Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo 2016

Aug 7, 2016

For the second year in a row I had the pleasure of attending the Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo in Atlanta, GA. If you aren’t familiar with SFGE you really should be, owners from far and wide bring their arcade cabinets and pinball machines for all convention goers to play. The best part is that all games are on free play. Many of the machines are for sale. In case you still have questions about the convention check out my interview Preston Burt, who is one of the founders of SFGE.

For the first time in the conventions three years it was held at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta Hotel. I thought the new setup was far superior that what I experienced last year. There was more than enough space for everything. The result being that none of the convention areas get too hot. SFGE covered almost an entire floor of the hotel.  There seemed to be more panels this year and even a wrestling show put on by Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment.

Even though Preston told me about the wrestling during our interview I decided to not tell my son until it was time to go watch the show. He was surprised and excited since he’s a wrestling fan. The show was excellent! I had never seen wrestling in the ballroom setting and I feel like I have been missing out. It was a very interactive show, there were quite a few fans standing right to the next during the action. AWE is definitely something I plan to check out in the future. Now back to the games…

Since SFGE ended last year I couldn’t wait to get another chance to have so many pinball machines to play in one place. While I have grown to really enjoy old school pinball move than I thought I ever would. I do prefer the digital tables, what they are about to do with the characters of the game makes it just that much more engaging than older tables. The other advantage is how many new different games you can have on one machine. I’m into tech so my opinion is very biased in this area. Needless to say more young gamers should get the chance to try pinball, my son absolutely loves it.

The old favorites were there as well NBA Jam, Marvel v. Capcom, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, and many more. thing I always like to point out is that even though the games are on free play all of the attendees make sure to respect any people waiting to the play the games. Not once did I see anyone getting frustrated because someone wouldn’t give up them sticks. For the second year in a row my favorite thing to play was the custom cabinets on display from Monster Arcades.  I can’t even describe how much I want a four-player pedestal arcade machine. I dream about it quite often actually. The array of designs they have for the machines and the number of games that can be loaded to them is incredible. Playing Turtles in Times and then switching to Super Tecmo Bowl, and then playing Marvel v. Capcom will forever be cool. I’m going into year two of trying to convince my wife getting a custom machine is a good idea.

If console gaming if more your style you’re also in luck. SFGE had a room with just about every home console ever ready to be released. As cool as it is to stroll down memory lane I couldn’t stop thinking about how damn big tube TV’s are.  It was really nice to see the younger gamer playing older games and enjoying them. Seeing a nine year old playing an NES seems really weird. The only thing that could have made that room better was if you could bring in your own games to play on the consoles. I know that isn’t at all an easy task to accomplish but some of the games that were displayed just didn’t interest me. I love that room because it allows me to see what it would be like to have all the consoles from my youth in one room. My quest to own all the consoles I had as a kid in still a work in progress, I was able to buy a PS1 at SFGE. I don’t have any memory cards so playing it isn’t really an option.

SFGE 2016 was once again was a great event and s definitely an event for the entire family. I took my son and one of his friends it was great. If the convention remains at the same hotel, traffic may become an issue since SunTrust Stadium; the Atlanta Braves new home opens next year.  However the food options are great in the hotel and nearby. SFGE is highly recommended for any gamers in the Atlanta area and is even worth traveling to Atlanta if you’re an arcade enthusiast.