It was the eleventh day of the eleventh month of SC3's eleventh year of hosting arcade parties, so we figured it was an appropriate day to throw another one. November 11, 2017 witnessed another of SC3's famous backyard events in Claremont. As we do, we crammed in dozens of arcade machines, a slew of 1980s tabletop games, a movie projection screen and no less than fifteen home console stations. And we barely, by the grace of Porf, had enough cables to power everything. Seriously, who just happens to have extra PC power cords just laying around in his car? Someone awesome, that's who!
Porf's eleventh-hour power provision is just one example of how SC3 relies on the help and support of all our friends and attendees to keep things running (somewhat) smoothly. The SC3 organizers have been at this for a while, so we sometimes seem to almost know what we're doing, but we're also regular guys with jobs and families and all that. We love putting these events together, but they take time and effort and mental energy – which is sometimes in short supply – so we're always counting on our friends to help fill in the gaps. They truly came through this time! Huge thanks to Sean for help with the heavy lifting, to Lorraine and her daughter for organizing and serving the food (and for the huge Pac-Man rice krispie treat!), Jay for bringing cabs and cords and helping at the door, William for providing the epic NeoGeo cabinet, i-Mockery for bringing Grave Chase, Rik for providing the tabletops, Camille and Nick for making the first pizza run, and anybody else who helped out! Someone joked at this event that if only we had our act together, we could really take SC3 to the big time. That backhanded compliment may be true, but truthfully, we like the community-run, hobbyist vibe that SC3 still has even after so many years. SC3 has always been about the retro-gaming and collecting community, not about large-scale operations and vendors and becoming a capital-E "Event".
So it's not really a bad thing that attendance at this party was down a bit from last year. Some of that was probably because of how close we are to November holidays, but some of it may have been due to us tamping down on the influx of game resellers we'd been seeing recently. Many of our regulars had commented on – and we'd certainly noticed it too – how many folks who had been showing up not to play or trade games, but only to sell them. There's certainly nothing wrong with commerce, and as collectors we understand the need to have someone to purchase new games from, but reselling is not really what SC3 is about. We're about playing and collecting and most of all having fun together with video games. And there's only so much room in that yard after all. So starting at the last backyard event and continuing at this one, we've limited table space and done other things to discourage the pure vendors. That seems to have helped. This year's trade section was much less over-the-top and reminded us of SC3's early days, where collectors brought their extras in the hope of passing them on while maybe getting something new for themselves. If that means a few less people show up, that's fine with us. We'd rather have a smaller crowd of fellow hobbyists rather than a huge group of people who only care about commerce. It seems most attendees agree; we heard a lot of comments that the crowd size was more appropriate and seemed to be more in tune with the SC3 vibe.
Collectors looking to acquire new cool stuff were not disappointed this time, however. The trade area still had a lot of goodies, and this year's raffle was the largest we've ever had! Geoff, one of SC3's founders, decided to clean out some stuff from storage – and when you've been in the game as long as Geoff has, you know that means some treasures will be unearthed. Of course, he didn't stop there. Geoff knows classic video games, but he also knows classic treats... specifically how to acquire snacks that you haven't seen since the '80s but are still available somewhere in the world. So things like Ecto Coolers, Sharkleberry Finn Kool-Aid, and Quisp cereal littered the raffle table alongside the ColecoVisions, Atari 5200s, anime VHS tapes, and one truly frightening standee of E.T. in a bartender's smock admonishing the world not to drink and drive. William, another SC3 organizer, donated some more items, as did many attendees. The result was a fantastic raffle that was as epic as it was shockingly ALF-free! Thanks for your effort Geoff, hopefully your voice has recovered from yelling out all the winning numbers.
We always like to report on things that are newly debuted (or returning after long absences) at SC3 events. This time it was the Nintendo Wii, decked out for Super Smash Brothers Brawl, the classic 1987 arcade shooter -R-Type, and Cuphead – the stunning game, newly available on XBox and PC platforms, with hand-drawn animation that looks straight out of a 1930's Fleischer Studios cartoon. This time around we showed the films Cloak & Dagger, hands-down the best movie about an unreleased Atari 5200 game, and Super Mario Bros., unquestionably the best film about two Italian plumbers who travel to a parallel universe to defeat an evil humanoid Tyrannosaurus dictator played by Dennis Hopper. At SC3, we love the classics! After the films, the movie screen hosted 10-player Saturn Bomberman.
As always, thank you to everyone who attended and donated, and who listened to our heartfelt pleas to keep food and drink away from the games! We also appreciate your feedback. We put these events on so that you can have a good time, so we like to know what you think.
What's next for SC3? As many of you know, Arcade 2084 is now closed, so it's out as an event venue for us. However, SC3 will have a presence at the Retro City Festival on January 20-21 at the Pomona Fairplex. This is a new show which promises to bring that "big convention" vibe to Southern California. We'll be there, but in a small way – it's not our event after all. Our next event is still in the planning stages. With Arcade 2084 gone we'll have to figure out the where and the when. Keep your eye on this site and our Facebook page for announcements! And until then, as always, keep gaming!