Remember Mario the Plumber and Sonic the Hedgehog? These video game celebrities and more will be celebrated at the third annual Long Island Retro Gaming Expo, which this year expands to two days — Saturday and Sunday — and moves to a bigger venue, the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, to accommodate its growing crowd.
“We get a great mix from hard-core gamers to moms and dads who played these games growing up and are now turning their kids on to them,” says Leroy Raymond, 36, of Seaford, co-founder of the expo. “We are at that age where it’s cool to be nostalgic.” Raymond says he expects 2,000 to 4,000 visitors.
NEW YEAR, NEW FEATURE
Bigger means better as this year marks the introduction of Retrothon, a multigame, multisystem tournament that runs over two days and is limited to 64 entrants (no entry fee, and sign-ups can be done online or Saturday morning).
“Every round is a different game on a different system,” says expo co-founder Joel Albino, 37, of Floral Park. “While we want this to be competitive, we also want it to be a lot of fun.”
Here are the games and systems for each round:
Wave Race: Blue Storm on Nintendo GameCube has players riding a Jet Ski through various courses as they are bombarded by waves and various weather conditions.
In Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Sega Genesis, Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails the Fox race each other to the edge of the screen.
Killer Instinct for Super Nintendo has the player in a fight tournament held by a powerful corporation.
Bust-a-Move 4 for Sega Dreamcast is a puzzle game in which players use their colored bubble to hit a group of other bubbles of the same shade, causing the group to break in order to clear the screen.
Ms. Pac-Man, the Midway arcade cabinet, is focused on chomping through a maze of pellets for points while being chased by ghosts. Seek out energy power pellets to turn the ghosts blue in order to devour them while swallowing fruit along the way for bonus points.
The two finalists go head-to-head in a sixth mystery round in the JetBlue Sky Theater and streamed online (on BlockHead Gaming’s YouTube channel). The secret game will be revealed just before the competition takes place. The winner gets bragging rights and a wrestling-like championship belt.
Outside of Retrothon, there will be 20 other tournaments for individual games such as Tecmo Super Bowl, Mortal Kombat, NHL ’94 and Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting. Tournaments for Mario Kart 64 and Super Smash Bros. Melee are the only ones with an entry fee, $5 and $10, respectively, and the winners will receive a cash prize.
Additionally, a Super Nintendo kids tournament (12 and younger) will involve games such as Super Mario Kart Battle, Super Bomberman and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition.
Those who want to play by themselves but still compete can head over to the Achievement Station to play Frogger, Donkey Kong Country Competition or Mike Tyson’s Punch Out and have their scores recorded by a judge. Each top scorer takes home a trophy.
Not feeling competitive? No problem. Free play stations will be on floors 2 and 3 on several systems with many games to choose from. After 7 p.m. Saturday, all tournaments stop and the entire expo turns into “Retro & Chill” with free game play, a cash bar and ’80s karaoke.
Live retro video game music from ConSoul (1 and 3 p.m. Saturday) and Sad Toy Cats (1 and 3 p.m. Sunday) also will be performed.
LI RETRO GAMING EXPO
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City
INFO 631-260-1542, expo.liretro.com
ADMISSION Single-day pass $25 ($20 online), $15 ages 2-12 ($10 online); weekend pass $30, $15 ages 2-12 (online only)
Sure you can play like it’s 1999 at the Cradle of Aviation this weekend, but there will be other retro video game-related activities you can enjoy.
Cosplay Contest — 5 p.m. Saturday
Gamer-Bound Fashion Show — 2 p.m. Sunday
Vendor Market for shopping — 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday