This is a movie review website, so why in the hell are you reviewing a video game convention? Well, I'll tell you why. I wasn't planning on writing this up, but SUPER! BitCon was so well put together and we has so much fun that I had to say something. As many of you know, CineDump is based out of Houston, Texas so the trip to Oklahoma is quite the trek. That being said though, it was more than worth it. I, like most people, enjoy the occasional video game here and there so when we were contacted by the guys over at S!BC about attending, I was excited to say the least.
We arrived mid-day Saturday so a lot of the panels had either started or were already completed, but that wasn't really a big deal. We had full access to all of the vendors, developers, artists, exhibits and tournaments. Needless to say, we could find something to do. We first ventured into the artist and game developer area. While many of the artists were of the usual con affair, prints and posters, we did find a few good deals at the Rated N for Nerdy booth. They're from Texas so you know they're good people. They were eager to barter and even offered to commission a ninja turtles piece just for me. Ultimately I decided to spend what little money I had elsewhere, but it's the thought that counts, right? More important than any craft that I'll cherish for a week though, I am now inspired to attempt pixel art with perler beads. So if anyone is looking for a beaded Mario magnet, get at me because I'm your guy.
We then proceeded to the developer area of the convention. I found this to be the most interesting portion of the entire convention. It was fascinating to see the patrons not only playing the underground games, but to see someone purchasing a game directly from the guy who labored over it was definitely a sight to see. For me, the highlight had to be Adam Mowery and his demo for Curse of the Crescent Isle. When I do play video games, aside from Mortal Kombat 2, it's usually 2D platformers just like this that occupy most of my time. So, when I saw Mowery and his project, I was stopped in my tracks. While I didn't spend as much time playing as I'd had liked, I will be revisiting this one as soon as it is available to the public.
We spent the remainder of the day jumping from vendor to vendor until we had no other choice but to leave and search for food. Six hours in a car is a long time, and we were starving. We clocked out of S!BC day one around 4 and headed out among the civilians. We wanted something we could only find in Oklahoma and with one solid Google search under out belts we quickly found our way to Hideaway Pizza, home of what we would later describe as the best pizza we've ever had. I know this isn't Yelp, but I'm pretty sure the entire CineDump team can vouch for this place. If you're ever in Oklahoma be sure to seek out one of their specialty pies. Once we were full, we were really ready to get into trouble. Lucky for Oklahoma, the guys over at S!BC had our evening planned. We moved from pizza to pinball as we pulled into a seemingly small place called Cactus Jack's. Jack's offered an array of arcade games including, but not limited to, House of the Dead, Time Crisis and Daytona USA. They also had a huge selection of pinball games, and because of which, that was where we spent most of our time flipping the night away. The beer was insanely cheap and only added to the arcade ambiance that is so hard to find these days.
Our night concluded with a performance by Don't Blink or You'll Die, which can only be described as well... I honestly can't describe it. And I mean that in a good way. You see DBOYD, also know as Nathan Reed, is a chiptune artist. What is a chiptune you ask? Well boys and girls, a chiptune, also known as chip music or 8-bit music, is synthesized electronic music produced by the sound chips of vintage computers, video game consoles, and arcade machines, as well as with other methods such as emulation. When you first walk up on the event that is chip music it appears as if the artist is just pushing the same button over and over on a GameBoy, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I had Nathan's friend explain how they actually create the music, but its insanely difficult to describe so me relaying it here would be damn near impossible. While this is my first venture into the world that is chiptune music, I'd assume that Nathan had his shit together because as the show went on his crowd continued to grow. Check him out, even if you're not a video game fan, he's worth your time.
With day one behind us all we had to do now was attempt what we weren't able to do the day prior. We strolled in as the doors opened and were quickly consumed by the crowd of deal seekers. I was able to snag a few Mario McDonald's figures for a buck a pop, a couple koopaling plush toys and a Super Everdrive, pre-loaded with all of my SNES favorites. I've had my eyes one of those for a year or so now. Once my wallet was officially wiped out I decided to may my respects to Alpha Omega Sin, The Gaming Historian and The Game Chasers. If you have no idea who or what I am talking about and even care slightly about video games, please do yourself a huge favor and exercise the YouTube search bar with any of the above mentioned names. All of the guys were extremely nice with anyone and everyone that approached them, and I must mention there was at least one moment when Billy, Jay and I were looking through games at the same booth. I don't get starstruck, but it was beyond surreal to be going through boxes with the American Pickers of video games.
Last on the list for our catalog of Sunday events was Jared Lee Knabenbauer's panel. You might know him better by his username, ProJared. We headed that way a bit early to be sure to acquire a good seat. I wasn't sure what to expect considering Jared is considered to be quite the wild card, but at the very least I could be sure I was going to be entertained. The schedule listed the Q&A as a mix of stand-up, insight and reflection. All of that sounded good to me, and there I was waiting for a guy who I had been watching deliver video game news for years. He hopped on stage and within moments he was replying to questions one by one. I preferred when Jared would discuss the industry, broadcast and YouTube stuff. Apparently, I was in the minority though, because most lines of questioning would begin and end with either Monster Hunter and/or Dragonball. All and all though, the occasion was as just as advertised. However, I'm sure that those who were really listening took a bit more away.
So that's it ladies and gents. We went. We saw. We gamed. Thanks again to everyone that helped put this event on, literally everyone we encountered was extremely pleasant and eager to help if we needed something. I've attended my fair share of events in the past, and this is one of the most organized things I've ever attended. There were maps everywhere, the volunteers were informed and the vendors were always willing to haggle. If SUPER! BitCon will have us back, we'd love to do it all over again. Maybe next year I'll even give you guys 2000 words.
OVERHEARD IN THE CROWD:
Her boyfriend should be used to people asking for pictures, right?