For dedicated retro gamers and collectors, the choice was simple: make the trek from wherever you live to Longview, WA for the Cowlitz Gamers For Kids Expo 2015
This past weekend gamers had a lot of choices for events, between the Game Developer’s Collective Indie Night, Emerald City Comic Con, and the launch of big titles like BloodBorne and the Forza Horizon 2: Fast & Furious games. But for dedicated retro gamers and collectors, the choice was simple: make the trek from wherever you live to Longview, WA for the Cowlitz Gamers For Kids Expo 2015
This is the show’s 5th year, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Vendors range from collectors selling their extras to store owners bringing half their inventory to sell at the show. Artists also represented bead art, necklaces, plushies, and more. The show also had its fair share of homebrewers and hackers, selling physical copies of NES games that have been translated from Japanese, hacked into mods, or made into completely new games. There were close to a dozen unique Legend of Zelda games alone at one booth (check the gallery below for some pictures).
The show is put on every year by uber collector John Hancock. Well-known among the collecting community for having over 22 complete collections (most people can’t even name 22 video game consoles, let own say they own every game for them!), and being a friendly and gregarious fellow, John started the show as a charity event to raise money for the Children’s Justice and Advocacy Center (CJAC). From the Cowlitz Gamers for Kids Website:
The very first Cowlitz Gamers for Kids Expo was in 2010. It was created to rally support and fundraise for an amazing charity. Children’s Justice & Advocacy Center is a non-profit team that gives children a safe place to escape child abuse and neglect, providing resources to aide in investigation, prosecution, treatment and healing.
6 years later, the expo has grown exponentially and has accrued over $24,500 for CJAC. With the help of our sponsors, vendors, volunteers, and attendees, we gather to enjoy gaming for a fantastic cause!!
John has put on some amazing events, helping to raise money for CJAC, but also providing a shot in the arm for the collecting community. Cowlitz is unique among the many video game conventions in that despite being a smaller event (each event has typically attracted around 500-1,000 attendees), the show has debuted some incredible unique games and show exclusives. Most are homebrews and hacks, but some have been famously unreleased games such as Spot Goes To Hollywood for the 32X, which got the full game box treatment. Even YouTube celebrites like Metal Jesus Rocks have appeared in Cowlitz Gamers for Kids Expo exclusives:
John is an active member of the gaming community, and has hosted panels at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo and Seattle Retro Gaming Expo, and has even been featured in documentaries about games and game collectors.
We had a great time at the 2015 Expo, and are looking forward to seeing you at next year’s show!
Cowlitz Gamers for Kids 2015 Photo Gallery
More Media And Reporting About Previous Cowlitz Gamers For Kids Expos
Gamers Go Old-School at Cowlitz County Convention – The Daily News Online