Best Video Game Event (2013)


Man, would we love to get our hands on an Ice Cold Beer again. And we ain't talking 'bout a frosty pint containing an amber alcoholic concoction. Rather, we're eager to get our fill of the addicting mechanical game from 1983 that vexed us plenty (and claimed an hour or two of our lifespan) over an April weekend at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel during ZapCon. This intoxicating (and decidedly rare) arcade stand-up, which involves maneuvering silver balls vertically into various scoring holes while avoiding pitfalls, is like upright skeeball, a blast to play, and one of dozens of vintage coin-operated gems at the retro arcade and pinball convention. Local old-school gamers at ZapCon got to test their hand-eye coordination on the 100-plus flipper-powered contraptions like Centaur and hard-to-find quarter-eaters Bosconian and Forgotten Worlds. And they have two of their own, Zack Johnson and Wes Cleveland, to thank for the trip through the warp zone. The pair culled together the antiquated pixilated distractions from the private stashes of Arizona game collectors, set every single one to "free play" mode, and let in the public for a bleepin' good time. They even organized some specialized programming, including a performance by Nintendo cover band Minibosses, pinball tournaments, and screenings of such joystick-oriented documentaries as High Score and Tilt: The Battle to Save Pinball. We're waiting with bated breath and nimble fingers for Johnson and Cleveland to announce when ZapCon will return for next April, when ZapCon will return for a second round, especially if it nabs us another taste of Ice Cold Beer.

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