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  • Writer's pictureAshSaidHi

Retro Gaming Party - Long Island Retro Expo 2023

Updated: Jun 22

This article was originally written for It appears in issue 66 of the Dank Zine which you can purchase here. Thanks Ann for letting me contribute to your Zine!

Ash posing in front of a tv before her panel with Jared Pettt
Ash is happy to be at LI Retro!

Hi everyone! It's Ash, and I am going to tell you about the adventures, excitement, and fun I had at the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo 2023! Every second I was there, I kept thinking, "Oh man, I wonder what all my pals would think of this super cool retro computer? What would they think of seeing Zenki on a tv screen? Is this vendor selling this game at a good price?? Look at this SEALED Home Improvement on SNES!!" I am here to give you the scoop on a mecca for classic gaming enthusiasts. It was a weekend of attending informative panels, meeting retro preservationists, playing on original hardware, finding super rare games for sale, and making friends with classic gaming enthusiasts. Before the weekend was over, I was planning my return because this is a show I never want to miss again!

The Cradle of Aviation Museum
The Cradle of Aviation Museum where LI Retro is held

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo takes place in Garden City, New York, for a weekend in August. The show goes from Friday to Sunday. I had first heard about this event last year, but couldn't go. That is why I made it a priority for 2023. The backdrop for the expo is the Cradle of Aviation. It gives it a super cool Top Gun vibe. The panels take place in either the planetarium room or a science room, where they do education during the rest of the year. The museum has three floors. The first floor was dedicated to the vendor hall, an arcade area with tons of Japanese cabinets and DDR free play and the bulk of the hardware is on display there, along with a tournament area. The second floor is dedicated to arcade cabinets, a space for musical performances and console stations. The third floor was devoted to the history of Tetris and showcased many versions, including physical versions of the game, arcades, and many different ports across various consoles.

On Friday, I spoke on a panel focusing on how to stream retro games online. I was interviewed by Jared Petty from Limited Run Games. Jared asked many insightful and thoughtful questions that kept the panel on track. It felt like talking to someone who was my friend for many years about cool games we both love. The discussion covered how to get started in retro streaming, what kind of setup you could use, games to play, and general online techniques for streaming. After the panel, I explored the convention floor.

Jared chats with Ash about streaming retro games
Jared Petty chats with Ash about streaming retro games

I was giddy with excitement to explore the first floor. From Game Boy cameras set up to take pictures and print for keepsakes to the Commodore PET, Atari ST, Amiga 500, this place had EVERYTHING. What struck a chord with me was that it didn't feel like a pristine museum; you could sit, touch, feel, play, and explore at your own pace. A volunteer was stationed at every section to answer your questions, swap out games, and be your guide to whatever you needed. Even more impressive is that many volunteers bring their own hardware, CRTs, arcade cabs, and more to the show. These people are dedicated and LOVE what they do. This show has enthusiasm and spirit you simply won't find anywhere else. It is a show made with love and care for classic gaming and computing.

I was overjoyed that I could play an actual Sharp X68000. Never in my life did I ever think I would get to see one, let alone play one! I played Space Harrier and Gradius 3. The volunteer who brought the computer in cranked the volume up for me so we could jam to that sweet sound chip. It was glorious. There was also a super cool Casio Loopy with a princess maker game. I got to play with an SG-1000, an MSX, MSX 2, a PC-FX, a Phillip CD, the 64DD, a Vectrex, and tons of arcade cabs. I also saw the Apple Pippin, PC Engine LT, Panasonic M2, and the FM Towns Marty. If they let me, I could have stayed there all day and all night. Where else could I find a LAN setup for Unreal Tournament that I could play with 7 other people?!?

Light Gun Alley Sign LI Retro
Light Gun Alley Sign LI Retro

The rest of the floor was arranged by category. There was an RPG section, a racing section, sports games sections, a light gun game section, and many others. I took time to play an excellent light gun game on the Sega Master system that also utilized 3D Glasses. Tournaments were going on all weekend. There was also a section where they gave out rare Pokemon; you could bring your game and trade with others. I also got a ton of Street Pass on my Nintendo 3DS! One of my favorite rooms was the room with classic Mac computers like the Apple II e and something called the Nabu (which I had never heard of until then). The Nabu was a Canadian computer that connected to the internet in 1982, and you could download software and games through a cable connection. It's incredible to think something like that was around in the 80's, it was way ahead of its time.

The second floor featured more gaming consoles. I played a Famicom disk system and did the Pols voice trick in Zelda! I learned about the mic functionality in that version of the game because of the volunteer. There were also many cool arcade cabinets like Tron, Space Ace, Metal Slug, Tempest, Robotron 2084, and more. It was along a dimly lit hall that made the cabinets glow. Each game beckoned with the call of free play.

Ash Playing Super Mario on the Famicom
Ash Playing Famicom games

I visited the third floor to check out the Tetris timeline exhibit. They had a short write-up of Alexey Pajitnov and almost every version of Tetris imaginable. I saw tetris on the Game Boy, NES, PC, the arcade, and I even saw physical versions. They also had spinoffs like Wordtris and Hatris. I am a big Tetris fan and thoroughly enjoyed this section.

The vendor floor was a marvel. SO MANY GAMES. You could literally find anything. Consoles, original display units, magazines, imported games, art, jewelry, PC parts, peripherals, pins, and more. I browsed, but I had to exercise a lot of self-restraint. If I had more cash, I would have bought a Dreamcast system. I always wanted one. Next time.

LI Retro Vendor Floor
LI Retro Vendor Floor

The panels and events were wonderful. I heard Frank Cifaldi speak about game preservation. I co-hosted trivia with Diamond Feit from the Retronauts. Pat and Ian were there from the CU Podcast, GtoTheNextLevel did a live stream and talk, John Riggs had a table, The Retronauts did a panel, and Mr. Wright Way and I had a podcast chat, which was really fun. I saw 88Bit, aka Rob Kovacks, perform awesome game music on the piano that included Rygar and Marble Madness.

Overall, it was one of the best conventions I ever attended. The staff was incredibly kind and knowledgeable. The contest and games were fun, the panels were informative, the show floor was organized, and there were no long lines or waits. I am going back next year for sure, and if you are there, I hope I can say hi to you then! Thanks for reading. Till next time!

You can also check out my video recap below!

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