California Extreme 2013

California Extreme is a yearly show in Santa Clara where gamers from all over the world bring their arcade machines and pinball games together for attendees to play. It is an incredible convention that I got to attend for the first time this year.

The sheer number of games was astounding. I don’t know how accurate this list is because the first two games I did a search for (Wacko and Kozmik Krooz’r) were not listed. But there’s, what, 500 games here? Amazing.

Some guy complained about CAX over the weekend in Santa Clara on craigslist. Someone found it and posted it to KLOV. Here is what he said:

Goddamn 40-year old virgins with no lives clogged up all the toilets at the Hyatt Regency. I was in town with my family and there was an arcade/toy convention going on at the convention center. These overweight, bald, smelly, soup-stained t shirt wearing losers (who can’t let go of their childhood) stunk up the joint to high heaven. Puke in one john and another one was stopped up. The place smelled like dead horse, rotten fish and cotton candy. Sheesh, it made my 4 year old kid cry. He had to go real bad, but I didn’t want him to get tapeworm. So, we rushed over to the Chinese restaurant across the street. My advice? Avoid this area of town when these jokers are in town.

No offense to anyone that might be offended by this, but this guy is an enormous vagina.

There is a convention every weekend at the Hyatt. WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED there would be one this weekend, too? Maybe if he had a fourth-grader’s understanding of what goes on at big hotels in California, his monocle wouldn’t have popped out of his head.

I’ll guarantee you this piece of soft serve will be similarly shocked if he takes his ugly family to Las Vegas some day. “People were trying to give us ads for hookers everywhere we walked! I am outraged!”

Lastly, if his kid is in TEARS throwing a tantrum when brought into public then this idiot has bigger problems than a clogged toilet. Dude is raising a hysterical sociopath.

To me, it sounds like the guy is frustrated that he is raising someone less equipped to enter society than he is, so he’s dealing with it in the most manly way he knows how: by posting anonymously to craigslist. Nobody cares about the opinions of someone who seems like the fifth guy at a Warlords table.

All conventions will have some bad apples. At least with CAX it’s a person who is excited to head to the grand hall and play games rather than have people trying to get other attendees fired or trying to organize threesomes with speakers. There were definitely a couple people that fucking stunk but I’ve been to conventions that were waaaaaaaaaay worse. The lack of self-respect some people have is amazing – wash everything before going. Never wear something twice. Separate used clothes and fresh ones. Shower every day and night. Every time you go back to the hotel, re-apply deodorant. CAX has the potential to be worse than E3 or PAX because of the sheer heat the arcade games give off, which is more than an equivalent number of computers at E3. It’s a problem that has been going on for ages, though, so it’s never gonna be fixed.

There was one row of games that were prototypes. You start to figure out why some games didn’t make it. “Marble Man” is a sequel to Marble Madness. Only there were two joysticks on the machine. A Marble Madness game with a joystick!! It played as horrible as you expect. Although my girlfriend said that she had three games for her NES as a kid and Marble Madness was one of them. She played that on a gamepad and still liked the game. I’m allowing for the possibility that a non-trackball version of Marble Madness could be good, but if she dumps me or something I am putting a strikethrough tag on this sentence.

Kozmik Krooz’r is a unique game that was present. Each person that brings a game gets some stickers to put their name on the marquee. They can also note if the game is for sale or not. The owner of Kozmik Krooz’r ran out of “not for sale” stickers, so he put a “for sale” one up with a preposterously high price. Well, he got contacted by an attendee saying that high price ($3500) was fine.

I am going to try to talk about why Krooz’r is so special. It is a sequel to Wacko. Wacko is the game where you are a green alien in a spaceship. (You have to shoot matching pairs of monsters.) Krooz’r gives you a joystick with a trigger and a dial that can also be pressed downwards. The dial moves the direction of where your ship’s gun points. Pressing the dial down activates the shield. The monitor on this thing is raised and virtually flat. You SORT of have to peer at the screen like you do in Battlezone, for lack of a better game to compare it to. There is also a reflected plastic spaceship in the cabinet that lights up and moves. It’s pretty creative, and it’s too bad that the gameplay consists of moving your guy in the ship around, shooting aliens and simply trying to get to the top of the screen. If this game had better gameplay it might be the “best” full package arcade game ever made.

Lastly, there was one very special touch. Someone made a little plaque that was placed on the cocktail Warlords table. It said, “Reserved for Ryan T. Davis.” Ryan was a founder of Giant Bomb and passed away a couple weeks ago. From context, I assume that the man loved Warlords, which makes him a great man as far as I am concerned. Rest in peace, sir.

Here is an album with some pics. I regret not bringing my real camera, so sorry for the shitty cell pics:

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