In the early 2000s, Ricky Henry was a regular at CinciClassic, an annual swap meet for retro or “classic” gamers (fans of video games from the ’80s and ’90s). Although the original Classic ended in 2006, Henry says the public appetite for retro gaming has only grown in the years that followed. “Nintendo Classics are selling out everywhere and people are wearing Super Mario 8-bit shirts,” he says. “Retro gaming is getting bigger and bigger.”
Last year Henry, his wife Jeni, and long-time friend Matt Beischel were granted permission from the Classic’s original organizer to revive the event. “It’s a bit of a reboot, a rebranding if you will,” Henry says. “There’s some familiarity, but we’re also doing things on a whole next level.” CinciClassic 2019 will feature retro consoles, arcade games, and pinball machines, as well as vendors, tournaments, panels with industry professionals, and a handheld gaming museum.
Henry stresses that the convention, much like classic gaming itself, is an all-ages event. “Everybody knows how to play Pac-Man, everybody knows how to play Super Mario Brothers,” Henry says. “Bring your kids, sit down, and play games that you played as a kid with them. That’s the kind of atmosphere we want to create.”
CinciClassic, Sat May 18, 11 am–8pm
Adult admission: $10, children under 12: free