In show business, there's an old saying that a bad rehearsal leads to a great performance. This was certainly true for SC3's 10th anniversary party, held April 25, 2009, in Claremont, CA. Setup for this event was tricky. A snazzy new brickwork patio area was installed in our usual meeting place, but the construction ran long –workmen were busy fitting stones as late as the day before the event. That delayed our setup; we were moving arcade cabinets into place until the final minutes before the party began. Not only that, some of the machines weren't even working when we got started. Our movie screen got torn the night before the event. You'd think that after 10 years we'd have learned how to avoid these kinds of problems.
So that was the "bad rehearsal" part. But this performance ended up going off without a hitch, thanks largely to our friends Gary, Mitch, Jeff, Jason, Damon and Paul. Jason brought our dead cabinets back to life shortly before the event began. Paul brought additional machines, including Donkey Kong and the rarely-seen Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, while Damon brought crowd-pleasers Trog and The Act, an incredibly rare, modern laserdisc-style prototype game. Along with Jeff, they helped us transport and move cabinets into the proper positions just minutes before things got started. We jury-rigged a new screen that actually turned out to be easier to set up than the old one. It was a lot of work, but somehow all the pieces fell into place just as the attendees started to arrive.
And arrive they did! About 140 people showed up over the course of the night, by far the biggest crowd we've ever had. At one point, we estimate that 120 people were there at the same time. But there was plenty of fun for every one of those 120. The garage arcade was at capacity all night, and the spectators around Rock Band and The Act were densely packed. We reorganized the patio arcade this time, opening additional paths for the crowd and better exposing the projected MAME/Visual Pinball/emulator setup, which was hopping until the very end of the event. Ten classic console systems, plus one 1982 Tron VFD handheld, were set up for those who prefer their gaming on vintage hardware.
Speaking of vintage hardware, we were loaded with it for this event thanks to Mike from online auction site ChaseTheChuckwagon.com. Mike brought a huge pile of vintage games and systems, which were broken into several lots and raffled off to eager collectors. There's not enough room here to list every raffle item, but highlights included boxed Mystique games for the Atari 2600, a boxed 5200 setup, a Vectrex console, more classic computer hardware than you can shake a fastload cart at, and much, much more. But that wasn't all. Mike also brought a gaggle of giveaway items, which were available FREE to any interested collector. We're talking vintage Pong-type systems, PC games, controllers, loose carts, strategy guides and all kinds of other goodies. Collectors pored over the "Free Tree" all night long. Thanks for playing Santa Claus, Mike!
SC3 would also like to thank Peak Products, which provided free t-shirts and coupons for their deluxe Guitar Hero and Rock Band periperherals. We had some Peak guitars on hand for this event and they are NICE. Go check 'em out!
We also have to thank Twin Galaxies' Walter Day and Billy Mitchell, who lent their support to the event with the donation of several full-color, limited-edition SC3 posters and individually-numbered bottles of hot sauce. For those that don't know, Twin Galaxies has been the official scorekeeper for the world of video games and pinball since the 1980s. Walter Day is the founder and chief scorekeeper, and Billy Mitchell is the world champion of Pac-Man and countless other classic arcade games. (He also runs Rickey's World Famous Hot Sauce.) We're thrilled to have the support of these famous folks! The posters and sauces were given out to event attendees or raffled off, although one bottle was opened for the picnic area. Tasty!
Halfway through the event, the picnic area received another delicious treat: SC3's 10th birthday cake! As hard as it is to believe, our group turned 10 years old at the end of 2008. The cake featured a photo from the early days: Geoff and Robert almost literally bringing down the house while playing Dance Dance Revolution. SC3 started as a small group of about eight SoCal console collectors gathering together to swap Vectrex carts and play Combat. Now we're at 140 gamers, some of whom flew out from the East Coast to attend, clustering around dozens of coin-ops and consoles and belting out Rock Band tunes for hours on end. Thanks to all those who attended and especially those who donated to the Kitty Jar. We just about broke even this time. With your continued donations, SC3 will be around for another 10 years!
The next meeting will take place later this year. It's tentatively scheduled for the last week in September. As always, you should monitor our Future Meeting Page and Forums for details as they become available.
Some of our favorite photos are shown below. If you'd like to see more, a bunch more pics can be found here.