LincCon offers gamers a place to play this weekend in Merrill
Gaming enthusiasts of all ages can get their fix in Merrill this weekend as the 8th annual LincCon retro gaming convention brings the goods to Les & Jim’s.
LincCon organizer Josh Jaeger, of Merrill, had been helping with a retro gaming event in Milwaukee for several years when he decided to bring that type of event to Central Wisconsin.
Jaeger, 39, grew up with Atari and progressed to Tandy and Commodore gaming. But, the original Nintendo is what got him hooked on video games for life. As an adult, he’s become an avid collector of vintage video games.
In 2011, Jaeger put on the first LinCon in Merrill.
“I pulled out all my crap that I have in the attic,” he said. That “crap” includes 72 gaming systems and over 1,500 games.
The event steadily outgrew smaller venues and has been held at Les & Jim’s for the past five years, taking up progressively more of the ballroom. LincCon attracted 250 people last year.
“I think if you create something really cool, people will come here for it,” he said.
Jeager and his staff set up 55 gaming consoles, representing the history of home video game systems, from Atari to XBox and everything in between.
LincCon has expanded beyond video games to include board games, role playing games, card games and party games. LincCon is partnering with Board Wars this year to run the board gaming aspect of the weekend.
The weekend features tournaments and the opportunity to play video games from yesterday and today – from the original Atari 2600 to the latest in Virtual Reality gaming.
“I want it to become this all-encompassing gaming event,” Jaeger said. “There’s really a big smorgasbord of things going on.”
Jaeger also wants to provide a family friendly atmosphere where gamers of all ages can feel welcome. Parents who grew up with Nintendo can challenge their kids to a game of Donkey Kong or Mario Brothers.
“It’s cool to see people coming with their kids,” Jaeger said.
Jaeger and his team will be lugging a whole bunch of vintage gaming systems to LinCon, along with the proper (and very heavy) tube televisions they were designed for – Jaeger has almost 80 of those old TVs, which people are happy to give away these days.
“I get free ones all the time,” he said. “My crew hate it, having to move all those TVs.”
In addition to the lineup of game consoles, LincCon will also feature vintage arcade games and pinball machines.
Dozens of vendors from all over the Midwest will be bringing their wares to LincCon. A massive assortment of video, board and card games – both vintage and modern – will be for sale at LincCon, along with a cornucopia of collectibles.
LincCon will run Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 1-2, at Les & Jim’s. Admission is $8 per day or $12 for both days. Tickets are available at the door or through the LincCon-Game Convention Facebook page.