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Philly Classic 5 Report
3/22/04

MVC-035FWell here it is, the day after PhillyClassic 5 and I've made it back home. This was my first event of this type, previously only having attended a few JagFests and one E3 back in 2001. This was also the first time I've ever been a "vendor" with a table to not only display items, but to sell as well. Luckily I can say that all went well and was a success - I might even end up doing this again next year.

Going into the show, I really didn't know how NUON would be recieved at such an event. Would I be sitting, twiddling my thumbs while gamers went to more familiar territory? Would people laugh at the mere mention of the word NUON? Suprisingly, just the opposite. Almost everyone who came up to the table asked what the system was if they hadn't heard of it before, or had heard of it a few times and thought it never even came out. Speaks wonders about the advertising (or lack thereof) that VM Labs had for the hardware, I think.

I had Tempest 3000 running pretty much non-stop most of the weekend which worked out well for a few reasons. First, they had an original Tempest arcade cabinet pretty much right across from our table (that couldn't have worked out better!). I heard a few people say "Hey, that's a new version of that game over there." Nice. Also, many people had seen and were fans of Tempest 2000 on the Jag, but never had seen Tempest 3000 in person or even knew it existed. The general consensus was that the game was fun with insanely crazy visuals. But hey, we knew that already, right? ;)

The NUON-Dome table consisted of two interactive displays (one SD2300 and one N501), some display-only items like the Motorola Blackbird and Streamaster, prototype NUON display boxes, a prototype Superpad controller, NUON-enhanced movies and a Korean Samsung controller. On the N501 I ran a variety of the homebrew games and various other stuff like the VLM, FreeFall, Merlin Racing and Space Invaders XL. People got a kick out of the Atari 2600 Pac Man, Chomp, Doom and Breakout.

MVC-052FSpeaking of Breakout, Stephen Anderson (the guy who wrote the game) was with me at the show and helped hold down the fort at the N-D table. It was great to have him on-hand to answer the more technical questions about NUON, and to show off Breakout to whoever was interested. He got some great feedback on the game and most people were pretty excited to have someone who wrote a game for the hardware there at the show. Thanks again for making the trip and helping out, Stephen!

Also a big thanks to JimV for his help at the table and for bringing by some of his ultra-rare NUON items. It was very cool getting to see that NUON award, the mockup boxes for aMaze, T3K and IS3, and some of the promotional items that I don't have. It was great meeting such a big fan of the site and NUON.

The PhillyClassic 5 promo discs I put together were pretty popular and I sold out of them about half way through the first day. Sorry to those of you who couldn't make it to the show, but I didn't want to make too many and be sitting on a bunch of discs that nobody wanted. But sales were very brisk (thanks, I'm sure, to the 2500-odd people that attended the show), and I sold out of everything but 2 copies of Merlin Racing and a bunch of HPI Warrior controllers. Quite a few people asked about the systems themselves, which of course I didn't have any extra to sell. Maybe I need to start stocking up for next year!

MVC-057FOne of the biggest suprises of the show was an interview I did with Patrick Clark from the G4 TV news show Pulse. The crew was there for a big part of Sunday, and seemed to be making the rounds hitting various parts of the show. I was pretty suprised they decided to interview me of all people, but I went out there and fielded some questions about NUON and hopefully didn't make too much of an ass of myself in the process. I showed them some of the games like T3K and FreeFall and showed off some NUON enhancements from Buckaroo Banzai. Should my segment actually make the cut, keep an eye out for their PC5 report. The show airs Fridays at 10:00 PM EST/7:00 PM PST.

Some other cool media-related highlights were getting Tommy Tallarico from Electric Playground over to play some Tempest 3000 and chatting it up with a fellow from GMR magazine. Hopefully one or both of them do a story on NUON in their respective fields. How cool would that be?

On the non-NUON front at the show (which would account for like 99% of it), some of the highlights for me were getting to see most of the stuff at Curt's Atari History booth - notably the JagVR, JagDuo, and Jaguar II prototypes. Wow. AtariAge had a table full of Songbird Production's Jaguar and Lynx games, and had a demo of Phase Zero running. One very cool part of Saturday was Randy Femrite's BattleSphere network table, where he had 3 Jags hooked up with 3 copies of BS gold running. Stephen and I were able to get a quick game in before the show started (I won of course ;) ), and it looked to be pretty busy all day. Randy was a big fan of Jagu-Dome, a site Wes and I used to do, so it was great to get to meet him in person.

MVC-047FOverall, it was really great getting to meet a bunch of NUON fans, showing off the games and hardware to people who had never seen it before, and getting to meet people from around the 'net that I've chatted with before like Mike Stulir, Curt Vendel, Chris Chandler and Mike @ Good Deal Games. I got to meet Cindy Morgan (she was in Tron and Caddyshack), play a bunch of classic arcade games and just gernerally had a great time. I also must say I got a kick out of seeing the ad I did for Songbird Productions everywhere on the back cover of Manci Games Magazine ;). Thanks to Dave and Mark who put the show together, everyone who came by the NUON-Dome table and bought stuff, played games or just wanted to talk. The weekend was a whirlwind, flew by too fast and ended with a Red Bull-fueled 6-hour drive home after the show ended at 5 on Sunday. But I wouldn't think twice about doing it all again.

To see the entire NUON-Dome PC5 photo gallery, click here.

Stephen Anderson set up a page full of his pictures from the show, which you can see right here.

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