Dust off your Donkey Kong and pull out your Pac-Man — the video games of yesteryear are back. They will all be celebrated Saturday at the second annual Long Island Retro Gaming Expo at the UpSky Hotel in Hauppauge.
“People are enjoying revisiting their childhood by hooking up their old gaming systems,” says event co-founder Joel Albino. “There’s a real nostalgia to it.”
Gamers who grew up in the age of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis are introducing titles like Legend of Zelda, Halo and NBA Jam to their kids.
“It’s something fresh to kids of today and the difficulty of the older games keeps them coming back,” says event co-founder Leroy Raymond. “These games are still good no matter how much technology changes.”
TOURNAMENTS ALL DAY
Flex your thumb muscles and battle in 15 different tournaments where players go head-to-head in single elimination competitions for games like Shaq Fu, GoldenEye 007, Soul Calibur II, Mortal Kombat II, OutRun 2 and Tetris Attack. Tournaments for Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros. Project M, Tecmo Super Bowl and Super Smash Bros. Melee all have entry fees ($5-$10) and cash prizes. Sign-up is day of registration (Super Smash Bros. can be purchased in advance) and spectators are welcome to watch the matchups.
“It gets intense,” says Raymond. “During the finals you could hear a pin drop.”
If you prefer to fly solo, there’s the Achievement Station, where you can play against the game on titles like Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, Star Fox: Super Weekend and Balloon Fight. Trophies are given out to highest scorers.
If you are not competitive but rather a more casual gamer, open consoles are available for free play on Turtles in Time on Super Nintendo, Sonic 2 on Sega Genesis, Mario Tennis on Nintendo 64 and Power Stone on Sega Dreamcast.
“You can also discover games you never knew about, or maybe there was a system that you never had but wanted to try out,” says Albino. “It brings back a sense of wonderment you had as a kid.”
PANELS AND DISPLAYS
The Long Island Arcade Club will present a talk on “The X68000 Xperience” while YouTube star Pete Dorr speaks on “The Crazy World of Video Game Collectibles.” Additionally, two gaming podcasts will be recorded on site.
As a special treat for collectors, a rare Nintendo PlayStation hybrid prototype that was never released to the public will be on display.
Horror and comic book fans aren’t the only ones who like to dress up. Retro gamers have a chance to bring their favorite video game characters to life in a cosplay contest at 5 p.m. in the Light Gun Lounge.
“Cosplaying is a way to dress as the characters you connected with growing up,” says judge Lauren Clover. “People get very creative. Some of these characters have very intricate costumes.”
There will be more than 50 shopping tables where game hunters can locate the hard-to-find titles with prices that can range from $10 to over $1,000.
“The sky is the limit on a retro game,” says event merchant and sponsor Mike Auricchio, owner of The Revolution video gaming center in Stony Brook. “The harder they are to find, the more people want them, and it drives up the price.”
Take the current Pokemon revival.
“Pokemon Go caused a monster buzz,” says Auricchio. “It’s driving the old market of Pokemon games like you wouldn’t believe.”
The Revolution even sells reproduction carts of Japanese-only release Secret of Mana 2 for Super Nintendo translated to English, plus new retro systems that play original games for various units.
“Gaming is now mainstream cool. Years ago, you were labeled a dork,” says gamer Eddie Storey, 30, of Plainview, who just added Mega Man 5 to his 150-plus game collection for $80. “This new nerd culture is allowing people to like it publicly.”
LONG ISLAND RETRO GAMING EXPO
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday, The UpSky Hotel, 110 Vanderbilt Motor Pkwy., Hauppauge
INFO 631-260-1542, expo.liretro.com
ADMISSION $20 (includes two kids under 10 for free), online advance pre-sales: $18 early bird (get in at 9 a.m.), $15 (get in at 10 a.m.), $10 “Smash From the Past 2” tournament ticket