|Posted by Rob Maerz on August 13, 2015 at 12:30 AM|
I originally posted this to the forum on ClassicArcadeGaming.com and thought it would be appropriate as a blog posted to my web site. These are some thoughts coming away from the ReplayFX expo that was held in Pittsburgh July 30 - August 2, 2015. Be sure to view the walk through video I did on my YouTube channel TheRetrocade.
Thursday and Sunday are the best days to attend. I'm guessing people who are traveling aren't getting to the expo until Friday at the earliest and Sunday is also a travel day. Plus, the pinball tournament is over by Saturday night so all the machines are available to play on Sunday.
I attended the event hoping to play uncommon/rare video arcade games and pinball. I got to play a lot of pinball on Sunday since the tournament was over. I didn't think there was enough uncommon video games on the floor to keep me interested for 4 days of the event. The games I played the most were Asteroids, Black Widow, Bosconian, Star Castle, The Pit and Crazy Climber. I think by Friday night I was tired of playing the same games over and over again with the exception of Black Widow which I played more of on Saturday and Sunday.
Understand that I didn't attend this event to play Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Man, Galaga et al the common games that I could play at home. I gave them (ReplayFX) some feedback on Twitter recommending that more uncommon video games would be welcome.
If I were to do it over again I would do this: travel to Hopewell Township on Thursday and play at the PA Coin-Op Hall of Fame all day Thursday and Friday (they really have enough games to keep me busy for two days). Then travel to Pittsburgh late Friday afternoon and get a discounted evening pass (after 8:30 PM) to ReplayFX for Friday night for $20. Buy another discounted evening pass for $20 for Saturday night and buy an all day pass for $25 for Sunday. That's a $30 savings per person versus paying for the full 4 day event pass.
The wife and kids and I did the Duquesne Incline which in my opinion was a waste of time. You can get some awesome photos of Pittsburgh (shown in my YouTube video) while you're up there but other than that there's nothing else to do.
As far as food goes there's a restaurant called Crystals that is a few blocks from the convention center that is really good although their menu is small. They have a concession stand at the convention center but if memory serves food was available on Saturday and Sunday only. And as you can expect the food is crap like hot dogs, chicken fingers and french fries.
As far as lodging goes I stayed at the Hampton Inn which is a block from the convention center (but really you have to walk an equivalent of 2 blocks to get to the entrance of the convention center). They serve hot breakfast each morning and they have an indoor pool (didn't use) and whirlpool (used). There's also a Westin which is connected to the convention center.
If you're thinking about going to Pinball Perfection while you're in Pittsburgh I would say don't bother. They have a lot of machines there but there are enough machines at ReplayFX to keep you busy. I did a trip to Pittsburgh 5 years ago to visit Pinball Perfection and my son and I were the only ones there and as a result they left half the machines turned off.
I would say the same for another place called Games N At that I visited while in Pittsburgh 5 years ago: don't bother if you are already attending the expo.
Overall I thought ReplayFX was a good show but unless they get some more uncommon video games there I will have my fill in the course of one full Sunday admission and 1 or 2 discounted evening passes.
Hope this helps as a reference for those that plan on attending future ReplayFX events. For me, the highlight of the trip was the PA Coin-op Hall of Fame. If you're going to make the trip, make some time out there.