Instead of posting a full blown review, like I've done for some of the previous shows, I thought I'd just post some random thoughts on the matter.
The drive from Albuquerque to Las Vegas is normally about 8 and a half hours (plus time for bathroom breaks and gassing up the car). It took me over ten hours to get there on Friday. Several reasons for this: an intense rain storm in Arizona that reduced visibility to less than 100 feet, slow traffic through Hoover Dam and - more importantly - a traffic accident between Boulder City and Vegas that stopped traffic for a good hour.
I couldn't find a parking spot near the registration desk at the Tropicana and ended up walking a good five minutes to get to the front desk from my car. I was obviously tired from the drive and frustrated from the extended walk when I posted on Twitter and Facebook) that my first impression of the Tropicana was not a good one (in fact is said "DO NOT LIKE" - man, that was harsh).
My mood improved considerably once I found an In-N-Out burger place nearby and quickly finished a cheeseburger and fries (best tasting fries EVER!). Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Burgers.
The show started at 9:00 AM the next morning. In the past I would show up 30 or even 60 minutes before the show just to get a good position in line. This time I showed up at 8:55 AM. I must be getting old: being first in line is not that big of a deal to me anymore. Either that or the show doesn't excite me as much as it used too (in other words, I'm old).
The wait in line wasn't that bad. Five or ten minutes. Either the staff is getting much better at processing the lines or the lines are much shorter than in the past. Or both.
The size of the show (number of tables, floor space, etc.) was the same as before. The number of people there was probably less than in 2007. Seems about the same but I wasn't counting.
There were a lot more new products displayed at the show than I remembered at CGE 2007. I think the AtariAge booth made a difference. They had a number of new Homebrews there, including "Halo 2600"(which was AWESOME!). Rolenta Press had a new book: "Down from the top of its Game" which is the story of the rise and fall of Infocom (the makers of Zork).
I spent a lot more money on games and game related items then I thought I would. In addition to "Halo 2600" I got the following games: Crystal Mines II: Buried Treasure (125 new levels) for the Lynx, Gorf and "Atari XE Video Game Pack" for the Game Boy Advance, and "Incoming!" for the 2600. I also bought three T-shirts, a CD titled "Arcade Ambiance" which has tracks of nothing but the sounds you'd hear in a 1980's video arcade. Got me some Pac-Man related candy in fancy metal cans.
I loved the competition between the AtariAge team and the Digital Press team. On Saturday they played 2600 games against each other and on Sunday they played against each other in a CGE version of Family Feud and Jeopardy.
The museum was the same as before: it's good. Los of interesting artifacts. I didn't stay long however, since I had seen it all before in previous CGEs.
It was hot outside. Above 100 degrees. I did go out periodically to get food and stuff. For lunch I went to the Luxor food court with 98Pacecar. Ate some Caesar's Pizza. On the way back some hot chick grabbed my right arm and said something loudly. I wasn't sure what she said "Let's get Merried!" maybe? the Casino was loud. She was dressed very nicely. Probably a Casino employee trying to get me to buy something. After a moment of extreme awkwardness on my part (I'm a geek, what can I say?) I slowly extricated myself from her (while stammering none sense) and moved on. I think I handled that well. OK maybe I didn't.
I learned that the further you walked away from the convention area, the cheaper and better tasting the food. Coffee and a do-nut just outside the show cost $6.00 which was more than the pizza slice and drink I had at the Luxor food court.
The auction after the show on Saturday was awesome. I got a front row seat. The items for auction were not as good as that of 2007 but still worth waiting for.
After the Auction there was a party. I didn't go. I was tired and hungry. After finding a Subway near the MGM Grand, I returned to my room, ate the sandwich and went to bed. No doubt about it: I'm old.
I watched the movie "Joysticks" which was about a video arcade (think Animal House with an arcade instead of a frat house). The director (Greydon Clark) was there and talked about the movie before and after the screening. It turns out this movie is not available on NetFlix so I wouldn't have been able to satisfy my curiosity when I got home after the show. The director said it was the number one movie in 1983. I think he meant that it was number one in box office receipts for a couple weeks.
The music at the show was pretty good in addition to "8-bit Weapon" and ComputeHer playing at the show, a new band, called "Descendants of Erdrick" played. They're from Austin and their band consisted of two lead guitars, a bass guitar and drums. No vocals. Their music was good and loud. And full of energy. You could easily see their love of their music in their performance. I was impressed enough to buy their two CDs. The lead guitarist was there (Amanda Lepre) and talked excitedly about her band, where they're from, the music they're playing and so on. I like that kind of energy. I hope it lasts (even though I know it will fade over time). I also bought 8BW's and ComputeHer's latest CD's. Played some of the music on the way home.
I saw and met a number of DPers in person that I've only previously seen online: Skaar, EternalTune, Frankie Says Relax, and GarrettAja. I also said hi to DPers I've already met: Sothy, 98Pacecar, VectorMan, Katcho, PapaStu and several others. My only regret is I didn't hang out more with them and taken the time to meet even more DPers that I haven't met already.
After the Joysticks movie there was a screening of "Get Lamp" a documentary of the text adventure games that were popular in the early 1980's. I learned a lot about the early days. I also learned that there is a burgeoning text adventure movement going on in the Internet. I already knew about programs where you could create your own text adventure but this takes it to a whole new level. They screened the one hour version of the movie which is over 90 minutes long on the DVD with multiple sound tracks. I bought the DVD which came with a custom made coin. Cool. reminds me of the extras they packaged in Infocom games (like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy).
Sunday attendance was much lower than Saturday's. That's normal. I remember other CGEs in the past having the same problem. A lot of the show goers looked like they had hangovers. Probably from the party I didn't attend.
Lots of Arcade games to choose from. I played Gorf for a while. I wish I played some more of the other Arcades.
Monday morning, as I was moving luggage from my room to my car, I spotted a CGE schedule of events poster left behind on the wall by the registration desk. I took it home as a souvenir.
As I was leaving Las Vegas, I was listening to a local rido station. They were discussing the weather forecast. "Today's high: 104 degrees. Not too bad." Really? Not to bad?
The drive home, except for a ginormous rain storm, was uneventful. 8 and 1/2 hours driving plus 30 minutes for bathroom and gasoline breaks.
All in all an enjoyable trip.