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March 11, 2013

My real first convention experience
Elizabeth O'Malley

Video games will always be my number one fandom, even if I don't play them as much as I used to. One of my favorite video game memories ever was attending a Nintendo Power event in Worcester, Massachusetts around 1990. which I attended with my brother and father.

Nintendo was a big part of my childhood growing up. I still remember when my parents first got an NES for my brothers and me. I was five years old, and I vividly recall the first time I played Super Mario Bros. Every week we went to the local video store and rented a different game, plus we had dozens of games at home that we played over and over. My grandmother also had an NES, and we would bring our games over to her house to play when she babysat for us. That is, if she wasn't already playing Vegas Dream.

Since we were big Nintendo fans, obviously we had a subscription to Nintendo Power. It must have been in one of those issues that we learned about a traveling show that Nintendo Power was doing. I honestly don't remember how I learned about the event, or being excited for the event, or anything like that. Give me a break, I was seven. But I do remember a lot about attending it.

It was set up much similar to PAX, except on a much smaller scale. There were dozens and dozens of televisions set up, each with an NES hooked up to it. I remember playing Wizards and Warriors, Mega Man 2, Super Mario Bros 3, and walking through an entire room set up with Game Boys. My memory is a little hazy on this part, but I think there were people dressed up as Link and Zelda as well. Or maybe my cosplayer memory wishes that was true.

Exactly when this event was is kind of hazy. It was sometime around 1989 or 1990. I thought that one of the big things about it was the Game Boy had just come out, or was going to be released soon. And although I'm pretty sure it was the first time I played SMB 3, I thought it had already been released at that point. But, SMB 3 was released six months after the Game Boy. So far, searching Google has turned up no history of this event.

This event most likely started my love of attending conventions. Being in a room and seeing dozens video games, lots of other fans having lots of fun, and the newest technology was a great experience. Even though I was only seven years old.

In less than two weeks, I will be attending one of my favorite conventions, PAX East, for the fourth time. I'm sure as I walk in and see hundreds of video games, thousands of other fans having lots of fun, and the newest technology, it will remind me of my first "convention" experience ever.



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