I attended ReplayFX (Pittsburgh, PA) on Friday July 29 2017. Didn't go the first day (Thursday). I intend to go Saturday too, tomorrow.
This is the 3rd year in a row I've attended, and I'll keep attending as long as it keeps happening each year in the City of Champions.
Vendors - pretty similar to last year, mostly the same ones it seems. Lots to choose from, from comics, posters,magnets, D&D books, etched drinkware, artwork, local chocolate goodies (mmmmmm!) , and various nicknacks and curious with a retro-gaming theme (mostly Nintendo-themed, actually mostly Zelda / Megaman/ Mario themed). And there are lots of used games and consoles if you need one, that is mostly from NES forward. I poked around my first 2 hours there today.
This year is similar to last year with most of the pinballs segregated over to the right side of the cavernous Hall A, for the Pinburgh competition. Then comes vendors, then the many rows of coin-ops / pinballs, then finally on the other end the music stage and console section which is also vast.
I liked the one new section called something akin to "games you never got to try before". It had a Saturn w/Nights, a 32X with Star Wars Arcade (and other carts), a Jaguar w/rotary controller and Tempest 2000, a digital pinball game on a 3D TV w/two pairs of glasses to use, a Vectrex and some other stuff.
The newest coin-ops games I saw were 2 linked sit-down SEGA Initial D racers. I didn't get to play, they were always taken, besides it seems a bit slow and not all that fun looking to me, being honest. I preferred playing other SEGA racers including:
- Hang On. Upright but still had the motorcycle handle-bar controls of course. Man, I had a GREAT time playing this. Couldn't finish the course though. It was new using the motorcycle accelerator control. I quickly trained myself to slightly release it from full acceleration and then to crank it back to full , around curves to slow down just a bit and maintain control w/out having to use the tough-to-reach hand brake control.
- Outrun. Upright with wheel of course, and pedal on floor that you use your right foot. My left leg was growing weary from balancing on it. The whole wheel shakes when you crash, and the wheel was perfectly tuned for control.
- Harley Davidson LA Riders. Y'know, I never got much chance to play this game and was loving it, its a full motorcycle and you can put your feet up on the pegs and lean into those turns. I reached a couple of goals then moved on.
- Saturn Daytona USA. Even though I own a Saturn, its been years since I played the original Daytona USA on it so I took it for a couple spins, it plays great but wow the visuals are worse than I remembered.
- Genesis Outrun . They have Outrun in a Genesis every year, I noticed, and I always sit down and play a round or two. Well, after playing the coin-op version so much, this was a bit too watered down and I wasn't having too much fun. Its a good port though but there's a time and a place to enjoy it.
Music - I listened to 3 groups tonight.
- Super Thrash Brothers were first. Drums/2 guitars/bass. The organizers spent 25 minutes of their set time trying to fix an audio snafu (I heard that a breaker blew). but they eventually played and were fine, playing the expected NES sountracks as a metal band would. The lead guitarist was noticeably louder than the other guitar and bass, I had to move away from the stage where it sounded better and not so freaking loud and shrill.
- Triforce Quartet - strings , and sounded beautiful.
- Bit Brigade - similar in concept to Super Thrash Brothers. Bit Brigade played the bg music to Castlevania, then NES Batman, then NES Ducktales while a 5th member of their band sits and actually plays (and beats!) those games. Bit Brigade had a remarkably tight, professional sound. They were flawless. Drums/two guitars/bass. Good stuff.
Competitions - I didn't pay the $25 to join the Replay World Championships. I knew once I did that, I'd be consumed with trying to play the 50 allotted game tries and get high score, and I just didn't have time today to do that. Everybody gets 3 free tries, and I used mine up playing 3 rounds of Gorf. All the games are cranked to hard difficulties. Other games were Asteroids, Popeye, Donkey Kong, I noticed.
I did take a stab at the console area's SEGA Genesis MUSHA competition, and I ended up winning that with the high score. We had to play on Hard mode here too, I scored over 7 million which was easily double what the others had done but probably not a personal best of mine. It's been years since I played MUSHA but I used to play it a lot. Anyway, I won so I earned a free T-shirt. yay!
Also had a $5.00 hot dog. It was all beef and the thickest dog I ever had. Kind of worth it. Washed it down with Fathead's Ale (16oz runs you over $8.00) .
I also got to battle another guy on coin-op Virtua Fighter 2, about a dozen rounds. Haven't done that in 20 years! Finally, I also had fun playing coin-op Bubbles, Karate Champ, Donkey Kong, DK Jr, and sit-down Star Trek (the 80's Vector Graphics game).
So that's the Friday report for anyone interested.