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WIRED Games editor Chris Kohler to speak at PRGE

Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life
Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life

WIRED's Games Editor Chris Kohler will be at the 2016 Portland Retro Gaming Expo, along with the new edition of his classic book Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life. To be released October 19, this definitive edition of Kohler's 2004 look at the history and culture of Japanese video games contains an all-new chapter, as well as a new foreword from Sony's Shuhei Yoshida.

WIRED's Games Editor Chris Kohler
WIRED's Games Editor Chris Kohler.

Chris will be in the PRGE Museum on both Saturday and Sunday, selling and signing copies of the new Power-Up. (Or, he says, anything you want him to sign.) In addition, you can also catch his panel Retrogame Roadshow with Frank Cifaldi and Steve Lin, and see him at the Retronauts 10th Anniversary Extravaganza.

Since founding WIRED's Webby-nominated Game|Life section in 2005, Chris has covered the video game industry extensively over the past decade. He is also the co-host of the Stitcher Award-winning trivia podcast Good Job, Brain!

Bringing the gaming goodness to Rose City Comic Con

A stormtrooper plays Asteroids at the 2015 Rose City Comic Con
A stormtrooper plays Asteroids at the 2015 Rose City Comic Con.

Rose City Comic Con

For the fourth year in a row, PRGE is partnering up with Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade to provide some sweet, sweet retro gaming action to the attendees of the Rose City Comic Con. It will be our largest arcade at RCCC to date with nearly 50 arcade and pinball machines plus hundreds of vintage console games to play. And there are no quarters necessary! You can even take a break and play some games in our 70's Living Room or our bean bag lounge.

Rose City Comic Con is a locally produced pop culture event with a focus on creating a fun and friendly event for everyone. While their primary focus is that of comics, comic creators, and the creative process, Rose City Comic Con also provides it's attendees with access to gaming, sci-fi, cosplay, anime, fantasy, and everything in between. It's a rewarding, fun, and family friendly experience!

RCCC takes place on September 10-11, 2016 at the Oregon Convention Center. Look for the PRGE/Ground Kontrol Retro Arcade at the southern end of the main show hall (Hall E). Learn more at

See the "Nintendo-Playstation" Prototype

Terry and Dan Diebold
Terry and Dan Diebold next to the Nintendo-Playstation prototype.

Back in 1988, Sony and Nintendo signed a contract agreeing to work together to create a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo. This got as far as the prototyping stage with hardware and SNES-CD titles being demoed at the Consumer Electronics Show. Eventually, and to the surprise of Sony, Nintendo announced a partnership with Philips Electronics for a CD add-on and the Sony deal fell apart.

Fast-forward to 2009 when Dan Diebold read about the failed Sony-Nintendo relationship and remembered a strange game console his father, Terry Diebold, had purchased at a bankruptcy auction. Dan recently located the console in Terry's attic and, despite some initial skepticism, were able to get it authenticated as the only known remaining prototype of the SNES-CD system that Sony created as part of their contract with Nintendo.

Since then, the rare console has traveled widely (along with Dan and Terry), as far away as Hong Kong where the unit was tested and even x-rayed. Dan and Terry even brought the system to well-known game modder, Ben Heckendorn, who was able to carefully disassemble the console and determine the cause for the failed CD unit inside. Although he did not have the parts on hand to repair the CD drive, he was able to repair the console to where it is able to consistently play Super Nintendo (actually Super Famicom) game cartridges.

Nintendo-Playstation prototype console
The Nintendo-Playstation prototype console.

Dan and Terry will be bringing the "Nintendo Playstation" to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo which will be available for viewing in the PRGE video game museum. Further, Ben Heckendorn will be at PRGE where he will be attempting to repair the broken CD drive with some recently-sourced parts. Ben, Dan and Terry will be speaking about the unit at Ben's console modding panel and it is their goal to show off the fixed and fully operational console at this panel should their repairs be successful. Fingers are crossed!

You can read more about the story behind this amazing piece of video game history at these links:

Ben's panel is scheduled for 5:00 PM on Saturday in Auditorium B.

The New 8-Bit Heroes Screening at PRGE

As a child did you ever sketch awesome video game worlds onto the margins of your notebooks? Have you ever wondered how your favorite Nintendo games were turned from an idea to the classic titles we know today? What would it take to transform a child's video game vision to reality on a game platform that peaked 25 years ago? This is the premise of Joe Granato's documentary film, The New 8-Bit Heroes, which will screen on Saturday evening at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo.

"When I was eight years old I spent the majority of my summer days hypnotized by a fifteen inch cathode ray tube in the family room of my parents' Central New York home. My recreation of choice was the solitary saving of fantastic worlds with a now archaic gamepad. And when I was eight, I would sketch. I would doodle. I would draw with sidewalk chalk and propose in prose my own fantastic world that borrowed heavily from those games that inspired me. I wasn't ever very good at that part of it, but in my defense I was also eight.

"A childhood friend and I spent the last part of our school year designing a game. From mapping out the treacherous dungeons to naming, designing, and giving attributes to the monsters, to even creating a soundtrack on an old Casio keyboard. Like so many ambitious kids our age, we sent a letter including the plans for this masterpiece to Nintendo of America."

"I spent the majority of that summer watching for the delivery truck. I was certain that some space-aged computer system would arrive any day. So certain, in fact, that I designed a game manual, and created a cartridge box complete with custom artwork on white construction paper. After all, I wanted to be ready to see this vision realized."

"We finally received our response in August just before summer vacation ended. In just a few heartbreaking sentences, Nintendo officially apologized that they could not send me the equipment to make my own game nor could they take unsolicited ideas from outside the corporation. I was crushed. In a storage box out in the tool shed of my parents' suburban home, the vision was tucked neatly away along with the notebook of juvenile pre-production work. That world was dormant and all but forgotten forgotten. I grew up. I moved on. I left that particular childhood vision to die on the proverbial vine."

      Joe Granato

The New 8-Bit Heroes follows Joe and a group of modern creatives as they retrofit their skills in an attempt to defy the limitations and build a compelling, cartridge based game experience for the 30-year-old, 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System.

The film will play in PRGE's Classic Tetris World Championship arena on Saturday evening starting at 7:00 PM and the director will answer questions after.

Video Game Wizards

James Rolfe: Angry Video Game Nerd!

The Angry Video Game Nerd
Join the Angry Video Game Nerd at PRGE 2016!

For the first time ever we welcome James Rolfe, the Angry Video Game Nerd, to the 2016 Portland Retro Gaming Expo! James will be hosting his own panel on Saturday and another again on Sunday, as well as an autograph session for a limited time in the main lobby on Saturday. Panel and autograph times will be announced closer to the event.

James Rolfe is a filmmaker, director, producer, and writer from New Jersey who is best known for his internet production of The Angry Video Game Nerd. Rolfe gained mainstream attention when the first four episodes of AVGN went viral on the internet after his best friend Mike Matei persuaded him to publish them on YouTube in 2006.

Since then, James has published hundreds of videos and even a feature length film featuring the Nerd character. The "nerd van" from this movie will be on display at PRGE along with AVGN merchandise for sale.

Volunteer Your Time at the Retro Gaming Expo

Volunteer at PRGE!
PRGE runs on volunteers and we need your help!

Do you love classic video games? Would you like to hang out with hundreds of like-minded classic gaming fans? Would you like to touch real-live video game nerds? Get all this plus free admission to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo!

PRGE is a 501(c)4, 100% non-profit and volunteer-operated convention. Our continued growth and improvement depends on fans like you to volunteer your time and skills. If you will be in the Portland, OR area on October 18-23, 2016 we can use your help. There are many postions available. Each volunteer gets free admission to the Expo for the entire weekend and special volunteer PRGE t-shirt.

Go to the PRGE volunteer page for more information and to complete the volunteer application.

Activity Schedule for PRGE 2016

For the first time in 11 years, PRGE will be open on Friday! We have created this graphic to help explain what you can do on each day of the event and when you can do it. Questions? Email us at

2016 PRGE activity schedule

PRGE 2015 Highlights

PRGE 2015 is over, but not forgotten! Here are some links to reviews, photos and videos from the Expo.

PRGE Panels




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Rose City Comic Con - September 10-11, 2016 - Portland, Oregon Sacramento Gamers Expo - December 11, 2016 - Sacramento, California


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