The show was basically the same as last year, but with no Nolan Bushnell or other keynote speakers. Also, there were only four arcade games set up for free play. The dealer's room was the same odd mix of imports (including a Super Game Boy 2 that I'd never new existed), trinkets, and common and relatively common older and newer games, but there were some rarities for sale (including Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the NES with manual that I bought for $5) and some interesting odds and ends (such as the Captain America and the Avengers arcade marquee that I bought for $10). The GameAttack booth had plenty of common PS1, Genesis, NES, SNES, and Dreamcast games to choose from.
From a personal standpoint, the organizers wouldn't let me set up at a table near the entrance like I did last year, but I was able to acquire a press pass. They said it wouldn't be fair to other dealers for me to have a table, but last year they thought it was cool to have an author on hand to do a book signing. They agreed that it added a different aspect to the show. They were polite enough, but for some reason they didn't have the same attitude about the signing that they did last year, which is strange since it went so well. Last year while doing the autographing, I directed people to the sign-up booth, brought in some new customers who otherwise wouldn't have gone to the show (they were simply staying at that hotel), talked to attendees who got bored between things to do, and sold a fair number of books. It was a win-win situation, and I'm baffled as to why they didn't feel that way this year.
We met Keith Apicary in the dealer's room, and he was very nice, but, as always, totally in character. If you've never seen his videos on ScrewAttack or YouTube, check 'em out. They're hilarious.
Overall, the show has an odd feel to it. Very exclusive. It seems like most of the people there knew each other from the website, and the people who run the show are YouTube "celebrities," so that's kind of different. It's hard to explain, but ScrewAttack has a different vibe than any other convention I've ever been to. A lot of people there spend lots of time just hanging out, playing their DS, fake sword fighting, screaming, etc. Everyone seemed to be having fun.
mugenmidget from the Digital Press boards recognized me and introduced himself, so that was cool. It was nice meeting him.
Friday evening was the AVGN autographing. He was friendly, he posed for a picture with my son, and he was having a good time talking to everyone. There was a long line, but it went fairly quickly and was well organized. The people in line were cool, and Keith Apicary was going around acting crazy, keeping everyone entertained.
We arrived at 3:00 in the afternoon for a screening of Wizard, which my son wanted to see. He figured everyone would be making fun of it (some were), and that it would be fun to watch the film with a room full of people. Unfortunately, the movie didn't start until 3:45. I asked the ScrewAttackers at the registration desk to put the movie on, but they said there was nothing they could do about it. It was only after several other people approached the registration desk and asked the same thing that the film got played.
There were four more arcade cabinets set up on free play, including Donkey Kong. By sheer coincidence, I had watched The King of Kong that morning (for only the second time), so I was definitely in the mood for some Kong. Unfortunately, I didn't break the world record. My high score for the day was close to 40,000.
I had a nice time talking with Pacecar (from the Digital Press boards) and picked up boxed copies of The Empire Strikes Back and Guerilla War for the NES.
Keith Apicary and his Talking Classics circus was funny, but it started about 45 minutes late. Also, there was way too much male flesh on display for my tastes, though all the guys running around saying they were Rambo was mildly amusing. Keith himself is an amazing physical comedian and was very quick witted with off-the-cuff answers to the various questions posed by the audience.
Overall, it was an entertaining show, but I far prefer the more traditional videogame conventions like the Classic Gaming Expo and the Oklahoma Video Game Expo. As one person at the show said, ScrewAttack is not a convention--it's a party. Maybe I'm simply too old.
A couple of suggestions for the good folks who run ScrewAttack:
There needs to be a larger vendor's room with more videogame dealers.
There needs to be more of an effort to make the show more inclusive to outsiders. I saw no families and very, very few parents with their children. And it wasn't real clear how to sign up for tournaments or other events.
There aren't many videogame shows in Texas, so Kudos to SGC for a fun (if headache-inducing) convention (I mean party). With a few tweaks here and there, SGC could be truly great.
Ryan with the Angry Video Game Nerd, who posts incredibly popular game reviews on YouTube.
Ryan with Keith Apicary, a hilarious performance artist whose convention hijinks are the stuff of legend.