It's that time of year, and once again the legends of arcade gaming are coming together for The Kong Off 2 in Denver. If you don't know, it's basically the World championship of Donkey Kong with the current and past record holders coming together to battle on a 20 machine long line of Kong Machines.
This year the Kong off is in Denver Colorado at the 1UP bar and arcade. I happen to live just a few blocks from there so I have been drinking and playing games for 2 days straight and I still have to make it through today. The 1UP has about 40 arcade games, 15 pinball machines, great cheese steaks and an awesome staff of players.
I didn't have a change to post a thread yesterday when it started, but what a crazy day of competition. They played for about 10 hours yesterday and you can restart as many times as you want until the final bell. Want to see more?!?!?
These are the ones I was checking out yesterday but there are around 5-6 streams going any point. I have to go over there in a few minutes so if you see one of the other please post it (you can search them online, they are all labeled the same)
So what's going on?
-The big 3, Michell, Weibe and Chein and all here playing. I'm not up on the full arcade world scene so I've met tons of great players over the last few days that are amazing. The big 3 aren't really even the favorites because of the format.
-We had 3 players breaking a million point game (Steve Weibe got the last one in under the wire.
-We had 2 Donkey Kong Kill Screens yesterday
-The World record of Donkey Kong 3 was set
-Record attempts at centipede, Q-bert (5 lives only) and Dig-Dug happened
-You can get $250 if you set any World Record on any machine that has a record set
-Podcasts and talks from lots of players and special guests
-They had a special race. Two players race to a million point in Berserk. It took 8 hours!!
Friday, around 2pm the players all started practices for the Saturday start. Richie Knuckles (classic gaming collector, speaker and record holder) is hosting the event. If you didn't know Richie and his partner bought Twin Galaxies the World Record arcade gaming database.
If you saw King of Kong, Twin Galaxies kind of went to shit and lost it's credibility after they tried to screw Steve Weibe out of his record. Now they are moving the operation to Denver and changing how it works. They are going to do live events and competitions and are committed to bringing in console gamers and records that will hopefully because 'The King of Console' event they want to do.
Every single person has been great and nice and is in a good mood. All the players love talking to the fans and signing stuff and taking pictures. They are all really great representatives of gaming and the arcade scene.
Personal accounts: Since I live next to the 1UP, I'm there a few times a week and I know all the staff. So I went over Friday to help them set up. I knock on the door and Billy Mitchell answers and just say "Hi I'm Billy Mitchell, I'm the doorman" Billy is a great guy from what I can tell. Lots of people there (including Weibe and Richie) have gone out of their way to say that Billy is a great friend and they aren't happy with the way he looked in King of Kong.
So after a long day of practice (and drinking for me) I heard everyone was going to a pizza place downtown for a private dinner. So I decide to take a shot and see if I can sneak in. Nobody said anything so I spent the night sitting next to Steve Weibe talking about Wreck-it-Ralph and Pinball and Kong Strategy
Saturday they started at 10 and it all business. I'm hoping to get some more pictures with players later on this afternoon. The players can try and restart as much as they want until they get a good game in. Most of them take a break for a few hours in the middle. If you haven't seen high level Kong check it out. There are crazy tricks and the players have memorized where every barrel is going to be and what it will do.
The amazing the skill, or maybe just concentration they have. Getting 900k-1 mil seems to take about 3 hours, but I didn't watch one player for that long at once. I know it can vary based on how many risks you want to take.
Saturday night there was a VIP party upstairs for the players and a few regulars of the bar (WOO!) Tons of food free drinks and the owners private collection of games. They had a great podcast about gaming, their plans for Twin Galaxies, and the culture of Arcades. I don't have the address but it will be at Twin Galaxies once it's up.
THE MIDNIGHT TWIST:
So after the podcast, we are all hanging out and playing cash games. Defender, Joust Pinball and Bubbles were the games of choice. Suddenly, out of nowhere, in walks Gary Stern of Stern pinball! If you guys know me (you don't) I play pinball competitively 4-5 times a month and have made it up to 560 on the World rankings. I'm a huge fan of Gary and Stern and Pinball in General. Apparently he has family near there and just came over to play and hang out.
He did an interview and talked about arcades and coin-op and pinball and it was amazing.
The funniest line of the night came from Gary. He was talking about attract modes on pinball and trying to show people cool features they would want to play the game to see. Specifically he talked about Lord of the Rings Pinball and wanting to show off the Balrog but not making it too easy to get it in the game to people would try to find it and see it. "That's the key, you don't give them the pussy, you show them the pussy and you make them want the pussy" XD
Spare stuff I got:
A signed t-shirt that came with a bottle of Billy Mitchel KOK Hotsauce
Two of the custom Marques they made and put on the Kong Machines
Billy signed the glass I brought from my Super PAC-MAN cabinet
Check of the live feeds and support Arcade gaming. I hope they can really get the King of Consoles idea going. It would be great to bring more competitive gaming into the same house.
ok, They are starting and I need to go get some kolache and a beer. I'll post.