Festival Retrogamer.ca – Montréal – May 21st 2016

Last Saturday I attended Retrogamer.ca’s Festival Rétro in Montréal. The event was held at collège André-Grasset from 10am to 10pm. I was invited to attend by one of the festival organisers (thanks rEdrUm!) who is also a good friend of mine. The only downside: Montréal is 1000km away!!!

The Drive

In another small town, 350km into my drive, lives the Colecovision Addict and Xbox Addict founder (which is also a friend of mine!). Luckily he also wanted to attend the retrogaming festival so the final 650km of my trip were not spent in solitude! I left my house at 5:45am and arrived in Montréal at 6:30pm – ouch!

The People

Staying at the same motel as us was John Lester (Gamester81) – awesome! The retrogamer.ca gang, along with John, all joined us for ritual poutine at St-Hubert’s on the first night. St-Hubert’s is one of those excellent rotissery chicken places in Quebec (and 1 location in Ottawa I know) that I can’t imagine not going to on a trip to la belle province! Luckily they also had excellent IPA on tap so my thirst was thoroughly quenched.

I got to meet several exciting people during the festival: several EA employees (past and present), an ex-Atari software engineer, several Ubisoft people, etc… Up here in northern Ontario I don’t usually come across other engineers, let alone software or electrical engineers. It’s nice and refreshing to have technical conversations once in a while!

Let’s not forget the Retrogamer.ca gang, they did a terrific job of organizing and setting up the event. Practically every retro console and computer you care about was setup and waiting to be played in the main room. Someone even provided a Sega Naomi board – now that’s cool!

The Experience

festival-db-shop-setupI was allowed to setup shop on the floor to demo my creations: Power Base Mini and FM, Ultra RAM Cart and dbGrafx Booster. I was pleasantly surprised to have many people show up within the first 2 hours and tell me they had come to the festival specifically to see me and to purchase one of my products. Someone even came to trade an original Turbobooster for a dbGrafx Booster – now that’s a trade I can’t refuse!

For the festival attendees who had never heard of me, they were happy to find out modern engineering could be applied to retro hardware in such a creative way. I never get over the look on someone’s face when they first hear an FM soundtrack out of a Master System game.

At 8pm, I presented on a topic which I am adamant about: Blast Processing! I was given a 1 hour time slot to present the obvious superiority of the Genesis hardware with respect to the SNES hardware. Let’s just say that the truth hurts in the hearts of SNES lovers! 😉

festival-db-blast-processing

My Discoveries

Aside from meeting a bunch of really friendly people, I discovered several talented individuals who merit notice:

Collectorvision

Collectorvision is a video game publisher with a focus on retrogaming. I chatted with several members of the company and hopefully we’ll see Collectorvision software released on db Electronics hardware in the future! You may have heard of Sydney Hunter – their de facto flagship title coming for the Wii U, SNES, TG-16, etc…

djcouchycouch

djcouchycouch is a super-talented software engineer who has designed several very impressive Sega Genesis demos using SGDK. Check these out; anyone who says you can’t write impressive demos in C on Genesis can shut up! I would totally pay full price for games like these:

 

DarkShock

DarkShock is a software engineer who makes MSU-1 hacks for the SD2SNES on his spare time – sounds pretty technical eh? In plain english: he makes hacked versions of SNES games with CD quality soundtracks. DarkShock contributes his creations to romhacking.net which you can find here. Here’s an example of one of his hacks which replaces the TMNT IV original music with a heavy metal soundtrack – this made me buy and SD2SNES!

The Resellers

Guiz and Jerome are kind of youtube stars in Quebec, they have this hilarious show on youtube called The Resellers. Guiz was especially impressed by my products and promised that I would be the target of many questions in the near future (I think he does alot of mods). Since Gamester81 was in town for the festival, they invited him to participate in one of their episodes. Check it out here:

The Verdict

Whenever you have an opportunity to share your passion which a bunch if similarly motivated people you should always jump on it. The guys at Retrogamer.ca did a really good job on the organizing side – I congratulate them! They hold these festivals once every 6 months – you can count on me being there next time!

René

Electronics engineer and retrogaming fanatic!

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