One third of the expo included various auditoriums for panels with distinguished speakers. Some of the speakers were legends from the 80s and 90s, others were retro game review celebs and historians from YouTube and various podcasts, while even others were modders and engineers in the scene.
Another third of the expo was a large free-play arcade, filled with classic games. 70 percent of the games were classics like Bubble Bobble, Popeye, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Star Wars, Tempest... you get the idea. Pure heaven. The other 30 percent were pinball machines. I get my fill of pinball in Seattle as it is, so I spent my time glued to cabinets when I was in the arcade. My son actually got his picture taken by the local paper, The Oregonian, playing a mini-version of Bubble Bobble (which he'd played on our 1200, naturally).
And the final third was for exhibitors - an area where tons of people were there to sell their vintage retro wares. It's fair to say that the majority of items for sale were Nintendo flavored. There were simply countless tables covered with SNES and NES carts to be had, some rare and some simply cheap (yay!). I picked up several carts I needed for at least half the cost you'd find on Ebay if not better (usually better). Bizarrely, at least to me, there was a huge contingency of Intellivision systems and carts to be found as well. I knew one guy growing up who had one. I was in total awe when I saw it in person as a kid as the Intellivision, as I remember it, featured voice for the first time in a home console game (it was in a baseball game). But as far as I thought the machine was pretty rare. Not in Portland, apparently. It was incredible. According to Wikipedia over 3 million were sold, which is actually pretty impressive and a bit better than the Colecovision. Live and learn, right? To be honest I was rather surprised at the relative scarcity of Sega Genesis and even Coleco machines at the event.
And then one vendor - only one, and I went to all of them - had some boxes on a table with the Amiga logo. My Spidey sense started to tingle as I got closer. Here was a shrink-wrapped box of some crappy Amiga games for some Christmas special promo. Hmph. Interesting, but no. Walking around to the other side of his setup, I nearly tripped over a large box with Amiga printed on the side. This box was at least up to my knee. The tape had been broken, so I peeked inside.
Original pink plastic was sheathed over an immaculate, pristine and white keyboard. What's this? Wait.. I lifted some styrofoam, and beneath was an Amiga 2000 HD, still in the Commodore logoed plastic bag. My Spidey sense was on full alert.
Suffice to say, at the end of the day the kind vendor walked the box to my car (pretty far away in underground parking) and slid it into the back hatch of my car, nice and snug for the trip back to Seattle three hours away.
Part of me wondered if, when I got home, the thing would be simply a case; a trashed motherboard covered in battery acid and mouse droppings; all of the innards removed, etc. Either way, I reasoned to myself, from what I saw I could at least get my money back if I so desired from a history fan wanting a nice keyboard and non-yellow case.
As soon as I got home (and turned on the Cubs playoff game) I started to pull parts out of the box piece by piece, removing them from their plastic. I couldn't believe it. The further I went, the better it got.
I had lucked into a never used, never exposed to normal air or sunlight, Amiga 2000 HD. The vendor told me the following story (there's always a story!).
He had met this guy who used to own a small computer retail business years ago in Eugene, Oregon. When that business folded, he had a lot of stock remaining, which he put into storage. He traded most of it to someone else for restaurant equipment. But, he still had some pieces left. The vendor I met bought the remaining stock, but honestly I don't think he realized what he had. I got one of two. The other, which I took a peek at, had somehow been exposed to the elements and showed signs of yellowing - pretty normal, but heavy duty nevertheless.
The following day, I carefully pulled the case off and even more carefully removed the motherboard (not a fun job). I did this to remove the battery, which was showing signs of leakage. I cleaned the motherboard of any acid dust particles (not much) and reassembled everything. I hooked up my 1084S monitor then fired it up.
It instantly awoke and came to life. For the very first time!
After cheering a bit, I installed AExplorer and then SysInfo 4, to get a better idea of what I was dealing with here. This 2000 HD has the following, from what I can tell:
- 40 MB SCSI Harddrive
- WB 2.04 installed to HD, and KS 2.04
- ECS chip. The original 2000 in 1987 was OCS. Wikipedia claims the 2000 was discontinued in 1991. Yet, this 2000 HD has chips inside it copyrighted 1992. The board has "rev 6" imprinted on it, which was the final revision series of the motherboard (aka Model C); I believe it to be the final rev made, the 6.4, as the assembly numbers are exactly the same as shown on the Big Book of Amiga Hardware. The cool thing about rev 6 2000s is that they came with 1MB of standard CHIP RAM (confirmed).
- A2091 SCSI harddrive controller
- Processor: email@example.comMhz, NTSC
It also has all of the original disks (unfortunately, no Workbench disks since everything was pre-installed on the HD) and the still-sealed warranty packet. I'm going to keep that sealed forever.
My only minor gripe is the fan is quite loud - and was designed that way. I've since been given some advice on a very nice inexpensive fan to swap it out and quiet things down, hopefully. Other than that, this thing is a sight to behold.
See for yourself.