Book release at Stockholm’s Game Museum

This weekend I went up to Stockholm for a convention, but I was also invited to attend a book release on Friday night. Martin Lindell and Thomas Sunhede has done loads of research and conducted 150 interviews to write a book about the history of Swedish game development, it’s called Svensk Videospelsutveckling.

Sweden has always been a country with people taking a big interest in learning new technologies. A lot of games are made in Sweden, games like Minecraft, Battlefield and Candy Crush Saga just to name a few big ones. This book goes through the entire history of Swedish game development though, from the 50s through to the 90s, before we had Minecraft and were playing around with ABC, C64 and other computers ^_^

A lot of famous people in the Swedish gaming scene attended the book release, some of which I knew from before, and some that I got to know ^_^ Many of them are featured in the book, like Elsa-Karin Boestad-Nilsson who programmed a war-simulator at FOA (Swedish defence forces research agency). I met Tobias Bjarneby for the first time, he’s been a video game journalist since the early 90s and runs a few magazines like the Swedish Level. I also bumped into Thomas Arnroth again, such a sweet guy, and he has just won Tidskriftspriset 2016 for being an awesome journalist! ^_^ Congratulations Thomas :)

I also talked a lot to Michael Berglund who I’ve met through Retro Gathering, he used to make games for the ZX Spectrum under the name Xenon Software! Next to him in the picture is the founder of DICE.  In the last picture is Per Jemtå who made games for the ABC 80, and Robert Kreese who I’ve met through various conventions, he’s been making music for Atari ST games and his latest musical creation is for the new game Alwa’s Awakening that is available on Steam, I’ve tried it at several conventions and it’s such a cool little 8bit adventure game with crazy NEStalgia! :D There were loads of other people there as well, it was a blast talking to everybody ^_^

~Last 5 photos are taken by Martin Lindell 

The book release was hosted at the newly founded game museum called Stockholms Spelmuseum. Tobias Bjarneby is also behind the creation of this museum :)

The museum was very modern and tidy, a lot of cool consoles and games were on display. Things all the way back from Commodore 64 and Amiga 500 to newer systems like Sega Saturn and Neo Geo AES. There was even a Magnavox Odyssey! I need one of those..  They also had a display of a complete NES SCN collection owned by Lirod, SCN is the mark on all the Nintendo 8-bit games released in Scandinavia by Bergsala.

They also had some cool references on the walls and information about various game developers and gaming history. I thought it was pretty cool to see the now and then screenshots that were framed on the wall. Adventure games from old text-based Zork to the new adventures of Lara Croft in Tomb Rider, or the comparison of an old soccer game to today’s verison of Fifa, and GTA compared to a really old basic racing game.

There was also loads of video game art covering the walls of the museum. Art pieces that really stood out was the embroidered screenshots from famous games by Per Fhager, and the beautiful moving background screenshots from various games on digital displays. I also really liked the silhouettes of game characters that were on the windows, can you recognize them all? ;D

Of course they also had games set up that you could play :D Some arcades, like original Pac-man, consoles and also some newer things like Virtual Reality!

After the book launch party I tagged along with a bunch of friends to the ROQ bar in Stockholm, where the HEY Arcade is located. It was way bigger than I had expected! So many arcade machines, two rooms filled! One of which I completely missed the first evening, but I went back there again on Saturday night ^_^ I finally got to try out Tetris Grand Masters (the third one)! And I also played a lot of Taiko no Tatsujin (the huge Japanese drum game) and Pop n’ Music. I also tried out a weird Japanese game with various minigames based on buttonmashing the correct colors, it was a lot of fun! What was the most fun though was getting to hang out with all my retro gaming friends from all over Sweden that I basically only get to see during these occasions ^_^

At this place they also had a bunch of Pinball machines and you could also play billiards (or is it pool? I never knew the difference).. great place! I will definitely go back the next time I visit Stockholm ^_^ Best part is that they have so many music and rhythm arcade machines, the ones you usually only see in Japan, SO MUCH FUN! :D

I will hopefully get another blog post done tomorrow with all the pics from the Retro Games convention I attended on Saturday ^_^ Stay tuned!

Retro Gathering L00t part I

It takes time going through, cleaning, testing and taking pictures of 105 games, a few consoles and other things.. that’s how much I came home with after this years Retro Gathering XD Anyway, let’s get to it! I mainly focused on cartridge based games this year, I found a whole bin full of cheap Atari 2600 games to start with ^_^ In the bottom were even some boxed ones :D I tried all these ones out tonight and some that stood out was Planeten Patrouilie and Sub Scan, these were fun and intuitive :) Fatal Run was also interesting, it had the most advanced tunes I’ve heard in an Atari 2600 game so far! Unfortunately it only played the music when you got Game Over XD Superman was probably one of the worst Atari 2600 games I’ve played.. I didn’t even understand what the hell I was supposed to do…

I found these two little handhelds that were super cute! I love how “Hero and Princess” is such a total rip-off from Donkey Kong Game & Watch, it’s even dual screen! XD And the gorilla looks totally derpy XD

I finally got myself the Zapper for Famicom! It’s so funny how this one actually looks just like a regular gun, while we had to have the “kids-version” XD

I managed to extend my Tetris collection a bit, but not with a game.. a music LP and an old ad! My friend Marcus sold it to me and he also had a few other cool EP’s with video game reference :) I also bought a cute Dreamcast game from him called PenPen ^_^

After getting to know a lot of other retro gamers online I tend to usually have some deals waiting for me once I meet up with these friends at a convention :) Anders was kind enough to sell me a Video Computer VC4000 game which I didn’t previously have. I just got into this system thanks to an old high school teacher that found this system in his attic XD I also met the guy behind on instagram who had a PCB with Hatris for me :D Can’t wait to try this one out, the arcade version must be so much better than the Famicom one ^_^

One of the things I bought from Zeela was this really cute little Pong clone called Las Vegas Super Color Teve-Spiel :D I tried it out tonight and it was fun, I didn’t see the colors though because apparently the TV was black and white XD I’ll try it with another TV next time… what I really liked about this Pong version is that the joysticks also go horizontally, so it actually resembles Tennis even more :) You can run back and forth and not only up and down XD It has SO MANY BUTTONS on it though! I had to read the instructions just to figure out what they were all for..

I also bought a bunch of games from Zeela, he has such good prices on old cassettes that it’s hard to resist XD So many pretty covers! I also got some extra memory for my VIC-20, which is probably the reason why I haven’t gotten more than half of the games to work on it so far XD He was also kind enough to dig out a few Jeff Minter games! Hell Gate and Gridrunner ^_^ I also picked up some Amiga games.

I also found a bunch of Videopac G7000 games that I was lacking ^_^ Some I bought from my new found retro gaming friend Jack :) Thanks for bringing them for me!

Some other things I found were a Case Boy that Söders Spel & Skivhandel thought would look great in my Castlevania collection because of the Castlevania screenshot on the box :D I also bought a reproduction of Trip World, mainly so I can play the game.. I’m probably never gonna spend that much money on the original.. I also got some cheap Famicom pirates, I thought they were quite funny since they read “4 in 1”, then “39 in 1” and finally “1000000000 in 1”!!! I’m skeptical to whether it actually contains that many XD Apart from this I picked up a bunch of other games, like Hao-Kun no Fushigi na Tabi for Famicom Disk System, Slider and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on Game Gear, Puzzle Figher II on Game Boy Advance, Cobra Command on NES, Puyo Puyo on N-Gage, a hombrew game called Photon for MSX a few other games and I also got two ZX Spectrum games for free ^_^

There’s not a lot of Japanese games at this Swedish convention, but I did manage to find a few. I found some cheap PC Engine games I didn’t already have, and also Super Darius which cost a bit more. I also bought some Japanese Sega Mega Drive games from my friend Karl ^_^ And I found some really nice Super Famicom games! :D Yoshi’s Cookie, Yoshi’s Island and Super Bomberman 3 which completed my Super Bomberman set ^_^

Now this wasn’t the entire loot.. I’m saving some of the best parts ;D I’ll be back soon with part II of the l00t!

Retro Gathering 2016 was awesome!!!

Last Friday I drove up to Västerås to attend Retro Gathering on Saturday, my favorite Retro Game convention in Sweden ^_^ Retrospelsmässan is also really nice, but as a retro game buyer there’s just more variation at Retro Gathering :) You can find everything from vintage computers, Atari and Commodore to newer PS2 and 3DS games. There have been more newer games lately compared to the first couple of years that I started attending, I hope they don’t take over though, because I love that there’s a place I can go to find these old obscure computers and consoles! I mainly focus on old cartridges and cassettes when I’m at Retro Gathering. Nintendo and Sega I can find at all the other retro game conventions in Sweden anyway.

So this year I was also asked to host an exhibit of my Castlevania collection, so I was there an hour earlier to set it up. People seemed to like it, but there were also a lot of visitors that asked me where it was. My cabinet had been hidden behind a roll-up behind the scene where they hosted the competitions, which was a shame… but people who looked found it anyway :) For those that missed it, this is what it looked like:

The first thing I spotted was a boxed Colecovision that Japon was selling. I snagged it right away, with a bunch of games and a steering wheel controller ^_^ Pontus and Jan at Japon are really nice and gave me a good deal on it :)

I love visiting Zeela’s table, it’s always filled with obscure and colorful things :) He also had a really fun rarity, Softporn Adventure by On-Line systems! On-Line systems later became Sierra, and on the picture of the “sexy” cover are executives and writers from the company, to the right is Roberta Williams, famous video game designer, writer and co-founder of Sierra On-Line who created for example the King’s Quest series :) This is the game that later became Leisure Suit Larry. Such a cool piece of history! I would have bought it if it wasn’t so expensive XD Also I’m not that into text-based adventures… ;D

Apart from this he showed me the TRS-80, a computer that I had bought from him a while back that I got delivered here ^_^ I needed one to play my Tandy Tetris game! It’s apparently some kind of Tandy computer.. It was in really nice condition though ^_^ Original box, and I got both a boxed joystick and a big box full of games with it! :D

He also had a bunch of other cool stuff ^_^ Like Strip Poker and Centrefold Squares for Atari ST, I bought these for a friend who had been looking all over the place for Atari ST games XD He AND his girlfriend were thrilled and couldn’t wait to play it!! Haha!

There were so many games for sale, and retro game related stuff ^_^ Spel & Sånt had brought some Virtual Boy rarities, they had the three games that I am missing! But they were darn expensive >_< Another seller had setup Zelda on CDi for whoever wanted to try it out XD The creators of Alwa’s Awakening were also there displaying their game which is almost done now, it will be released on Steam :)

My friends Nathalie and Andreas from up north were also there, and they were selling some of their games. Nathalie tried to sell me a weird DS game, and Andreas wanted me to upgrade my version of Tetris 2 to a mint copy XD I did end up buying Paperboy 2 from them though ^_^ Andreas is a pixel-perfectionist and he had some upscaler connected on display with Super Mario Bro 3, I don’t like when the picture is perfect and the scanlines are too obvious ;P I prefer it the original way with an old CRT and a bit of a glitchy pic XD

I finally got around to buying the game Photon that has been under development and on display for years at these conventions ^_^ It’s still not finished, but I bought an early version of it :) I also got to talk a bit to the man behind it who told me a bit about the Sord and the community around it :) Apparently there was a club back in the day that released a magazine here in Sweden called “Sordisen”, he had a few issues for sale. He also showed me a few different versions of the system. I almost went and bought one from Zeela, but then again, I don’t have any games for it yet.. so I think it’ll have to wait.

I competed in the yearly Swedish Championships of Pong this year as well :) I won the first take out but lost to my second opponent.. I haven’t been practicing enough, or rather, I haven’t been practicing at all XD I need to get my husband to start playing it with me!! The champion can be seen in the video below, damn that’s an intense Pong game!

As usual they also had a bunch of games and systems set up so people could try them out :) I saw an Intellivision there which reminded me that a seller had promised me from the previous Retro Gathering to bring me one, when I found him though he had already sold it to someone else :((( Hopefully he can set me up with another one.. I have so many Intellivison games and no Intellivisions to play them on XD

They also had some other exhibitors, one collection of Sonic games and one of Handic for the VIC 20 :)

One of the best things about going to retro game conventions though is all the people! I met so many old and new friends, and people are so friendly :D

After the convention we went out and met up with a bunch of retro gamers, and we found Kralleman and PingeAhlin there who had missed the convention, but had been off on more exciting business! They had scored a bunch of old arcades and other rarities from a connection they had. I was lucky enough to get to go check out their loot :D They had gotten rare prototypes for the Videopac, old minty posters with ads for the Luxor computer, boxed Vectrexes, a Taito Space Invaders arcade cab and a Super Bug arcade with super mint manuals, a really old wooden arcade and an original Break Out arcade. The Break Out arcade had only been played on 64 times, which means it’s hardly been used more than factory testing. That’s pretty rad XD

As you can probably figure, Retro Gathering has outdone themselves again and it was an awesome convention! I’ll go through my loot in a later post when I’ve gone through it all ;D