Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario, Mega Man and Ms. Pac-Man are all iconic video game characters who will be working overtime at Long Island Retro Gaming Expo at The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City Aug. 12-14. Here, guests can play retro video games on over 300 machines ranging from home consoles from the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s to old school PCs to throwback arcade cabinets.
“There are so many games to go through and discover. Some people come here and find titles they never knew existed,” says operations coordinator Joel Albino. “You don’t have to be a hardcore retro gamer to have fun at this event.”
FREE PLAY ALL DAY
A giant free play area with over 100 gaming setups is ready for attendees to test their skills on various systems such as Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, NES — Nintendo Entertainment System, Atari 2600, Turbografx-16, PlayStation, Xbox and many others.
“There will be setups split into different sections based on game genre, game type and platform a game is played on,” says free play lieutenant George J.S. Smith. “There is no time limit or registration required. Attendees will be able to play games when a station is open and available.”
LI RETRO GAMING EXPO 2022
WHEN | WHERE 4 to 10 p.m. Aug. 12 (no vendors); 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Aug. 13; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 14; The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City
ADMISSION Aug. 12: $15 (adults), $10 (kids, age 4-12); Aug. 13: $30 (adults), $15 (kids); Aug. 14: $25 (adults), $15 (kids); three-day-pass: $60 (adults), $35 (kids)
Those wishing to turn themselves into their favorite video game character at the expo can enter in the cosplay contest for adults on Aug. 13 at 3:30 p.m. or kids (age 14 and under) on Aug. 14 at 1 p.m.
“When it comes to cosplay, a lot of people have the misconception that bigger and flashier is always better. It’s not that simple,” says cosplay contest coordinator Elizabeth Vazquez. “We’re looking to see contestants’ passion, dedication and hard work.”
Get your game on at the variety of tournaments hosted by Mid-Tier Summit Gaming like Super Smash Bros. 1 vs. 1 Double Elimination or GoldenEye 007 FFA Single Elimination.
“There’s two types of competitions. First there’s the traditional tournaments where you play someone else in a game. Then we have the high score challenge, which is a lot more casual. You walk up and see if you can get the best score as a single player,” says Albino. “If you don’t like how you did, you can try again if you want. Whoever has the highest score when the time window ends gets a medal and prize.”
HISTORY EXHIBIT AND MUSEUM
Go back in time at the history exhibit where more than 40 video game systems will be set up chronologically in rows starting with the 1970s to 2013, which are all playable, plus the Arcade Age exhibit has over 100 stand-up arcade cabinets.
“Guests can play Computer Space, the first commercially released video game,” says chief preservationist George Portugal. “Fewer than 200 working examples of this game are known to exist in the world.”
The museum exhibit features over 60 rare items that are displayed in two ways — standard free-play tables with controllers and non-playable items in a display case.
“The museum features many items that were never released in the United States like Nintendo’s Color TV-Game 15, one of Nintendo's first ever game consoles released only in Japan back in 1978," says museum coordinator Brendan Bailey.
In addition to playing video games, expo attendees can get educated about retro video games through panel discussions with guests like YouTube personality John Riggs of Rigg’d Games and Pat "The Punk” Contri, author and co-host of the Completely Unnecessary Podcast.
“We are offering a blend of entertaining, educational and interactive sessions,” says Ryan Shapiro, LI Retro Gaming Expo co-founder. “Everything from an intro to indie game development, retro gaming history from experts in the hobby and even a live demonstration of how to repair an older gaming console.”
Purchase retro video games, home consoles, character memorabilia and more by shopping in the expo marketplace with over 70 vendors.
Flashback Gaming of East Northport will be featured at two booths offering not only used games ($5-$850) and systems ($100-$200) but even CRT (cathode ray tube) TVs ($30-$130).
“People love the homey feel of playing retro video games on the old CRT TVs,” says store co-owner Christina Flores. "They were made for them."