The last time I drove more than 15 hours for a short trip, it was a short weekend away in Savannah, Georgia with my wife. We stayed at a bed and breakfast and had a great time. Also, she shared driving duties. But for whatever reason, I decided it would be a great idea to trek from the St. Louis area (Illinois side of the river) to Wallingford Connecticut over a four day weekend. That’s a long drive, and what’s even crazier is that I made the drive alone. And it was worth all 34 odd hours I spent in the car to get to the Retroworld Expo.
Meeting friends you know on the Internet in real life is always a gamble. Who knows how different they are in real life versus how you know them through text and the occasional voice chat online? But sometimes you end up connecting with those people and it’s not awkward or weird and it just feels like you guys have known each other for years. That’s pretty much how this weekend went. I didn’t have a single negative interaction, and I met a LOT of people.
First, I have to thank Rewind Mike for opening up his home to me and driving to and from the Expo, which was 2 hours from his house. I stopped in to stay the night with him Friday night. He’s got a really sweet gaming setup, by the way. We had a blast all weekend, and to start things off Friday night, we streamed to his YouTube channel. Why not? It was fun. We played some good games, and some bad ones…If you ever get a chance to play Hammerlock Wrestling for the SNES, I suggest you try it out. It’s not good, but it’s very interesting, especially in the graphics department.
The convention itself was pretty great. I’ve been to the similarly sized Super Bitcon in Oklahoma City the past two years, but other than the excellent Lost, Exit, and VG Dad that I spent time with at Super Bitcon, it was relatively light on the YouTube and online content creator people I regularly interact with. At Retroworld, I finally got to meet fellow Retroholic Anonymous member Adam from Replay Ability, Miketendo from Dongled, Pixeltunes Radio, and Dude You Haven’t Drank This Beer….I mean Dude You Haven’t Played This Game Yet?!, Pam from Cannot Be Tamed and her boyfriend Will, Jeff Wittenhagen from the VGBS podcast and the author of the Complete NES and Complete SNES books, Mike Anthony, Pete Skerritt, John Delia, James Roland AKA Epic Game Music, Banjo Guy Ollie, all of Retroware, and Wood from his channel Beat Em Ups. There are a bunch of others too, and I know I’m forgetting something. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and cool as shit.
After picking up some games at the convention on Saturday, we ordered pizza and attended a retro game auction where people spent insane money on old promotional light up signs. Like close to a grand crazy money. Sang a bit of Karaoke after that…which would have been cooler but it was just a bit too unbarlike for my taste. Pete is a great singer by the way. A few of us hit up a dive bar and played some pool, then spent the rest of the evening in the hotel bullshitting and…streaming to Facebook? Yeah. That happened. The best part? No need to get stupid drunk to have a great time. These people were all excellent company and some of the coolest cats around. It was a blast and an experience I’ll never forget.
Sunday we mostly just sat in panels and picked up a few more games. Rewind Mike got his picture taken with THE Johnny Cage, which was cool. I’m not much for pictures myself, so the only ones I took were with friends and people who weirdly thought I was a novelty enough to stop me to ask for a picture with me…that kinda stuff really made my weekend too. Who knew people watched my videos? Lol
I do have to thank Will for giving me a copy of Streets of Rage 2, which I had never played before. That was super cool of him and he didn’t have to do it. I already popped it in when I got home and I was finally able to see why people prefer this over Final Fight games. Holy crap. I’m going to have to do a video on this eventually.
Also I was able to finally get my hands on a copy of Chrono Trigger for the SNES courtesy of Rewind Mike. He cut me a good deal so I couldn’t pass it up. Excited to finally get to beat it on the console it was meant to be played on.
All in all, it was an incredible experience and one that I don’t regret taking a chance on. Retroworld was a blast. Can’t wait to see a lot of these fucks at Too Many Games next year. Later.