The Parthenon

Retro video game convention warped into downtown Huntington

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Gage+Ross%2C+freshman+Chemistry+major+%28left%29+and+Devin+Hankins%2C+Freshman+Radio%2FTV+Major+%28right%29+check+out+the+merchandise+at+the+Retro+Video+game+Convention+at+the+Big+Sandy+Superstore+Arena+on+Saturday.
Gage Ross, freshman Chemistry major (left) and Devin Hankins, Freshman Radio/TV Major (right) check out the merchandise at the Retro Video game Convention at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena on Saturday.

Gage Ross, freshman Chemistry major (left) and Devin Hankins, Freshman Radio/TV Major (right) check out the merchandise at the Retro Video game Convention at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena on Saturday.

Ryan Fischer

Ryan Fischer

Gage Ross, freshman Chemistry major (left) and Devin Hankins, Freshman Radio/TV Major (right) check out the merchandise at the Retro Video game Convention at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena on Saturday.

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Vintage Video Games came to Huntington, West Virginia over the weekend and the turnout beat expectations.

Born and raised in Wayne County, West Virginia, Power Up Vintage Video Game Convention creator, Ben Durfee, saw the potential of his “almost” hometown.

Power Up 2015, in its second year, was much more than last year’s convention located in the small back rooms of the Big Sandy Super Store Arena

“It’s about triple the size it was.” Durfee said. “If you go back into the panel room, there are three other adjacent rooms next to it, we were packed into that. It got really hot in there. It was sweaty and stinky. We had to upgrade the space a little this year.”

Marshall University alumni, Glen Brogan, works from his Charleston, West Virginia home. Having graduated from Marshall’s School of Art and Design in 2007, majoring in Graphic Design, the convention was a wonderful place for him to display and sell his work.

Having attended last year’s convention, Brogan was happy to see the number of supporters grow and hopes the trend continues in the years to come.

“Last year they had a really good turn out so I’m glad this year they got a space to accommodate more people.” Brogan said. “I just want to see it keep going how it is. I think it’s great, like I said, they’ve had a great turnout and I just want to keep seeing the same thing every year.”

“Hopefully some day we’ll move over to the arena and a bigger game room. If I can get a room full of arcades and pin-ball machines, I would love that so much.””

— Ben Durfee

Durfee was able to use his local connections within the video game community to seek vendors for the convention and others were brought on by word of mouth. Keeping local businesses in the mix was important to Durfee.

“Honestly I think Huntington is the perfect little hub city.” Durfee said. “We are a four hour drive from Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Columbus.”

Marshall University student, Alex Wriston, was pleased with his first experience at Power Up and the local video game scene.

“It was a fantastic experience and it felt like a really good environment for gamers in the Huntington community to be able to come out and be around people they are used to being around.” Wriston said.

The future of Power Up seems bright as the positive atmosphere of the convention was felt within moments of walking through the doors.

Durfee hopes to expand Power Up. “ I want to grow as much as I possibly can. Hopefully some day we’ll move over to the arena and a bigger game room. If I can get a room full of arcades and pin-ball machines, I would love that so much.”

Ryan Fischer
Kelsie can be reached at [email protected]

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