Classic Game Fest Returns

In our day, controllers had one button, and we liked it

<i>Fall Down</i> for Atari 2600
Fall Down for Atari 2600

It was a simpler time: no DLC, no Twitch, no e-sports, and if you wanted to play with friends you had to physically go to their house. Video games have come a long way – far enough to support nostalgia seekers and connoisseurs of the medium. The Classic Game Fest embraces both groups as well as generic fun-lovers by celebrating the music, culture, and, of course, video games of yore.

Organized by the backward-looking folks at Game Over Videogames, the festival outgrew the confines of the store's first location years ago. These days, the chunky pixels and mathematically derived bleeps and bloops bring more than 4,500 people to the Palmer Events Center. What they find are bands, tournaments, cosplay, and lots of kindred spirits.

This year's speakers embody the best and worst that gaming has to offer. The best comes in the form of local game developing rock star and space traveler, Richard Garriott. He joins his longtime co-worker Starr Long to discuss Ultima Online, one of the first massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Often considered the worst video game of all time, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has the dubious honor of almost destroying the industry with its terribleness. That game's creator, Howard Scott Warshaw, talks about the conditions that led to that lemon. He will be joined by local author Ernie Cline, whose books Ready Player One and the recently released Armada are steeped in retro gaming lore.

The tournaments remain the CGF's reason for being. Where else can you test your skill at Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Super Smash Bros. and other titles ranging from the Nineties to the present day? Attendees can try to complete the notoriously difficult level three of Battletoads or go against others in newly developed Atari 2600 games. That's right, people are still making games for Atari.

Nerd-core rappers and video-game music cover bands (including illustrious local prog-rockers Descendants of Erdrick and San Antonio's ocarina player David Erick Ramos) ensure that the rest of your body gets to move, not just your button-mashing fingers. Enter the costume contest or just admire cosplay pros like Spencer Doe and Lyndsey Elaine. All this in addition to booth upon booth where one can buy, sell, and repair vintage game tech and purchase all manner of new goods celebrating old fun.

Classic Game Fest 2015

Saturday-Sunday, July 25-26

Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Dr.

$15 (kids under 12, free)


Super Smash Bros. Melee

Super Smash Bros. (for Nintendo 64 and the updated Wii U version)

Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition


Street Fighter II Arcade

Super Street Fighter II Turbo Arcade

Ultra Street Fighter IV Arcade

Killer Instinct Classic

Mortal Kombat II Arcade

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

Mortal Kombat X Arcade

Space Rocks

Fall Down

Android Assault

Battletoads (level 3 challenge)

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