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SUPER! BitCon VIP Packs Unveiled

VIPAs a special way to commemorate our first RGS-hosted gaming convention, we have devote special care and attention to creating the most unique promotional item we could devise. Born out of a love for retro and an appreciation for the art of the classic black-box Nintendo games, these limited edition VIP packs hold true to the vested spirit of our event. The SUPER! BitCon 2014 VIP packs cannot be bought — they can only be won. They will be given out variously via contests and giveaways on the web and television. Information about these contests will be available via the S!BC Facebook page, so like it and stay tuned!

What’s in the VIP pack?

  • One custom black box with striking artwork
  • One custom manual which includes event information and maps
  • One custom cart (this item was sourced from corroded, water-damaged, or otherwise non-functioning games — with that in mind, please be aware that each cart carries a varying amount of character and patina unique to itself)
  • Two commemorative VIP tickets, design inspired by the Nintendo PCB inside every grey cartridge
  • Two standard adult-entry freebie tickets
  • Two event t-shirt vouchers redeemable at the S!BC merch table
  • Two limited edition black S!BC event t-shirts
  • 80′s-inspired posters
  • One NES game sleeve

We are very excited to bring this promotion to our guests in the weeks leading up to our event — and we wish you good luck in winning one! Thanks to Uncle Tusk and Wal R’ Us Games for their help in putting together these beautiful works of art. We couldn’t have done it without their expertise.  Stay tuned to our S!BC sponsor, the Game Bros, for some unboxing goodness coming soon…

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Bylaws Updated To Standardize Community Sales And Exchange Posts

As of today, the RGS Bylaws have been updated with information about the new standards for sales posts within the community. The community was polled, 65 people responded, and these are the rules that crossed the magic 51% majority mark.  Find the bulleted list below or in the RGS Bylaws.

  • All listings of merchandise must have clear and distinguishable photographs showcasing merchandise and highlighting condition.
  • No negotiations of any form are permitted to be discussed publicly, but rather should be conducted via the Facebook private message system, email, or other form of communication.
  • Excessive “bumping” of sales posts will lead to removal of that post.  Coordinators will use discretion in the removal of such posts, but the general rule of thumb would be one “bump” message every three or so days.
  • Sales posts must contain an itemized list and have a price stated, both for goods being sold individually and goods listed as lots.  Listing items up for “best offer” or other such vague pricing schemes will lead to removal of the listing.
  • Merchandise for sale in the Community must be directly video game related.  Coordinators will use discretion in the removal of such unrelated posts, but common sense in posting should be an adequate guide.
  • Absolutely no linking to personal eBay, Craigslist, or any outside internet sales website site will be permitted.

Want to help someone out with selling on the Facebook groups?  Shoot them this simple link to get them started!

 

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‘Tip Top Secrets’ Signs On As SUPER! BitCon Closing Ceremonies Headliner

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SUPER! BitCon fast approaches, and one of the things people keep asking us about is what exactly will go down at the closing ceremonies and after-party. Convention after-parties generally follow a formula – and with good reason: it’s a recipe that works. Complete with a costume and cosplay masquerade and contest, stand-up comedian, and band: this S!BC after-party will be an epic way to unwind after a long day of entertainment, bartering, and wheelin–n-dealin’.

So you must be wondering – who’s the headliner band?

Oklahoma’s very own Tip Top Secrets.

Specializing in an eclectic fusion of pop/electronic/psychedelic/punk, Tip Top Secrets also has a few chiptune gems up their sleeves as well. Check out tracks like Candy Coatings and Massacre on Baltic Ave from their recent album Go to Disneyland for ample evidence of their circuit bending, electronic brilliance. With 8-bit inspired tracks on the horizon, this looks to be a thrilling presence to grace our SUPER! BitCon stage.

Check out their work now, pick up a CD (or digital download) of their latest album, and get ready to bang heads and mosh pits with Oklahoma’s finest indie rock talents in March.

After all, we hear that extended Game Gear sessions really prepare the finger joints to throw the horns. \m/

Don’t forget to stay tuned to the SUPER! BitCon website and like the Facebook Page to keep up on the latest S!BC news!

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The State of the Group

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I’m continually amazed at the ripple effects that can occur as a result of a snap decision.  After selling a bunch of my old video game stuff on Craigslist when I moved from a house to a studio apartment, I was struck by the enormous amount of replies each ad got.  Having been a retro video game fan since the games were new, the idea of helping to organize these folks in a way that puts us all together in a functional manner was appealing.  Knowing I could never do it alone, I put up another Craigslist ad…

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We made a Facebook group, bought a domain name, and had our first meet-up.  Several of those founding members are still active in organizing group functions and online content to this very day!

As meet-up attendance began to grow from month-to-month and members had begun driving longer and longer distances to attend, the group made a leap from a city-wide structure to a state-wide one.  We were then able to network with the ladies and gentlemen of our hobby all over Oklahoma, which made acquiring games for our collections, meeting friends with similar interests, and in some cases igniting romances possible with people all over the state.  And then it kept growing.  Texas grew so fast that it out-paced Oklahoma.  Kansas is on a steady incline as well.

The RGS has many members that do not use Facebook (some due to privacy concerns, others due to simply not caring about Facebook).  Despite not having exact numbers on the amount of people who consider themselves members of the RGS, we do have a couple of metrics to get an idea of our group’s reach.

Naturally, Facebook groups help. By the end of the summer, we are on pace to top 1000 group members collectively on our Facebook groups.  But what does this mean, exactly?  There are two types of Facebook social networking functions for groups like ours.  One is “Pages”, which we do have.  You can “like” a page and get updates from it, and post to a section of it.  It is not user friendly from the information consumer side, though.  Participation is very limited.  Many people will like a page just to get it in their profile (for example, “Rosco Raccoon likes Contra”).  Groups work differently, though – they are active hubs of information exchange similar to forums, and to a lesser extent, chat rooms.  I look at it this way:

Pages = like it and walk away

Groups = active participants

The amount of Facebook active participation for the RGS is enormous and growing – with trades, discussions, and photos flowing forth on a regular basis.  It’s just the thing we were hoping for when the group first started.

The other metric we can use to gauge reach is our website.  We re-launched it in March with a complete overhaul and a fresh WordPress back-end.  Since that time we’ve had 80,000+ hits on the site.  A full 22% of that lands on the homepage, with the rest being split primarily between the videos, individual articles, and Exchange.  As our content stream grows, we may eventually outgrow WordPress – or at least its ability to sort content in its default settings.  We are actively seeking volunteer web developers who can help us continue to mold the site into something that works well for our members and focuses on usability and stability.

We’ve heard interest from a few other states on getting RGS operations up and running there.  Good news!  We’re now scouting for RGS coordinators to help expand to new areas and continue to grow this retro gamer network and maximize the utility of our members.

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Yes, utility – I’m talking about our burgeoning Outreach operations!  Since the RGS began helping out in our local communities, we’ve built a home with Habitat for Humanity, adopted a street, bagged food at the Food Bank, set up Wii Sports for a morning at a retirement center, and hosted a game-a-thon to benefit Hotdogs for the Homeless in Oklahoma (our 2nd Annual HftH Game-a-thon will be held this coming Labor Day weekend).  Outreach is a fantastic way to give back to our communities and spend some time with our fellow RGS members outside of the meet-up “party” atmosphere.  It’s one of the features of this group that really sets us apart from other enthusiast sites (that mostly exist online).  The difference the RGS makes in our communities really makes me proud of the giving spirit of all of our members.

Then there are the meet-ups – where we are averaging around 20 attendees at each.  In the early days it would be maybe three of us.  At our largest gatherings we can top 30+.  The meet-ups have always been the “gateway drug” to RGS membership.  Indeed, many people will come for the free pizza and end up becoming an active member in trading, discussion, and Outreach.  The meet-ups will always be free, also – that is something that will never change (except for meet-ups at restaurants, obviously).  When an RGS member opens his or her home to members for a night of fun and trade haggling, the food will always be paid-for courtesy of the RGS floating budget (or personal funds of the RGS staff).  It’s a standard we have held since the group began – meet-ups should be open for everyone, even if they’re only there for the free meal.

To that end, we have considered the option of sponsorships of the RGS to cover cost of pizza and soda for our meet-ups.  This group will never be a “moneymaker” in the traditional sense, for two reasons: (1) that’s not the model that RGS members have built and (2) that was never the intent anyways.  Sponsorship deals are tricky, though – some might not want any negative press about their business posted to RGS groups, or others might want to spam links to their products on our website.  There are potential problems.  What the RGS staff can promise, though, is this: we will never stifle respectful speech about a company or a product, no matter the content, for any reason.  This includes instances where that constructive criticism is about a (potential) sponsor.  The extent to which RGS Bylaws limit speech in “Community” posts is only about courtesy – and nothing more.  Some have accused RGS Community moderators of censoring “free speech” in the past in pursuit of sponsorships – but that has never been the case.  We are open to sponsorships, yes, but enforcement of the Bylaws and pursuit of cost coverage are not mutually exclusive.   Our intent in enforcing the Bylaws is to keep the community clean – which is welcoming not only to potential group sponsors, but to potential group members as well. [note: if you’re interested in a sponsorship, just shoot me an email]

That said, the big avenue of cost coverage on the RGS horizon is our March 2014 convention, SUPER! BitCon.  Profit potential on this venture should make the RGS solvent for a year’s worth of meet-ups for all groups plus down-payments for SUPER! Bitcon 2015.  With the help of RGS volunteers to make S!BC a success, we can effectively fund our entire group function with a single event held annually.  Sponsorships to cover our meet-up costs would be a huge boost for group activities, but a single event to cover operating costs for a full year would be monumental.

When I originally proposed the idea of this group to my then-girlfriend, Aimee, I envisioned a group of a dozen or so members that would get together for game sessions once a month or so.  Almost three years (and one wedding) later my wife and I (with massive help from David Sollars, Micah Heath, and David Chauncey Clothier) have seen this grow well beyond what I could have ever imagined.  The Retro Gamers Society was never destined to be my little gamer circle – the community nature of the hobby wouldn’t allow for that.  With all of you being so enthusiastic about trades, meet-ups, Outreach, and all of the other things the RGS facilitates, this society has become something so much more.  I’m proud to be a part of it.  And I’m proud to call you all friends.  It’s been quite the ride, but well worth the work.  The Retro Gamers Society wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for the epic community that powers it.

You folks are awesome.

And you should feel awesome.

See you at SGC this weekend! ♦

Brandon Cole Phillips

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Welcome New Members From The Sunflower State!

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The Retro Gamers Society is excited to have expanded into the great state of Kansas!  With many members along the Missouri border and in the Topeka and Wichita areas, it was only a matter of time until the RGS would have to expand north into friendly territory.  We’re excited about the influx of new members we’ve been adding and want to extend a warm welcome into our rapidly growing group.  Stay tuned to the Facebook Group for news on when the first meet-up will take place, and be sure to hit up the Exchange for trades and sales in your area.