When COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, it devoured events like a termite chews through wood. The rash of cancellations made sense given the seriousness of the pandemic, but it still stung thousands of organizers, venue owners, and attendees. Classic Game Fest, a yearly celebration of all things retro videogames, was one of the casualties.
Now with the pandemic slowed and restrictions lifted, Classic Game Fest is on with no limitations to the fun. Bigger than ever before in both size and scope, this love letter to the games of old offers something for everybody. Whether you’re an NES junkie or an Atari nerd, there’s something for everyone this year.
BORN FROM THE LOVE OF GAMING
When Classic Game Fest founder and organizer David Kaelin first conceived the event, it started as a retro gaming tournament. Taking place in the summer of 2007 at the original Austin location of Game Over Videogames, the tournament soon grew from competition to convention in a matter of years. Today, it’s the largest retro convention in Texas and the fifth largest in the US.
But the vibe is the same as it’s always been.
“The overall vibe of CGF is a relaxed, family-friendly, and nostalgic video game experience”, shared Kaelin. “You can see, play, buy, sell, collect the games and systems as well as meet the people who made them, play in tournaments, hear live video game music performances, etc. It’s a fully immersive retro gaming-centered experience!”
So Much To Do
When I started attending CGF in 2017, it took up a large portion of the Palmer Events Center’s ground floor. This year, they have the upstairs as well. Two floors of gaming goodness await visitors making for an unparalleled experience.
Downstairs, guests will find dozens of vendors selling everything from retro games and consoles to custom t-shirts and handmade crafts. Just browsing these booths is a trip down memory lane, but please support these independent artisans. If you see a rad new desk toy or a game from your childhood, pick it up!
CGF also prides itself on installations along with the shops. In 2019, you could play Duck Hunt with a bazooka, compete in a Doom tournament on a classic PC, or play Sonic with a joystick the size of a three-year-old. Can’t wait to see what’s new on the floor this year!
To separate themselves from the bustle of the vendor floor, the upstairs area features a classic gaming arcade and a stage for panels and live music. This year, Jon St Jon, the voice of Duke Nukem, will be in attendance. From what I hear, his panels are fantastic, so that alone should be worth the price of admission.
Classic Game Fest: A Treat for Gamers Everywhere
But the main thing I love about Classic Game Fest, and any gaming convention, is the sense of community. Talking about games with like-minded enthusiasts is a bonding experience that goes beyond the booths and the bands. It’s about creating connections with cool people who simply love the games of yesteryear.
So, whether you owned Super Mario World as a kid, competed in Halo LAN parties, or own your friends in Fortnight, Classic Game Fest should be where you are July 24th and 25th. It’ll be an amazing weekend of vendors, games, and new experiences.
When: July 24th and 25th
Where: Palmer Events Center
More info: https://classicgamefest.com/
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Have you been to Classic Game Fest in the past? Share your experience!