The arcade was so jam-packed with machines and bodies the only way to get around was to squirm and squeeze your way through – just the good old days
The arcade was so jam-packed with machines and bodies the only way to get around was to squirm and squeeze your way through – just the good old days

The Last Arcade's row of pinball tables had players lined up all night for silverball action
The Last Arcade's row of pinball tables had players lined up all night for silverball action

SC3 Invades The Last Arcade... Again!

You'd think there would be no surprises left.

Yes, you'd think that after eight years of organizing arcade parties like the one SC3 hosted April 26 at The Last Arcade on the Planet, everything would go smoothly. This was, after all, the fourteenth arcade party SC3 has put on since 2006, and the second at The Last Arcade – a facility already fully stocked with over fifty classic arcade cabinets. Most of the work necessary to set up the party was done before SC3 even got there, so what could go wrong?

Like always, it started with good intentions. Last year's event at The Last Arcade suffered from inadequate lighting in the outside area set aside for the trade tables. This year, we resolved to fix that by renting a huge lighted canopy in addition to our regular complement of tables and chairs. To acquire the big canopy, we used a different rental facility than last time. The deliveryman arrived – an hour late – but with the goods. He began to unload, but changed his mind. It was windy; he said he needed to go grab some sandbags to weigh down the canopy, and would be back in five minutes. Two hours later he still hadn't returned. No one answered our repeated phone calls – they'd just bailed on us, with making the delivery and without getting paid. It was the strangest thing ever to happen during SC3 setup. Here's a group that requested your business, scheduled a delivery, and has cash on hand to pay you. You load up your truck, make the trip to the site, and then just leave? Something about three nerdy guys standing around in classic videogame t-shirts must have spooked the guy.

So that left us with T-minus three hours and no tables or chairs, and just one smaller canopy we'd brought ourselves. We placed a panicked call to the rental place we used for the last event and asked them for an emergency delivery. Amazingly they came through. Then we got a hold of Kalan, who was already bringing his Dragon's Lair, and asked him to pack another canopy. Everything got there in time, and we finished setting up the console and trade area right about the time the first group of attendees arrived. Luckily we'd brought along some extra lights, so things were better illuminated than last time. So everything worked out, just not quite in the way we had envisioned. Let this be a lesson: when it really counts, rely only on the folks you know you can trust!

Luckily we have no shortage in that department. Juan, owner of The Last Arcade, is totally dedicated to making these events a success. He stayed at the arcade overnight so that he could have the maximum possible time to get the machines into shape. Spy Hunter, a new addition to the Arcade, wasn't fully functional until just before the event started, but Juan got it working in time. True, one or two other machines were down, but one or two out of over fifty 30-year old coin-ops is a phenomenal success rate. Mike K. from GameGavel.com was on hand, conducting another of the vintage game raffles that have become such an important mainstay of SC3 events. We'd also like to thank William who brought the TurboDuo and Neo Geo AES, along with a professional-grade studio monitor to display them in razor-sharp RGB glory. Jason B., who was out of town for the event, still contributed by loaning us two multicarts. We also can't forget Rik, whose '80s handhelds couldn't be set up this time due to the aforementioned snafus. But he did bring them, and we really appreciate it.

Despite some hiccups, this was the kind of event that SC3 is all about. About 175 attendees showed up to enjoy over 50 arcade cabs and pinball machines, and the over one-dozen vintage home consoles (and multi-title countertop arcade machine) we had set up outside. Several times we marveled at the usage the home consoles were getting. At most SC3 events there's at least one console that doesn't receive a lot of attention. This time it seemed like even the less-popular machines were getting a workout. We loved seeing that crowd of people gather around the Vectrex! Overall it was a fantastic group of people who shared our passion for all things gaming. Paraphrasing one of our favorite lines overheard at the event: "Clothes and fashions and that stuff will always go out of style. But games? Those are forever!" We couldn't have said it any better.

It seems like at every one of our events, a few folks ask us how often we host these parties, and are disappointed when we say there are only two per year. We take that as a compliment; we're glad you enjoy the events so much that you want more. And we wish we could do more, but organizing these really does take time and effort. That silly "real life" thing gets in the way too. But plans for the next SC3 party are already forming in our minds. The next one has yet to be scheduled, but if things work out as we expect, it'll be sometime around November in Claremont. Please keep an eye on this site and the Future Meeting Page for announcements.

Thanks again to The Last Arcade, GameGavel.com and everybody who attended – especially those who chipped in to our donation box! Those donations cover our electric bills and ensure we can keep SC3 going into the future! Hopefully any surprises that future brings will be only pleasant ones.


More Coverage

  • The arcade, reflected in the screen of a Commodore 1084 monitor.  It's like a window back to the '80s!
    The arcade, reflected in the screen of a Commodore 1084 monitor. It's like a window back to the '80s!

  • One row of the arcade during a rare moment when not all machines were occupied
    One row of the arcade during a rare moment when not all machines were occupied

  • Another arcade row.  That cluster of bodies in the back was typical of the night
    Another arcade row. That cluster of bodies in the back was typical of the night

  • See the colored dots in the background?  A totally awesome '90s-era LED vinyl mat.  Lighting tech doesn't get much cooler than this
    See the colored dots in the background? A totally awesome '90s-era LED vinyl mat. Lighting tech doesn't get much cooler than this

  • Outside the arcade, home consoles from the Atari era to Dreamcast were lined up and ready to play
    Outside the arcade, home consoles from the Atari era to Dreamcast were lined up and ready to play

  • Nothing brings out pure joy faster than home video game consoles
    Nothing brings out pure joy faster than home video game consoles

  • Dragon's Lair and a laser light show were projected on one wall of the arcade; '80s music videos on the other
    Dragon's Lair and a laser light show were projected on one wall of the arcade; '80s music videos on the other

  • Thick crowds gathered for the GameGavel.com raffle.  Buy a ticket, and maybe A Winner Is You!
    Thick crowds gathered for the GameGavel.com raffle. Buy a ticket, and maybe A Winner Is You!

  • Christopher beat the evening chill by donning De's custom-made SC3 sweater
    Christopher beat the evening chill by donning De's custom-made SC3 sweater

  • The Last Arcade's Tron row, sending you to the Game Grid in style
    The Last Arcade's Tron row, sending you to the Game Grid in style

  • A young gamer checks out some Super Mario illustrations
    A young gamer checks out some Super Mario illustrations

  • Game Over... until next time!
    Game Over... until next time!