History of Games.jpg['Parallax Memories' is a regular weekly column by Matthew Williamson, profiling classic '16-bit' games from the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and other seminal '90s systems. This week's 'special edition' column takes a look at the Classic Gaming Expo's History of Video Games exhibit at last week's E3 Expo.]

While at E3 I was almost completely absent from the internet last week, but I still don't think there's been much coverage of the The History of Videogames "booth" in Kentia Hall. There were little displays all over the show floor—usually containing mini-arcade cabinets of Frogger, or old PC games in good condition boxes—but when I found the full exhibit, there was much more than I expected. Enjoying older games as I do I was happy to get the opportunity to take a break from the overwhelming amount of new ones.

Friday was the shortest day of E3, and I still had to conduct a few interviews and check out far too many booths . But I had to get a good look around the display. I had to spend more time there than was healthy; I was compelled. At what could only be the center of the labyrinth that is Kentia Hall, I gazed eagerly upon row after row of arcade cabinets ranging from Asteroids to R-Type.

Cabinets.jpgAt a first look, the arcade cabinets ranged from good to excellent condition, but upon closer inspection there were noticeable blemishes. The buttons were all original and so not always in the best shape. The monitors ranged from blurry and unwatchable to clean and burn-free. But overall, the cabinet artwork was in wonderful shape; the original painted side art was intact, as were all stickers and instruction cards.

There were more games than I can list here, and all were on free play. The games ranged from all eras of the arcade up to the early '90s. I could only take the time to play a few games of Tempest and Centipede (two games that are fairly difficult to in the arcade "wild").

handhelds.jpgBehind the rows of arcade cabinets there were hundreds of stacked boxes of handheld electronic and LCD games. They ranged from mini-arcade mock-up cabinets to obscure Japanese handhelds. It was stirring to see this massive collection laid out on the floor. I saw games from Japan that I never knew existed, including one based on Dr. Slump (a manga from Akira Toriyama of Dragon Quest and Dragon Ball fame) and a two player Hokotu No Ken game(released as Fist of the North Star in the United States).

Even further back in the exhibit, I found some rare and older videogame systems on display. The systems featured most often in this column (the Genesis and SNES) were represented, but they were only showing very common domestic games—nothing of real note. However, there were a couple Vectrex machines that were still in amazing shape for their age; it's always astounding to see those super-sharp vector monitors in action. And I grabbed the opportunity to play the Atari Jaguar's port of Raiden (which was, unfortunately, quite poor).

Keith.jpg
I skimmed parts of the display; there really was just too much to take in at once. Seeing a classic Apple II monochrome monitor really warmed my heart, and the Coleco Vision reminded me of long-past weekends with my uncle. As I headed back to “the future of gaming,” I spied Keith Robinson (co-founder of Intellivision) playing a skillful game of Jumpman Junior on a Commodore SX-64. With so much talk about moving ahead in games right now with the “HD era” upon us, it is comforting to know that some people are making note of the past.

[Matthew Williamson is the creator of The Gamer's Quarter, an independent videogame magazine focusing on first-person writing. His work has been featured on MTV.com, 1up.com, Chatterbox Radio, and the Fatpixels Radio Podcast.]