 150+ for an earlier talk about the Super Mario Brothers movie.

 

I noticed this too, and so did Rob Zdybel and Howard Scott Warshaw. I overheard them talking a little about it before Howard's presentation. It struck me as sad too that so many people would rather listen to someone talk about talking about games than listening to someone talk about actually making those games, but I get it to a certain extent. These guys have the followings they do for a reason. And I think there is a generational difference in attitude between gamers of the Atari generation and younger gamers. A lot of us, after playing a video game for the first time, though "I want to make one of those!" I don't see that as much with younger gamers.



#10 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:07 AM

I noticed the same thing at the event.  It is a change in generations. Those of us who were kids for Atari, Intellivision, ColecoVision are now older.  We lived through the whole thing from start to present and our nostalgia is different.  The kid who first saw video games with the 16-bt systems are now older and, for them, that's where games started. They really didn't know anything else. 

 

The internet has also changed things and now meeting YouTube celebrities is a big thing for many.   I was at the Imagic panel also and it was pretty empty.  Yes, it was fun for those of us who lived those days but those days are long past for many of the younger games.  It's too bad they are not as interested in learning about where things started.  Maybe that's something the YouTube folks can focus a bit on to see if it generates interest. 



#11 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:10 AM

A lot of the people we think of as "Atari programmers" stayed in the business after Atari, some of them into the Playstation era and beyond, so I don't think it's just that younger gamers aren't interested in "old" stuff, it's that they'd rather see a "celebrity" like the Angry Video Game Nerd. Even Howard Scott Warshaw, who made what is easily the most famous Atari game among non-Atari gamers, didn't fill a room, much less overflow it.



#12 gauauu OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:35 PM

Just coming to say that I thought it was weird as well.  People would rather meet the guy that rants about E.T instead of the guy that made it.  

I won't complain that much, though, it means we actually had opportunities to chat with the old timers. 



#13 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:25 PM

It's like if Leonard Maltin and JJ Abrams were giving presentations at the same time and there was a giant line to see Leonard and 20 people went to see JJ.



#14 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:47 PM

I go see Leonard Maltin over JJ Abrams, but only if he was talking about animation.



#15 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:53 PM

One way film festivals handle this is to often have "Conversations with X" where you get someone who's a known commentator talking with a director/actor/producer.  That's a really nice thing, because it provides some structure to the talk and also can reach areas that the person being interviewed wouldn't have gone to on their own.



#16 Rick Weis OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 11:34 AM

NES and newer have always been king at our shows, even back in the early years! before 2003 all we had was vendors selling games that was before the NES came out. in 2003 we had one vendor come in with 3 HUGE boxes filled with boxed NES games, by noon he was sold out and needed to go back to his house to get more. he came back to sell most of those from the 2nd trip... vendors bring what sells and that is NES and newer! many of us older school vendors do bring the older stuff, but it just don't sell as well..
 

as for YouTubers.. they are VERY popular, and well deserved! they are very entertaining and informative! and a chance to get to meet them in person at shows like ours is a big draw to many! I think the old school programmers will get bigger crowds as we get more and more of the hardcore players/collectors to our show, it just takes time.

 

Rick



#17 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 11, 2016 5:47 PM

As to older games not selling as well, I think I've said this before on the forums but I'll say it again here, when I go to any show I'm specifically looking for 2600 and Intellivision games, but I don't end up buying very much because I see the same games over and over again. Any booth that has older games, it's a plastic tub of the same super common games as the next booth and maybe one or two over-priced ultra rare games, but very few of the sort of "mid-level" rare games I'm looking to buy. I'm not trying to put any blame on the dealers, they can only sell what they have, but I also don't want to see them become discouraged and stop bringing pre-NES games to shows.






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