Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo Recap

southern fried gameroom expo
Disclaimer: We were provided free passes courtesy of SFGE. All opinions expressed are 100% our own. 

Celeste and I try to hit up as many conventions as we can in and around the Atlanta area.  This past Saturday, we got the opportunity to check out the Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo, held at the lovely Renaissance-Waverly Hotel (the home of Anime Weekend Atlanta) from June 10-12.  The SFGE is a little different from the usual conventions we’ve hit up in the past in that it is, first and foremost, a gaming convention.  I’m not the world’s most hardcore gamer, especially since tabletop RPGs have sort of elbowed them out of my heart to make room for themselves, but I still look back fondly on my days as a dedicated player.

southern fried gameroom expo

Hundreds of arcade games were on display and free to play when we visited SFGE. The main show floor felt very reminiscent of the mysterious, dimly-lit arcades of my youth.  Back then, before the spread of the internet and the rise of the nerd community, arcade halls like that were a sort of mecca for gamers and geeks of all shapes and sizes, so the feelings of nostalgia are very strong with me.  In this age where arcades have almost completely disappeared from the collective consciousness, it was nice to reconnect with those feelings, even if it was only for a little while. 

Pinball had a very strong representation at SFGE- I would wager that more than half of the machines we saw were pinball, with only a few repeats of the same model. There were quite a few Ghostbusters machines, shiny and new from what I understand, gathered for the purposes of a tournament for which I was absolutely not qualified.

I’m no pinball wizard by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy a good round or two from time to time.  In fact, while touring the halls, one pinball machine in particular caught my eye: an old foe from days long past had risen from the depths, seeking revenge… 

southern fried gameroom expo godzilla pinball
southern fried gameroom expo

A grueling grudge match with Roland Emmerich’s late-nineties imposter monster ensued.  Alas, my pinball skills are a bit rusty, and GINO, with some help from conspirators Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno, won the day.  I intend to lick my wounds by rewatching a particular scene from Godzilla: Final Wars on repeat until I’m satisfied.

Better.

We stumbled across some of my favorite classic games, including Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Shadow Dancer, and Celeste and I got in quite a few rounds of Tekken 4 while we were at it.  It definitely scratched my itch for some retro gaming, but I was surprised there weren’t more fighting games on display, considering how competitive a scene Atlanta has.  Sure, there were a few MAME Arcade cabinets set up running some iteration of Street Fighter III or another and a Mortal Kombat 3 machine, but not a single Neo-Geo in sight!  Word to whoever provides the arcade cabinets for next year’s expo: I want to see some Fatal Fury and Metal Slug in there!  SNK represent! 

Other Atlanta conventions like DragonCon, Momocon, and AWA feature extensive dealer’s rooms and Artist’s Alleys, but that was not the case here at SFGE.  There were a few vendors set up, but nothing too elaborate.  A tabletop gaming area was also provided, though there was not a whole lot going on there when we checked it out; we might have simply missed the busy period.

There was more going on at SFGE than just games, of course.  An assortment of films were screened, including a number of gaming-related documentaries, but the highlight for me (considering I missed the actual showing) would have to be The Last Starfighter- a movie I loved as a kid and had nearly forgotten until it was brought up (over and over again) in Ernest Cline’s novels.  Lance Guest, Alex Rogan himself, was scheduled to appear for a Q&A as well.  That’s pretty awesome! 

southern fried gameroom expo
southern fried gameroom expo pinball

I was somewhat disheartened to learn that there was a wrestling show on Friday night.  I can’t keep missing these wrestling shows at conventions- I couldn’t get in to see DragonCon Wrestling last year, and now SFGE sneaks one past me.  There is no justice in this world!

There was not a whole lot of cosplay going on at SFGE, despite there being a Costume Contest that night.  I did spot an adorable Pac-Man and a few solid Final Fantasy cosplayers, but something tells me most people attending SFGE were there to play some games- an activity best done without thirty pounds of costume weighing one down.

So, the question begs- was SFGE fun?  Absolutely.  Considering the number of games available, there should be something there for anyone who considers themselves a gamer, old-school or new.  If you’re into that classic style of stand-up gaming, pinball in particular, you’d be out of your mind not to make time for this expo

Craft Wondrous Item: Dark Brotherhood Note

skyrim dark brotherhood note

Have I ever mentioned that Skyrim was my gateway drug into video games? Needless to say it's one of my favorite video games that I still enjoy playing. Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood quest line is one of the best and most infamous in the game, and it all begins with a mysterious note delivered to the Dragonborn that reads “We Know.” As a big fan of the Dark Brotherhood, I decided that a replica of that note might be something fun to create.

skyrim dark brotherhood

Here’s how to do it:

Supplies:

  • 8.5 x 11” white printer paper

  • Black & brown paint

  • Medium sized paintbrush

  • 3-4 bags of any black tea

  • Pen (something like a Micron or Faber Castell pen is best)

Steps:

Step 1. Gather your supplies and make some tea (really).

Step 2: Boil some water in a small pot. Once the water reaching boiling point, throw in about 3 of your tea bags, let them boil for about 4-5 minutes, then remove from your stove top. Feel free to actually make yourself a cup of tea with one of the tea bags before using them to on your paper.

Step  3: Place a few layers of paper towels underneath your 8.5 x 11” paper to avoid making a mess. 

Step 4: Once your tea bags have cooled down you should begin to discolor your paper, using the bags like sponges. I recommend dropping them once or twice for a nice darker stain/splatter effect in some places. Be sure to thoroughly cover the entire paper. 

Step 5: Carefully remove your tea stained paper from the paper towels and folder it in half 3 times. The folded up paper should easily fit in your hand.

Step 6: Take a hairdryer and dry the paper. You can also take a hair straighter to add some extra stiffness. Use these appliances with caution.

Step 7: Use your dry paintbrush and dab a bit of brown paint around the outer corners and fold creases of the paper. This step adds some extra depth to the “parchment” look of your paper.

Step 8: Once you've dried the paper it’s time to get messy. Cover the palm and fingers of your right hand with black acrylic paint. Don’t apply too thin of a layer or the handprint won’t transfer onto your paper very well. Once you’ve covered your hand in the paint, press your hand onto the paper to leave a black handprint.

Step 9: The next to last step is to add the text “We know.” I recommend writing the text lightly with a pencil before using your pen to write the final version.

Step 10: Frame your lovely gift from your local Dark Brotherhood and hail Sithis.