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Whatever happened to PhillyClassic?


Propane13

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Hi!

 

I moved to Philly this year, and have tried digging around on the internet to find out of Philly Classic still happens.

Apparently, it seems that it hasn't happened in awhile. Is it ever coming back? Any idea why it was canceled (lack of participation)?

Thought it's worth a small discussion so I can get informed. :)

 

-John

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Hi!

 

I moved to Philly this year, and have tried digging around on the internet to find out of Philly Classic still happens.

Apparently, it seems that it hasn't happened in awhile. Is it ever coming back? Any idea why it was canceled (lack of participation)?

Thought it's worth a small discussion so I can get informed. :)

 

-John

 

I think the name changed to VGXPO: http://eventsforgamers.com/eventpage/vgxpo

 

Chris

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The nutshell, from what I remember of it all...

 

PhillyClassic's organizers decided they wanted to go with a more broad appeal, and created VGXpo.

 

VGXpo was teamed with the local news stations to promote it, who helped to change the focus of the event from classic gaming to modern gaming.

 

The venue change basically forced the vendors who had come in the past to not be able to attend, as the price was too high.

 

The following year, VGXpo tried to fix that with a special area and special cost for the vendors. That area was now called RetroCon.

 

The show continued more or less in this form until last year, when a second show was created seemingly only to confuse people as to which show was which. It appears both shows cannibalized each other's markets, and the competition caused both shows to fail.

 

Since then VGXpo appears to be on hiatus.

 

...that's about as unbiased of a full answer as I think you'll be able to get. A lot of people feel very strongly about the show, generally negatively due to either promises that went unfulfilled (on things like attendance and whatnot) or just the general thought / belief that the show had strayed SO far from it's classic roots and that was unforgivable.

 

I really wonder what PhillyClassic would look like today if it was still being held.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was a great show! Dont get me started im still burned by the VGXPO

 

Agreed. I was terribly bummed when I went to VGXPO last year and only saw a handful of classic gaming tables (and it seemed like only a fraction of those were dedicated to Atari...).

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is an awful lot of misinformation in this thread.

 

PhillyClassic got too big for David Newman to finance out of his own pocket, and with a lack of sponsors available to help offset the upfront costs, David pulled the plug. It got to the point that it required upwards of $30,000 to get that show off the ground each year between expo hall rental, advertising, etc. Granted, the money always came back, but PhillyClassic never did better than breaking even.

 

Things took a wrong turn when David let the PhillyClassic name, etc. go to Ed Fleming, who is the person that let everything go down the toilet. Ed had this grand idea to make PhillyClassic the U.S. version of the Tokyo Game Show, and that is when the focus changed. Ed made such a sham of the name that David & Mark Wolfe got the PhillyClassic name/rights back, and Ed went on to create vgXpo....which has been a complete failure. The vgXpo shows have had ZERO focus. vgXpo tries to be everything to everyone, and doesn't do any of it well. Plus, Ed pretty much lost all credibility in the gaming community after his fiasco at PAX got broadcast all over the web several years ago. http://www.penny-arcade.com/2007/8/29/

 

Ed did partner up with NBC affiliates and tried to put shows in Texas and D.C. That started off as an extension of the old NBC Techfest that was held annually in Philly, but the NBC events ended up becoming the NBC Consumerfest and it lost all of its focus on electronics. The change in focus was barely communicated prior to the Texas event. I'm sure Curt Vendel can confirm what a disaster the Texas event was. He took the first 100 Flashback 2's off the production line for sale at that event, and if memory serves, he sold less than 10. After all of the work we put into FB/FB2, the FB Engineering Team was stoked about the FB2 debut, and I will never forget that call from Curt on the show floor when he was describing what an abortion that event was. He sounded like someone just kicked him in the balls. The Atari booth was placed next to a booth for a company that makes wedding cakes. Al ended up buying the FB2's for the AtariAge Store so Curt didn't have to haul them all back to NY.

 

PhillyClassic and vgXpo are NOT the same thing. Also, there is this story that keeps getting floated about Chuck Whitby & his involvement in PhillyClassic. PC was not his "baby." David Newman was the founder of PhillyClassic and he was the one who made it happen, not Chuck, so let's stop giving credit to someone who has not earned it. (Dan, I don't mean to single you out on that. I keep hearing Chuck's name mentioned over and over with PC and it just isn't true. During the four years I assisted David Newman with the show, I never saw Chuck Whitby involved in anything other than an attendee or exhibitor.) PhillyClassic did NOT become Too Many Games.

Edited by mstulir
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my bad sorry, I thought Chuck was doing it back then and then either made into toomany games or East coast game Expo.

 

 

There is an awful lot of misinformation in this thread.

 

PhillyClassic got too big for David Newman to finance out of his own pocket, and with a lack of sponsors available to help offset the upfront costs, David pulled the plug. It got to the point that it required upwards of $30,000 to get that show off the ground each year between expo hall rental, advertising, etc. Granted, the money always came back, but PhillyClassic never did better than breaking even.

 

Things took a wrong turn when David let the PhillyClassic name, etc. go to Ed Fleming, who is the person that let everything go down the toilet. Ed had this grand idea to make PhillyClassic the U.S. version of the Tokyo Game Show, and that is when the focus changed. Ed made such a sham of the name that David & Mark Wolfe got the PhillyClassic name/rights back, and Ed went on to create vgXpo....which has been a complete failure. The vgXpo shows have had ZERO focus. vgXpo tries to be everything to everyone, and doesn't do any of it well. Plus, Ed pretty much lost all credibility in the gaming community after his fiasco at PAX got broadcast all over the web several years ago. http://www.penny-arcade.com/2007/8/29/

 

Ed did partner up with NBC affiliates and tried to put shows in Texas and D.C. That started off as an extension of the old NBC Techfest that was held annually in Philly, but the NBC events ended up becoming the NBC Consumerfest and it lost all of its focus on electronics. The change in focus was barely communicated prior to the Texas event. I'm sure Curt Vendel can confirm what a disaster the Texas event was. He took the first 100 Flashback 2's off the production line for sale at that event, and if memory serves, he sold less than 10. After all of the work we put into FB/FB2, the FB Engineering Team was stoked about the FB2 debut, and I will never forget that call from Curt on the show floor when he was describing what an abortion that event was. He sounded like someone just kicked him in the balls. The Atari booth was placed next to a booth for a company that makes wedding cakes. Al ended up buying the FB2's for the AtariAge Store so Curt didn't have to haul them all back to NY.

 

PhillyClassic and vgXpo are NOT the same thing. Also, there is this story that keeps getting floated about Chuck Whitby & his involvement in PhillyClassic. PC was not his "baby." David Newman was the founder of PhillyClassic and he was the one who made it happen, not Chuck, so let's stop giving credit to someone who has not earned it. (Dan, I don't mean to single you out on that. I keep hearing Chuck's name mentioned over and over with PC and it just isn't true. During the four years I assisted David Newman with the show, I never saw Chuck Whitby involved in anything other than an attendee or exhibitor.) PhillyClassic did NOT become Too Many Games.

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PhillyClassic got too big for David Newman to finance out of his own pocket, and with a lack of sponsors available to help offset the upfront costs, David pulled the plug. It got to the point that it required upwards of $30,000 to get that show off the ground each year between expo hall rental, advertising, etc. Granted, the money always came back, but PhillyClassic never did better than breaking even.

 

Things took a wrong turn when David let the PhillyClassic name, etc. go to Ed Fleming, who is the person that let everything go down the toilet. Ed had this grand idea to make PhillyClassic the U.S. version of the Tokyo Game Show, and that is when the focus changed. Ed made such a sham of the name that David & Mark Wolfe got the PhillyClassic name/rights back, and Ed went on to create vgXpo....which has been a complete failure. The vgXpo shows have had ZERO focus. vgXpo tries to be everything to everyone, and doesn't do any of it well. Plus, Ed pretty much lost all credibility in the gaming community after his fiasco at PAX got broadcast all over the web several years ago. http://www.penny-arcade.com/2007/8/29/

 

Sorry -- How I had understood it was that Ed Flemming worked as one of the organizers of PhillyClassic before the change happened. I was under the impression that he still did hold the rights to the name and whatnot, but had just opted to not utilize it. The rest of what I wrote I think is pretty correct.

 

If you want to go to an event now costing upwards of $30,000 to get off the group that has successfully not really done anything but break even, come join me at the Midwest Gaming Classic ;) I definitely know how frustrating that can be -- but we're not planning on pulling a VGXpo, well, ever.

 

Seriously though, PhillyClassic looked to be the neatest show out there whenever it was that they were last held. I was starting to save to go to one when VGXpo was announced, and I've never even considered attending it. PhillyClassic had that 'it' factor that very few shows seem to achieve.

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yeah back in the early days of trade shows the two good ones were Philly Classic and Cinciclassic(I wanted to attend cinciclassic because it seemed like to be a good show but didn't have the money,cinci had thier shows in vacant stores in a minimall as remember)

the closest thing to philly or cinci I would say either toomanygames,CCAG or PRGE(I didn't say mine,because we're still working out the bugs on it,even though we do get a good group in each year, MGC went beyond what philly classic or cini classic due to the size)

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Thanks for sharing, everyone.

 

I can make out a few things in summary:

1) some "changes" that would have been for the better ended up causing the demise of Philly Classic

2) A lot of people really had respect for Philly Classic (which is why I wanted to go).

3) If a classic gaming show ever came back to the Philly area, people would probably be interested.

 

I really hope that something comes up in this area, a sort of Philly Classic Reborn.

Even if it started out small, it would be interesting to see what could be done.

It sounds like a lot of classic gamers are here, and a gathering could be spectacularly fun.

 

-John

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  • 1 year later...

yeah back in the early days of trade shows the two good ones were Philly Classic and Cinciclassic(I wanted to attend cinciclassic because it seemed like to be a good show but didn't have the money,cinci had thier shows in vacant stores in a minimall as remember)

the closest thing to philly or cinci I would say either toomanygames,CCAG or PRGE(I didn't say mine,because we're still working out the bugs on it,even though we do get a good group in each year, MGC went beyond what philly classic or cini classic due to the size)

 

CinciClassic was fun but it was small. I went to three consecutive CincyClassics and all three were held in a different location. One was in an Irish themed house/lodge. I don't remember the year but could easily look it up because Michigan State beat OSU in football that same day (maybe 1998) when the Buckeyes were rated #1. I think the next year it was held at the office buildings of one of the organizers. They had a fairly large open room in the middle of the building. The third time I went, it was held in an empty store-front at what I think used to be the Forest Fair Mall (On I-275 an exit or two west of I-75). The mall was fairly vacant at the time.

 

Since the groups were smallish (especially at the first two), it seemed like a (whole) bunch of friends getting together for a good time. I won three of the four contests. I still have all of the prizes. A brand new "Touch Me" (atari's version of Simon), a sealed Meteorites (for the 5200), and a new Masterplay interface (for the 5200).

 

I took some things to sell/trade at the third (for me) CincyClassic. I know I didn't sell too much but remember a guy who gave me a really sad story about only having $4 but really wanted a game that I had priced at $7 (I don't remember what it was - maybe Pengo). I told him that I'd go ahead and sell it to him. He must have accidentally reached into the wrong pocket because he pulled out a few 20s instead of 4 ones. Then he reached into the other pocket and pulled out $4 and gave it to me. Sheesh.

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The third time I went, it was held in an empty store-front at what I think used to be the Forest Fair Mall (On I-275 an exit or two west of I-75). The mall was fairly vacant at the time.

 

That's awesome! I had no idea, or else I probably would have found a way to get to that one. Forest Fair Mall has a LOT of gaming history to me -- my Uncle and Aunt live really close to it, and I remember going when it opened, it had an AWESOME device that moved pool balls around (I would LOVE to see a picture of that thing), and a huge indoor "Time Out" that featured a Ferris Wheel and other such cool things. I remember thinking that I was really in heaven in that place when I first went in there.

 

The mall has been virtually dead for well over a decade, which there are lots of reasons for that, but it's too bad. Every time we went to Cincinnati I would beg to go there, with probably my last trip there being in 2005ish (I don't know if I've gone to Cincinnati to visit them since then, one of their daughters moved to Kenosha so we see them more frequently up here now).

 

In 1996ish, it's the mall that I first found a Jaguar console. I didn't buy it, but my subsequent research would lead directly to my purchase of a console, a bunch of games, and even attending my first show -- Jagfest 99. A few years later, probably around 2000, at a store that had a little bit of everything but I forget it's name, they had a whole stack of SNES games brand new. A bunch of them turned out to be ultra, ultra rare games too, and the money that I made in selling them led directly to us thinking that the GOAT Store would work.

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There is an awful lot of misinformation in this thread.

 

PhillyClassic got too big for David Newman to finance out of his own pocket, and with a lack of sponsors available to help offset the upfront costs, David pulled the plug. It got to the point that it required upwards of $30,000 to get that show off the ground each year between expo hall rental, advertising, etc. Granted, the money always came back, but PhillyClassic never did better than breaking even.

 

Things took a wrong turn when David let the PhillyClassic name, etc. go to Ed Fleming, who is the person that let everything go down the toilet. Ed had this grand idea to make PhillyClassic the U.S. version of the Tokyo Game Show, and that is when the focus changed. Ed made such a sham of the name that David & Mark Wolfe got the PhillyClassic name/rights back, and Ed went on to create vgXpo....which has been a complete failure. The vgXpo shows have had ZERO focus. vgXpo tries to be everything to everyone, and doesn't do any of it well. Plus, Ed pretty much lost all credibility in the gaming community after his fiasco at PAX got broadcast all over the web several years ago. http://www.penny-arcade.com/2007/8/29/

 

Ed did partner up with NBC affiliates and tried to put shows in Texas and D.C. That started off as an extension of the old NBC Techfest that was held annually in Philly, but the NBC events ended up becoming the NBC Consumerfest and it lost all of its focus on electronics. The change in focus was barely communicated prior to the Texas event. I'm sure Curt Vendel can confirm what a disaster the Texas event was. He took the first 100 Flashback 2's off the production line for sale at that event, and if memory serves, he sold less than 10. After all of the work we put into FB/FB2, the FB Engineering Team was stoked about the FB2 debut, and I will never forget that call from Curt on the show floor when he was describing what an abortion that event was. He sounded like someone just kicked him in the balls. The Atari booth was placed next to a booth for a company that makes wedding cakes. Al ended up buying the FB2's for the AtariAge Store so Curt didn't have to haul them all back to NY.

 

PhillyClassic and vgXpo are NOT the same thing. Also, there is this story that keeps getting floated about Chuck Whitby & his involvement in PhillyClassic. PC was not his "baby." David Newman was the founder of PhillyClassic and he was the one who made it happen, not Chuck, so let's stop giving credit to someone who has not earned it. (Dan, I don't mean to single you out on that. I keep hearing Chuck's name mentioned over and over with PC and it just isn't true. During the four years I assisted David Newman with the show, I never saw Chuck Whitby involved in anything other than an attendee or exhibitor.) PhillyClassic did NOT become Too Many Games.

 

wow after much digging around I found my old 2001 Phillyclassic name tag!! I think the first 100 tickets sold got your name on an Intellivision cartridge!!

post-21897-0-17329800-1329656065_thumb.jpg

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The third time I went, it was held in an empty store-front at what I think used to be the Forest Fair Mall (On I-275 an exit or two west of I-75). The mall was fairly vacant at the time.

 

That's awesome! I had no idea, or else I probably would have found a way to get to that one. Forest Fair Mall has a LOT of gaming history to me -- my Uncle and Aunt live really close to it, and I remember going when it opened, it had an AWESOME device that moved pool balls around (I would LOVE to see a picture of that thing), and a huge indoor "Time Out" that featured a Ferris Wheel and other such cool things. I remember thinking that I was really in heaven in that place when I first went in there.

 

The mall has been virtually dead for well over a decade, which there are lots of reasons for that, but it's too bad. Every time we went to Cincinnati I would beg to go there, with probably my last trip there being in 2005ish (I don't know if I've gone to Cincinnati to visit them since then, one of their daughters moved to Kenosha so we see them more frequently up here now).

 

In 1996ish, it's the mall that I first found a Jaguar console. I didn't buy it, but my subsequent research would lead directly to my purchase of a console, a bunch of games, and even attending my first show -- Jagfest 99. A few years later, probably around 2000, at a store that had a little bit of everything but I forget it's name, they had a whole stack of SNES games brand new. A bunch of them turned out to be ultra, ultra rare games too, and the money that I made in selling them led directly to us thinking that the GOAT Store would work.

 

 

I have a bunch of memories from that mall also. I had a summer internship in Cincinnati in 1990 and went to Forest Fair fairly often. I bought a Turbo Grafx there. The mall was pretty vacant by the time the 2000 CincyClassic was held. I know they tried to rebrand the mall a couple of times. They tried to turn it into more of an entertainment center with bars and restaurants at one time and a mall full of outlet stores another. I'm not sure what's there now but I know even the Bigs (Grocery) store that had been there since the beginning is gone now.

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wow after much digging around I found my old 2001 Phillyclassic name tag!! I think the first 100 tickets sold got your name on an Intellivision cartridge!!

 

I coincidentally found my Intellivision cart ticket last night too! I'm trying to reorganize my instruction booklets and ran across it in a box filled with buttons and other small items.

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