Joystick Division

Flashy gaming fortresses like Dave & Busters and GameWorks boast almost anything tweens and teenyboppers could want in an amped-up arcade experience, ranging from slick versions of the favorite mobile games like Fruit Ninja to high-end redemption games. As for the older crowd, the ones eager for throwback joystick thrills and games sans new-fangled swipeable game cards? Eh, not so much.

It’s one of the reasons why local O.G. gamers Wes Cleveland and Zack Johnson created ZapCon, a weekend extravaganza of old-school arcade and pinball games that takes things back to the heyday of neighborhood gaming dens like the long-defunct Wonderland Nickel Palaces.

The pair has procured more than 60 classic quarter-munchers and a comparable amount of pinball units from local collectors. All of ‘em will be set up inside Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel for the button-mashing action starting Saturday, April 6. Documentaries devoted to retro gaming, such as High Score and The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time, will be screened, pinball tournaments will take place, and Nintendo cover band Minibosses will perform.

Sat., April 6, 10 a.m.; Sun., April 7, 10 a.m., 2013
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.