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2022 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo recap August 21, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Aviation, Books, Education, History, Internet, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Podcast, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Previous LI Retro recaps: 2017 (Sunday), 2018, 2019
Spinoff recaps: UPLINK (2020), Festival of Games (2021)

Part 1: Introduction

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo‘s long-awaited return came on Friday, August 12, after a three-year COVID-caused absence. Yes, the expo was expanded to three days starting this year, running from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. The venue was the same as always: the Cradle of Aviation Museum, situated along Museum Row in East Garden City on the former site of Mitchel Air Force Base.

The purported 2020 edition of LI Retro was announced in February of that year. I immediately bought a weekend pass (still just two days). Little did anyone know that the faraway disease then referred to as the Coronavirus would reach the United States a few weeks later. As COVID-19 spread and a pandemic grew, venues shut down and events were either canceled or postponed. LI Retro’s postponement came that May. 2020 tickets would be honored in ’21. UPLINK, a virtual expo, was scheduled in its place on August 8 and 9. Of course, I attended and wrote a recap.

Even as vaccines were rolled out going into 2021, the organizers felt it was too soon to resume. Thus, they postponed again to ’22; and again, tickets for the postponed years would be honored. Another edition of UPLINK was held virtually in February. I attended, but was overwhelmed by the amount of transcribing and note-taking I’d have to do for the panels I planned on watching. So, I abandoned the recap in favor of continued radio show production.

Last December, LI Retro held its first annual one-day Festival of Games. I was in and out within two hours after a photographic walking tour (similar to the one you’ll see later in this post), arcade game sampling, and buying games from vendors. There was a recap for that.

As August drew closer, a third day of LI Retro was introduced. I considered attending, but opted to stick to the weekend.

With a week to go, I feared I’d compulsively take too many photos, a habit that’s gotten out of hand (i.e. Memorial Day boat ride, June 18 Mets game). I only took 353 photos at another Mets game on August 10, but sure enough, I went overboard at LI Retro. To that end, this is the first post with photo galleries.

The bulk of my photos were shot with my DSLR, but I took supplemental photos with my iPhone.

I arrived at the Cradle of Aviation Museum at 10:06 AM on Saturday:

Within 15 minutes, I was inside. I walked to the box office and handed my ticket to the attendant in exchange for a badge. “Finally,” I told her, “after 2 1/2 years, I get to use this [ticket].” She handed me my badge and my adventure began.

Part 2: Panels

My first panel – after meeting and greeting, and photographing the vendor rooms, was by Brett Weiss. “I Survived the Video Game Crash of 1983” began at 11AM in Panel Room 2. I joined it in progress, grabbing a front row seat, but oddly holding back on photos.

Brett talked about his experiences with arcade games and home video game consoles from the second generation into the third, and how the rise of home computers played a role in the 1983 crash.

During the Q&A session at the end, I relayed (but didn’t ask, so I apologized) my video game experience growing up. I was a home (and school) computer guy, fluent with Apple II, and my sister and I received an NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in February 1990, as the third home video game console generation gave way to the fourth.

The book in the last photo is the one I bought from Brett afterward.

After snacking on a protein bar, I entered the Main Theatre for Pat Contri and Ian Ferguson’s 12:30 PM panel. I spoke to Pat and Ian during my meet and greet session two hours earlier, reminding them that I met them in 2019 and immersed myself in content from Pat’s YouTube channel after buying (at their merchandise table) the four DVD sets of Pat the NES Punk and the book Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library. I subsequently bought the SNES guide. I wrote reviews of each – NES, SNES. (And you can buy the DVDs and books here.) This year, I bought two stickers and a CU Podcast (Completely Unnecessary Podcast) t-shirt. It was the last large size they had. I said I’d probably get along swimmingly with Frank, Pat’s older friend from New Jersey who settled in San Diego before Pat and Ian made their respective moves there.

Pat and Ian’s panel was a live portion of their next episode of the CU Podcast. Before it started, and while I settled into my front row seat, the volunteer assigned to the theater asked them to “say something into the microphone” as a mic check. Ian jokingly parroted the request: “say something into the microphone.” I amusingly replied, “I knew you were gonna say that.”

Continuing from prior episodes, Pat and Ian criticzed Tommy Tallarico and his vaporware console that would have been (or could still be?) the Intellivision Amico. On display above them was the console’s leaked “fact book.” There will be audio and video, but first, the photos:

You can hear the panel-turned-podcast-episode here. My portion of the Q&A starts at 1:57:08, but I’ve clipped it here:

The word I used to describe Frank was “luddite.” Yes, I stumbled on the title Ancient Aliens, coming out as “ancient alenins.”

And this is a video excerpt from the panel – shot with the iPhone on the table – that was posted to Pat’s YouTube channel:

I was the voice at 16:44 saying that Sean Astin narrated a video game documentary. I was thinking of Video Games: The Movie, but a comment to the video said the fact sheet was referencing the later docuseries called Playing with Power: The Nintendo Story.

I liked Ian’s quaint pronunciation of wanton, “wonton” instead of “wantin’.”

Video of the Q&A portion:

My questions start at 18:26, “Tommy” starts at 25:13.

Theater guests had to exit on the third floor, so I bode my time by taking photos of the few console freeplay tables there. Then, I snapped pics for most of the second floor exhibits prior to the Axinn Air and Space Museum Hall entrance. I saved that for after the 2PM panel back in the theater.

In that 2PM panel, John Blue Riggs performed a live ROM hack of Super Mario Bros. for the NES, the first game I played in February 1990 via the Duck Hunt combo cart. With the right software, John imported tiles from whatever NES game ROMs the audience requested, and he altered the SMB code to altered the colors and text. Let the editing begin!

I spoke to John during the meet and greet, letting him know that like his son, I am on the autism spectrum, specifically with what used to be called Asperger Syndrome. While at his table, I bought a Sega Genesis ROM hack that put Scott Pilgrim from his titular video game in Streets of Rage 2. We posed for a photo, but when I got home, I was dismayed to find that my DSLR’s lens didn’t focus on us when his tablemate Dave took our photo. They graciously allowed a do-over with my iPhone Sunday morning.

Here is John’s aforementioned vlog of his LI Retro experience:

I’m in the vlog at 13:30, going through my DSLR camera roll before John’s panel. At 19:56, he and Dave ate at Friendly’s in nearby East Meadow. I ate there with my girlfriend Kelly during her visit in April.

After the panel, I photographed what I believed to be nearly every other nook and cranny of the freeplay and tournament areas. John saw much more than I did.

The last item on my Saturday agenda was to buy games from vendors. (See the end of part 4.)

The combination of excitement from earlier in the day and a loud block party somewhere south of my house kept me from relaxing and easing into sleep. I probably slept two to four hours, at best.

I arrived at day three of the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo at around 10:30 AM. I met Justin, Marshall, and Kieran from Cinemassacre/Screenwave Media (and bought Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie), got the second chance photo with Riggs, and hung out at Leonard Herman‘s table. I’ve known Lenny (to his friends and family) since meeting him at the 2018 LI Retro and then reviewing his video game history book, Phoenix IV. In 2019, I met his associate Jeff, and this year, I was honored to meet Patrick Wong and Mark W. Baer, the middle child of Dena and Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of videogames (one word). They’re all nice and friendly, and it was my pleasure buying Ralph’s book Videogames in the Beginning, and Kate Hannigan‘s biographical children’s book, Blips on a Screen. I will definitely read that to Leo F. Giblyn School students next March, another annual tradition of mine.

Lenny and Mark’s panel was at 11:30 AM in Panel Room 2. Again, I sat in the front row. Lenny grew to be like a surrogate son to Ralph, and the brotherly love between he and Mark was on display throughout the panel, especially in the first two pics.

I linked to it in the gallery, but here again is Ralph and Bill Harrison’s 1969 Brown Box demo:

Part 3: Meet and greet photos

Lenny Herman and Mark Baer:

Patrick Wong:

Jeff, in his Pac-Man suit:

Brett Weiss:

Pat Contri and Ian Ferguson:

John Riggs:

The Cinemassacre/Screenwave Media crew, Justin and Marshall:

…and I met Kieran while browsing a vendor’s games:

You’ll see merchandise and games in the pickups portion of this recap.

Part 4: Touring the expo

Musical performance: 88bit (a.k.a. Rob Kovacs):

88bit was featured in John Riggs’s vlog.

The other performers were ConSoul, Retro & Chill, and Super Thrash Bros. (also in John’s vlog).

The line ahead of the cosplay contest, held Saturday at 3:30 PM in the Main Theatre:

High score challenges:

Galaga:

Just Dance 4 (to “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley):

Tournaments:

Game Boy Selfie Station with the Game Boy Camera and Printer:

Console freeplay:

Indie and homebrew games:

Arcade freeplay:

PC freeplay:

Before I left for home on Sunday, I tried out some console and arcade freeplay games, but not PC games. Maybe next year. The console games I played were Joust (Atari 7800), Sonic CD (Sega CD), Donkey Kong Country (Super Nintendo), and Virtua Tennis (Sega Dreamcast). The arcade games I attempted were Space Invaders, Arkanoid, NARC, VS. Hogan’s Alley, Ms. Pac-Man, and Mortal Kombat.

I even gave LJN Video Art a try. It was just as finicky as The Angry Video Game Nerd (James Rolfe) made it out to be.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a TV running the WeatherStar 4000 simulator, a tribute to The Weather Channel local forecasts/Local on the 8s in the 1990s (check TWC Classics for examples):

Vendor Room:

Vendor Room annex (“More Vendors”), also home to meet and greets (and the food court):

When I was finished taking photos on Saturday, I began making the rounds in the vendor room to pickup video games. I vowed not to spend more than $25 on a game, and with one exception, I honored my vow. I successfully haggled when necessary, paying $15 for $17 worth of games, $20 for $23 worth, and $30 for $33 worth. Otherwise, one vendor discounted $7 from my $132 total and another had a two for $10 deal if you bought two $6 games. The only game I bought priced above $25 was the Xbox port of The Simpsons: Hit & Run, which was $35. It was my last purchase before leaving on Saturday. My last two purchases on Sunday were Legacy of the Wizard and Rolling Thunder, both for NES.

I was satisfied with my pickups, which brings us to…

Part 5: Pickups

Saturday pickups:

Merchandise:

Non-merchandise in the photo: Leonard Herman and Brett Weiss business cards, Schiffer Publishing and Classic Home Video Games bookmarks

NES (Nintendo Entertainment System):

Sega Master System:

Super NES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System):

Nintendo 64:

Nintendo GameCube:

Microsoft Xbox:

Nintendo Wii:

I’d wanted The Simpsons: Hit & Run ever since it was lauded in the Game Sack video on Simpsons games. (Click here to start at the relevant portion.) Epic Mickey was on my mind after seeing it on Friday in a 2017 Cygnus Destroyer video on his Top 10 Disney Games. I didn’t think to check the condition of the discs before buying, and was disappointed to see their scuffed appearance on Saturday night. You’ll see below that Epic Mickey 2 was one of my Sunday pickups from a vendor that also had the original game. All discs at his booth were in pristine condition. I lamented my mistake from the day before, chalking it up to a lesson learned. This Nintendo link taught me a positive lesson on Sunday night: how to clean discs. Monday night, I took dampened part of a washcloth and wiped Epic Mickey from left to right, line by line, then did the same with a dry part of the washcloth. The game played flawlessly in my Wii U. Tuesday morning, I did the same to Hit & Run and had the same positive result in my Xbox 360. Hit & Run was more fun and intuitive to play than Epic Mickey.

Sunday pickups:

Merchandise:

Non-merchandise in the photo: signed copy of The Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) signed by Justin (brought from home after seeing their booth on Saturday), Ralph Baer commemorative coins (one shown from the front, one from the back), my Game Boy Camera print from the Selfie Station, my weekend badge with Jovia lanyard

I watched the AVGN movie in 2019 on Amazon Prime Video, but it was later delisted. Now, I own a Blu-ray copy. They can’t take that away from me.

NES:

Xbox:

Wii:

It may be a while before I get a Super Scope, but the Saturday after LI Retro, I bought a Wii Balance Board, Wii Fit U, and a Wii Fit U Fit Meter. Now, I can play all the Wii Fit games and track my steps.

Just as AVGN made Ikari Warriors infamous (outtakes), Wii Music’s bad reputation stems from the crazy demo at E3 2008. I almost bought still another infamous NES game, Deadly Towers, on the Saturday of the expo, but relented.

Part 6: Conclusion

All good things must come to an end, and my time at the 2022 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo ended at 2:05 PM on Sunday, August 14. I took two parting shots with my iPhone before riding home:

Thank you for making it to the end of my recap. I know there was a lot to process, and it was a labor of love to draft the post. Patience was required often as WordPress struggled to display the text I typed, presumably because of all the photos and captions.

Thank you to all the guests I met and reacquainted with, to the vendors I bought from, and my fellow attendees, like budding game designer Brandon.

Special thanks to the LI Retro organizers and volunteers, especially Ryan Shapiro. You were all friendly and highly accommodating. I greatly appreciate that.

Until next year, so long.

Instrumental Invasion, 2/2/22 February 3, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Podcast, Radio.
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The special 2/2/22 edition of Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded from December 13 to 15, 2021: one segment on the 13th, two on the 14th, and the second hour on the 15th.

The playlist was created on December 10 so I could devote the weekend to Festival of Games and the subsequent blog post. I had to tweak the playlist on the 13th after it was suggested that I make segments exactly 18 minutes long. That brings me full circle as it was the original segment standard for the first seven months of the show. The six shows leading up to this one had some segments shortened to as close to 18 minutes as possible.

After the tweak, I annotated the playlist and drafted the talk break script. Every segment but the last had to be padded out with extra liners, script additions, and ad-libs. A dozen songs ended with fadeouts and “Theme from M*A*S*H” by Ahmad Jamal (from Digital Works) was one minute short. I should have picked a 7:30+ song, not 6:30+. Incidentally, while back-selling the song, I dedicated it to M*A*S*H writer/producer Ken Levine (“laVYNE”), then plugged his blog, By Ken Levine, and podcast, Hollywood and Levine.

Thanks to Jeff Kroll for reminding me that the day was 2/2/22. I tend to have blinders on, so to speak, and miss anomalies like that. It allowed me to search my catalog for songs with the same title by different artists. I’m proud of the six I chose. Lisa Hilton‘s “Getaway” and Fourplay‘s “Lucky” were both played for the second time; respectively heard the first time on February 10, 2021, and November 18, 2020.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 1/6/21 January 7, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Podcast, Radio, Technology, Video, Video Games.
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The January 6, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded on December 9, 2020. It was the first show recorded in one day since the October 14 show, which was made on September 7 (Labor Day). I recorded away from home on my laptop with a USB version of the Audio-Technica AT2020 microphone. This is most likely a one-off.

The playlist was created and annotated on December 7, exactly three months after the aforementioned previous one-day show recording.

Starting with this show, I added an extra five seconds in the playlist for talk breaks coming out of two songs and for the first talk break of hour 2. I had trouble filling time in the second segment, but then struggled to hit the post in the last segment, which was the only one I couldn’t edit down to 18:40.

As with the show that aired on December 9, to accommodate new music acquisitions, I swapped out the 1984 and earlier segment for a third 2017 to present segment.

I included “Groovers and Shakers” by Blake Aaron to make up for the last 90 seconds getting cut off on November 25.

“One Day” by Yellowjackets and the WDR Big Band is another song that was also posted to YouTube:

Once I saw Russell Ferrante was playing an actual Rhodes piano, I redid that credit in the last talk break at home with an Apogee MiC 96k. I should have used that mic the day before.

Regarding “Flurries” by Brian Culbertson, I was unaware that drummer Khari Parker died back in June. I learned that on Tuesday while annotating the playlist for the February 3 show.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

I also have two bonuses. First, I contributed a question to Game Dave‘s latest Digitally Distracted episode:

Here’s the question and his answer:

The second bonus is Jeff and Pat Kroll signing off last night’s The Rock Show, my lead-in:

Joe Falco documentary audio used in podcast September 11, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Fire, History, Interviews, News, Podcast.
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On August 10, Scott Johnson contacted me requesting permission to the audio from the Joe Falco documentary that served as my college senior project. I graciously granted Scott permission to use it in an episode of his podcast, What Was That Like. The episode went up today, on September 11. Joe’s portion begins at around 18:05.

Here are relevant portions of the episode’s page:

Joe Falco was a New York City firefighter. He was working to save lives at the World Trade Center, and was injured when the buildings collapsed.

Thanks to Mike Chimeri for his permission to use the Joe Falco audio. Mike’s father, Bill, currently works as a volunteer with Joe Falco at the Freeport Fire Department Truck Company. Mike is the host of an instrumental music radio show on public radio station WCWP. You can check out his work at his website, MikeChimeri.com.

Thank you very much, Scott, for including the project in your podcast.

POSTSCRIPT: The project was created in fall 2003. Two years earlier, I wrote about my 9/11 experience in a portfolio summary for a broadcasting course. I posted that to my blog, along with an original follow-up, on the tenth anniversary.

Instrumental Invasion, 9/9/20 September 10, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Podcast, Radio, Video.
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The September 9, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over two days: the first hour on August 14 and the second on the 15th.

The playlist was created on August 11 and annotated on the 12th, with additional annotations during each recording session.

Even though they only air once, I like to keep my shows evergreen, but I was aware this show would be airing two days before September 11. So, I referenced Philippe Petit, who in 1974, walked on a wire between the roofs of the World Trade Center towers. I played “The Firehouse Chill” by Fourplay, then acknowledged my father Bill, a volunteer firefighter for the Freeport Fire Department‘s Truck Co. 1.

I’ll mention here that my dad’s friend Joe Falco is also a member Truck Co., as well as Engine 1/Ladder 24 in the FDNY. It was in that capacity on 9/11 where he survived the collapse of the World Trade Center’s south tower (2 World Trade Center). My dad interviewed Joe, affectionately known as Bubba, for a documentary that served as my college senior project. I posted that documentary to my YouTube channel in 2016:

9/11 UPDATE: The audio from the video was included, with my permission, in the latest episode of a podcast called What Was That Like.

As for the September 9 radio show, click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below: