The STS Guys took the show on the road this week and made a pit stop on our way to Hollywood at the Retro City Festival in Pomona, California. The festival was said to have numerous highlights including over 200 playable arcade games, a large vendor hall as well as celebrity guests including the original character models from the first and second Mortal Kombat games as well as iconic gamer Billy Mitchell, the first gamer to get a perfect score on the original Pac-Man game.
In the world nostalgia for those who grew up in the 80’s and early 90’s, the arcade was the place where many fond memories were had. Around the country there has been a boom of arcade and retro gaming nostalgia as those kids are now adults and want to reclaim those memories from their childhood and share them with their children or simply just want to relive the experience. That was what this convention was intended to be in our eyes, but from our perspective it lacked that magic that should bring us back down memory lane.
The Retro City Festival was held at the Fairplex in Pomona, California in an industrial type building. We parked, went to the entry to get our wristbands and entered the event. The vendor hall was a treasure trove of retro games and consoles that was built around the collector. If you were looking for 20 copies of Mario 64, you were sure to find those 20 copies and plus another 30 more if you needed backup copies. If you were looking for other video game related merchandise the offerings were limited as almost all of the booths were dedicated to selling games and consoles.
After touring the vendor hall it was time to play some games, after all this was our main drive for attending the convention. What was advertised as 200 arcade games seemed a bit over zealous as from an arcade perspective it seemed to be about half that number. Some of the games on hand were TMNT: Turtles in Time, The Simpsons Game, X-men and classics such as Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Wild Gunmen. However there were a few machines that we were hoping to see but were not at the festival such as Mortal Kombat I, NBA Jam and Street Fighter II to name a few. We spent some time playing some games as well as playing some pinball and had an overall enjoyable experience for what games we were able to play.
The last item to check off our list was to visit with the highlighted guests of Retro City Festival and potentially get some autographs. Unfortunately we did not get any autographs as the fee for the Mortal Kombat character models as they were charging $20.00 per person per autograph. We just did not see the value here. The best experience however came from legendary gamer Billy Mitchell who we had talked to for a few minutes and was kind enough to give us a photo opportunity.
While there were some highlights to Retro City Festival, I would like to see them get some additional variety of vendors, expand the arcade offerings and see what they can do to help subsidize some of the autograph opportunities. To hear more about our time at Retro City Festival, be sure to check out episode twenty-one of The STS Guys Podcast.