Arcade Fun at California Extreme

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Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -

Where else are you gonna find a Gallagher arcade machine? 
This past weekend Jeff, Dave, and myself took the drive down to the Hyatt Regency in sunny Santa Clara to check out California Extreme 2009. Put simply, California Extreme is an event where collectors of classic arcade games and pinball machines can put their goods on display for an audience of classic arcade appreciators. There's a $35 admission fee, but once you're in, you can play all the games you can handle for free, until you either collapse or they kick you out.

I've been aware of CAX's existence for a few years, but I don't think I was prepared for how giddily I'd respond to the actual event. We originally went with the intentions of shooting a bunch of material--interviews and such--though the second we walked through the double doors and laid our eyes on the literal hundreds of machines, it became immediately apparent that we could not resist the siren calls of all those games, demanding to be played. So, my apologies in advance for both the quantity and the quality of our CAX video coverage, particularly since I'm having a hard time articulating just how much fun it was having access to all those games.

It was, basically, the best arcade I had ever been to, stocked with obvious classics, obscure gems, prototype and bootleg machines, and a bunch of stuff I'd simply never heard of. Most of the arcade machines were from that late-70s/early-80s golden age of the American arcade, though the pinball tables on display went much further back. For the most part, there was an underlying logic to how the floor was laid out, whether it be by vintage, technology, or theme, making it easy for me to go from playing Punch-Out!!, to Super Punch-Out!!, to Arm Wrestling. You can see a long list of what was on display on the CAX website, though that list isn't 100% definitive, as there were a few no-shows, as well as a few surprises.

These guys were playing Warlords for money. No words for how awesome that is.
The show wasn't without some minor disappointments. Jeff was bummed that the Cloak & Dagger machine was in as poor condition as it was; I was bummed that the Beavis & Butthead prototype cabinet on display was actually set up to play Die Alien Scum!!; and I think we were both pretty thoroughly disappointed with the crummy gameplay in Marble Man: Marble Madness II. I now understand why that game never went into production.

For all the free-wheeling fun there is to be had, there's a dangerous edge to CAX, as some of the machines being shown are actually for sale. I came incredibly close to buying a Missile Command cocktail cabinet--going so far as to hitting an ATM, emptying my checking account, and making an offer--and Jeff was vocally playing with the idea of buying the Black Hole pinball machine on display. To paraphrase Dave's description of the event, we basically spent six hours walking around in circles in the dark, and it couldn't have been more of a blast. This is just a brief glimpse of what we saw, you can expect to hear more about it on this week's Bombcast. One thing's for certain, though; I'll definitely be back in 2010.


 
  
Staff
#1 Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -

Where else are you gonna find a Gallagher arcade machine? 
This past weekend Jeff, Dave, and myself took the drive down to the Hyatt Regency in sunny Santa Clara to check out California Extreme 2009. Put simply, California Extreme is an event where collectors of classic arcade games and pinball machines can put their goods on display for an audience of classic arcade appreciators. There's a $35 admission fee, but once you're in, you can play all the games you can handle for free, until you either collapse or they kick you out.

I've been aware of CAX's existence for a few years, but I don't think I was prepared for how giddily I'd respond to the actual event. We originally went with the intentions of shooting a bunch of material--interviews and such--though the second we walked through the double doors and laid our eyes on the literal hundreds of machines, it became immediately apparent that we could not resist the siren calls of all those games, demanding to be played. So, my apologies in advance for both the quantity and the quality of our CAX video coverage, particularly since I'm having a hard time articulating just how much fun it was having access to all those games.

It was, basically, the best arcade I had ever been to, stocked with obvious classics, obscure gems, prototype and bootleg machines, and a bunch of stuff I'd simply never heard of. Most of the arcade machines were from that late-70s/early-80s golden age of the American arcade, though the pinball tables on display went much further back. For the most part, there was an underlying logic to how the floor was laid out, whether it be by vintage, technology, or theme, making it easy for me to go from playing Punch-Out!!, to Super Punch-Out!!, to Arm Wrestling. You can see a long list of what was on display on the CAX website, though that list isn't 100% definitive, as there were a few no-shows, as well as a few surprises.

These guys were playing Warlords for money. No words for how awesome that is.
The show wasn't without some minor disappointments. Jeff was bummed that the Cloak & Dagger machine was in as poor condition as it was; I was bummed that the Beavis & Butthead prototype cabinet on display was actually set up to play Die Alien Scum!!; and I think we were both pretty thoroughly disappointed with the crummy gameplay in Marble Man: Marble Madness II. I now understand why that game never went into production.

For all the free-wheeling fun there is to be had, there's a dangerous edge to CAX, as some of the machines being shown are actually for sale. I came incredibly close to buying a Missile Command cocktail cabinet--going so far as to hitting an ATM, emptying my checking account, and making an offer--and Jeff was vocally playing with the idea of buying the Black Hole pinball machine on display. To paraphrase Dave's description of the event, we basically spent six hours walking around in circles in the dark, and it couldn't have been more of a blast. This is just a brief glimpse of what we saw, you can expect to hear more about it on this week's Bombcast. One thing's for certain, though; I'll definitely be back in 2010.


 
  
Staff
#2 Posted by dbz1995 (4786 posts) -

Wow, this is awesome.

#3 Posted by Fr0Br0 (3085 posts) -

Jesus, the end of that first video scared the shit out of me. I guess that's what I get for lowering my guard against Screamers...

#4 Posted by FinalDasa (1253 posts) -

Where did you find a Bennigans? 

#5 Posted by Jambones (1696 posts) -

I cannot express how jealous I am of you guys.

 Ass Cam, maybe, but thank you so much for this.

#6 Posted by RoyaleWifCheese (529 posts) -

Ass Cam, indeed. Lots of ass in that first one.

#7 Posted by Claude (16251 posts) -

So, that's what a Nerd Upskirt camera looks like.

#8 Posted by MacGyver (280 posts) -

that looks so awesome, i want to go!!!

#9 Posted by Out_On_Bail (1545 posts) -

Lol, you guys are awesome. The ass cam? Never expected that one.  Great videos, although I don't think I will ever be sold on the drink flavored pound cakes.

#10 Posted by DrRandle (1189 posts) -

Mmm. Bennigans sounds soo good.

#11 Posted by snide (2394 posts) -

One other thing about the event. It was HELLA LOUD. I went home with a pretty blistering headache.

#12 Posted by Trilogy (2569 posts) -

What's the name of that game at the very end of the video? I've definitely played it before. Or at least something VERY similar.

#13 Posted by JJOR64 (18783 posts) -

Kick ass.  I wish I could have went.  :-(

#14 Edited by FlipperDesert (2069 posts) -

The picture of Jeff and Dave outside of a Bennigan's is freaking me out. Look at their eyes.

And I don't mind the lack of coverage, I'd have gotten even more sidetracked in your shoes there by the looks of it.

#15 Posted by Bzchan (5 posts) -

Awesome coverage guys. I was planing on going but didn't make it. Now I'm hungry for a banana foster's and a guiness burger.

#16 Posted by zigx (72 posts) -

I was so tempted to go to this last weekend, but as my job is a bit shaky at the moment I decided to hold off. It's too bad because by the looks of it, I would have been happy just spending hours playing pinball games. Don't know what it is about pinball, I don't consider myself good by any means, but it's just so damn addicting.

#17 Posted by supercubedude (450 posts) -

Jeff is going to do terrible things to food in that Bennigan's.

#18 Posted by snide (2394 posts) -
#19 Posted by NoXious (1335 posts) -

Wrong event for an ass cam - that's all I'm saying. Thank you for the mental scars, my psychiatrist loves you guys.

I love all these testing videos though, it makes sure I don't eat the wrong stuff!

#20 Posted by phlegms (1607 posts) -

The dudes playing Warlords look hard-freaking-core.

#21 Posted by Alphazero (1530 posts) -

Nice Flynn's T-shirt.

I always wanted to own an arcade like Flynn's in Tron.

#22 Edited by mosdl (3223 posts) -

Bennigans is dead, just some well doing Bennigans (the one shown seems to be the one in Santa Clara next to Mission College, was one of them) bought the name and run a very different menu (much smaller last I was there).

#23 Posted by Zabant (1223 posts) -

aww wish i was there, and i'm sure they would of let you film guys, ive never heard of the event so they need all the coverage they can get!

#24 Posted by Kajaah117 (1070 posts) -

Impressive that they had theater of Magic but where's the damn EARTHSHAKER machine?!

#25 Posted by jsd (12 posts) -

I am so bummed I missed this, somehow I didn't even hear about it until late Sunday.

Oh well, next year for sure.  And I will definitely be at the Pacific Pinball Expo in October!

#26 Posted by KillaMaStA (860 posts) -

Awesome, im sad that this kind of stuff never happens where I live

#27 Posted by Meltbrain (2966 posts) -

What's the deal with the dude with the Warr Guitar?

#28 Posted by erinfizz (1048 posts) -

I can't imagine having that much pinball in one place. And cocktail cabinets! I love those for some reason.

Glad y'all had a good time.

#29 Posted by Reverseface (1221 posts) -

Lol jeff looks so retarded in that photo. Also too many MAN ASS SHOTS.

#30 Posted by Osphere (207 posts) -

I want to try that pound cake lol

#31 Posted by DavidSnakes (678 posts) -

Those dudes playing Warlords looked pretty intense.

#32 Posted by RHCPfan24 (8610 posts) -

Jeff is happy about breakfast!

#33 Posted by Bureksasutlijom (175 posts) -

Road Trip!So this is this famous GaLAGher  gAme! >_>

#34 Posted by buzz_killington (3532 posts) -

I still can't get over the GALLAGHER game...

#35 Posted by Death_Unicorn (2826 posts) -

I want an ass-cam...

#36 Posted by AURON570 (1666 posts) -

filming ghetto style. giantbomb bringing you all the goods.

#37 Edited by EndrzGame (323 posts) -

My People!!! I've found my lost tribe!!!!
OMG that brought back memories from back in the day. The rec center at my college had a fantastic arcade back in '92. I would love to see something like this in the mid-west. I would drive 100+ miles to play S.T.U.N.  Runner

edit: fyi that video is choppy. The game ran silky smooth in the arcade.

PS: I want a review of Marble Madness II. Why didn't they release that? It's.....just.....MADNESS!!

#38 Posted by FLStyle (4396 posts) -

Fuck me that loud music at the end made me jump, cool taste test otherwise.

#39 Posted by tekmojo (2298 posts) -

Quite the grin there.

#40 Posted by Sledgehammering (48 posts) -

I guess I've gotta wait for Tuesday night to see how the other pop-cakes taste?  Mmmmm...pop-cakes.

#41 Posted by Media_Master (3283 posts) -

taking a trip through time...

#42 Edited by Vance_Helsing (215 posts) -

Oh CAX was so much fun!

I wish they had a couple more games from the 90s (Golden Axe, The Simpsons or even a Mortal Kombat game would've been nice) but overall it was a blast.

I actually got to meet Jeff and Dave to boot! (Saw Ryan walking around aimlessly too, but I didn't want to disturb him- I caught Jeff & Dave after a game of Blitz so it didn't seem like too big a deal to approach them) I doubt they remember, because I was being super noobish and nervous, but that was definitely one of many highlights of the experience!

Can't wait for next year.

Edit: Oh I just saw the vid, and my friend is in it! If you pause @  1:52, he's the guy in all black w/ a black jacket. I'm sure that's interesting to no one, but it made me excited!

#43 Posted by snide (2394 posts) -

I remember ya danterandal19. Nice meeting you duder. I was specifically hanging out behind Jeff playing Blitz because I could see how earnestly he wanted someone to walk up to that machine so that he could humilate them :)

#44 Posted by crapdragoon (38 posts) -

jean baudin!! (the guy holding that 9 string bass)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7oKT6xz-k8

i guess he is always there!! lmao

#45 Posted by Bucketdeth (7981 posts) -

Thats really frigging awesome, great stuff guys!

#46 Posted by JediAutobot (199 posts) -

Thanks to the clip at the end, "Draw!" is going to go through my head all day.  I was wondering if they had that game there.

#47 Posted by astonish (209 posts) -

Oh man that hologram game from Sega! I remember that! What is the name of that game?

#48 Posted by Yit (765 posts) -

Jeff loves him some Benigans.

#49 Posted by DukeTogo (1505 posts) -

That dude is wearing a FLYNN'S t-shirt while playing a Journey cabinet.

Cloak and Dagger seriously needs to be ported to something, it's a damn fun game that nobody got to enjoy.

Black Hole is arguably the best pinball machine ever, although Haunted House and Fireball are right up there.

I wonder if the elusive Empire Strikes Back vector game was there, I only ever saw it once - and it was broken.

#50 Posted by tigerthecat5 (6 posts) -

that adams family pinbal is my favorite

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