Back on October 7, 2006, SC3 moved into "the backyard" for the first time. That event marked a return for us after a long hiatus. It was, at the time, the largest event SC3 had ever thrown – and the first to feature full-sized arcade cabinets. With about 40 attendees and something like two dozen coin-ops, we were riding high.
Ten years later, on November 12, 2016, SC3 held our 10th anniversary backyard party, and how things have changed. More arcades, more consoles, more trading... and most of all, more people. Over 200 attendees, or about five times the size of our 2006 crowd, made the pilgrimage to Claremont this time. It's obvious that in the decade since that original backyard gathering, SC3 has become something more than just a handful of game collectors getting together to swap carts. It's an event now, something that lots of people look forward to for months on end. It's an excuse to meet with friends who love gaming as much as you do. Crucially in the stressful year that has been 2016, SC3 brings people together to just forget about everything other than having a good time.
We organizers recognize this and feel the same way. We wouldn't continue putting these things together if we weren't having a good time! But in the last couple events we started to notice some things we weren't entirely happy about. Attendance at SC3 has been growing – which is great – and with more people came more trading and commerce. There's nothing wrong with this, but recently we started to feel like the focus on commerce and scrambling to acquire games was getting in the way of actually enjoying them. As collectors ourselves, we get it. Sometimes you get so busy collecting you forget about playing. Naturally we're all for building collections but we didn't want to see the business side of things drain the fun out of the event.
So for the 10th anniversary party we made a few small tweaks, including limiting trade table space and requiring attendees to RSVP and request trade space ahead of time. It was our hope that this would encourage traders to bring smaller amounts of only their best stuff, and maybe recapture the old spirit of gamers swapping rare treasures to better their collections. We didn't make these changes lightly; it was done only after careful consideration. The last thing we wanted was to discourage trading or frustrate would-be attendees. Thankfully, the changes seem to have had the desired effect. The trade area was well-stocked but not completely overflowing as it was at the last event. The crowds were manageable. We heard from multiple traders that the mood in the trade area was more pleasant. Most importantly, it really seemed to us like people were enjoying the games more. The consoles were always occupied. Even less popular machines like the Odyssey² got their fair share of play.
We also made some changes to the picnic area. First, your donations from previous events enabled us to arrange for more snacks and on-demand pizza deliveries. This let us nail the pizza quantity much more accurately than usual; the last two pieces were consumed about half an hour before the event closed. But more than anything, we have to thank Lorraine and Katie for volunteering to serve food all night. Thanks to their tireless effort, food was portioned out fairly and consistently and we were able to keep tabs on the supply. We simply cannot thank them enough! Lorraine is also the culinary talent behind the delicious SC3 cookies and @!#?@!-in' amazing Q*bert rice-krispie-treat pyramid. Video games never tasted so good!
We can't neglect to mention how we finally dealt with one of the constant challenges of SC3 – how to keep drinks away from the games. At every prior event we'd find half-full soda cans by the cabinets (sometimes on them), and it's only been sheer luck that no major damage has happened due to spills. No matter how often we repeated that food and drinks aren't allowed near the games, it seemed like people just couldn't remember. Well, finally Lori C. gave us a brilliant but simple suggestion that actually worked – a table specifically for unfinished drinks, with handy labels. Suddenly the number of drinks near the games dropped to near-zero. What can we say? It only took us ten years, but problem solved!
The raffle has become a staple of SC3 events and this one did not disappoint. Items were donated by GameGavel.com and VideoGameMuseum.com, as well as individual attendees. In addition to the usual video game goodies (that minty boxed Tandyvision!), this raffle boasted some goofy '80s-era stuff. ALF (remember ALF?) was strongly represented. In this era of smartphones, everybody seemed to have their eye on that land-line ALF telephone. Also, who knew that Mattel Electronics made a board game based on the TV show Dallas? Cool as the Dallas game may have been, we suspect that Mattel's Intellivision is probably more fun. Thanks to Mark W. for taking on the raffle duties once again, and congrats to all the winners.
The list of people who helped make this event a success is a long one. In addition to those mentioned above, we need to thank Ian W. and Sean B. for their tremendous help with setup, Jay F. and Porf M. for help troubleshooting arcade problems, William D. for bringing the 50" NEO GEO cabinet, Robert B. for bringing the Amiga, Ricky H. for the Peggle PC setup, and Camille and Nick for an early food delivery. And of course, THANK YOU to all of our attendees for making this the most upbeat and fun SC3 event! You have made the past ten years worth all the effort.
The next SC3 event will likely take place sometime in Spring 2017. As always, watch this site and our Facebook page for details as they become available. Until then, keep gaming!