[Below is the journal from the past months that I wrote about the recent arcade convention that happened on April this year. Excuse my writing as usual if any error is found.]
ZapCon 6 was the third ZapCon visit that I had fun going to. While spring was quite a busy semester and that the Months of Endurance won't quit giving me stressful pressures, at least I managed to see about over 200 different arcade cabinets from old-school, mechanical machines (e.g. vintage baseball arcade games) to the returning modern cabinets (e.g. Killer Queen) and, of course, custom arcade machines. [Yes, I saw there existed a Cuphead arcade cab.]
Lots of arcade cabinets from the previous ZapCon events were returned for people to play in addition to machines that were new to the visit. This year, they had the original arcade game Splatterhouse. Attempted to go through the game and ended up losing the last life at the Poltergeist boss on Stage II. Another was the cabinet of Panic Park, which I managed to play through while holding the camcorder with my right hand. The X-Men beat 'em up arcade game was available, though this time around I only saw the more common 4-player version of the game. Surprisingly, Lethal Enforcers and Space Gun cabinet were also at the convention. It's been years since I saw them previously as a kid. No Point Blank from Namco except for an arcade game clone called Rapid Fire, which, for some reasons, I went through all the mini games while having the same... funny struggle similar to playing Panic Park. A hack of Super Cobra, near the vector Breakout game, was seen that had some bizarre custom texts on the screen while the game remained unchanged. No particular shmup or Puyo Puyo cabinets available at ZapCon though possibly due to their rarity, yet hopefully I'd see at least one available in the future visits. [I only saw the same Macross vertical shmup game there. No Raiden Fighters, still...]
Of course, it wouldn't be ZapCon without some pinball tables and a place where old consoles were put for visitors to play the games. People could still play several tables returned in this year's convention like Super Mario Bros., the custom Data East's Star Wars machine with the film audio, and Black Hole. Something that caught my eyes were the pinball table of Baby Pac-Man and Pac-Man (?). It's so rare to find them nowadays, but at least I had time to play a bit of the former machine. Data East's Jurassic Park was available, but I saw that there's been an issue with the number of balls inside the machine that made it not working properly. Oh well... hopefully the old pinball machine will last a bit longer so that we can still have a chance to play them again. Meanwhile, players could also play some modern pinball machines like Stern's Star Wars [different from Data East's], Batman '66, and Aerosmith. In addition was a score contest only for kids where they competed to determine which of all scored the highest in a few attempts toward a Spider-Man pinball machine. Always glad to see my good friends at my favorite retro arcade.
There was also a booth where a Raspberry Pi was seen containing the HyperSpin look-alike emulator with arcade games varying from Puyo Puyo Tsu to 19XX and even arcade games having a hard time to be worked on MAME. On the left of it was a pachinko machine of Lupin the 3rd. Didn't even know how to play it though it had something to do with matching the numbers. Nevertheless, the booth was for announcing the upcoming Game On Expo event which I don't think I'll find time for going there due to school, work, and stuff.
Then came the old mechanical arcade games varying in different genres of gameplay (shooting gallery, pinball, sports, etc.) They were really like decades old, but I still found it fun to play them regardless just like the Chicago Coin's Mini-Baseball I used to see in the past. [Gotta love those old-school noises within those machines.
There was a mechanical shooting game machine I played where the player uses the "light-gun" rifle to shoot five balls in making a line of at least three balls horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The more the number of balls in a row, the merrier for scoring more points. A button next to the rifle is used for putting determined points to the player's score based on the balls' position (in case they screw up their next shot) and then resetting the location of the balls by springing them up. The player has a limit of shots for... 20 times (?) with the exception of successful bullseyes onto any ball. Can't remember the name of it, which is the problem I'm trying to recall, since Williams made like at least five versions of the game: Vanguard, Hercules, Crusader, Titan, and Space Glider. The latter was pretty much the latest and most common based on what I searched on Google Images, while there's only a scarce amount of pictures and flyers that can be found there. Could it be "Williams' 'Bouncing Ball' Gun Game" Vanguard that I played? Only videos on my camcorder could tell.
Another mechanical antique I can't remember the name was the one that shaped similar to a pinball table except there's only two buttons: One for pitching the ball... or just spawn the ball(s) out from the bottom center and other for batting... or swinging the bat to ricochet the ball. All I could do was to press those buttons to shoot the ball onto one of the slots, where different things can happen (mostly Single, Double, Triple, and OUT slots) as the still images of baseball players can be seen moving around mechanically depending on the gameplay. Similar to a regular baseball game, a point is given when the baseball player goes through all three bases and into the home plate which is where they start. The game ends when the player gets the ball into the Out slot for the 3rd time. Like the situation with that "bouncing ball target gun" game, there's a particular number of similar machines... except they have different names, which is going to be difficult... well for me to recognize the difference. [On the bright side, it's fun to see kids from the younger generations enjoying those old antique arcade games.] Again, mostly Williams made those games in the past, so... not quite sure if the one at this convention was among them. Again, videos should be the answer I can find out.
Outside playing games, people at ZapCon can buy and grab various kinds of merchandise: glasses with different pop images, lanyards, keychains, pins, clothes, accessories, used games, reproduction cartridges [Once again, Kid Dracula / Boku Dracula-kun was seen from the projector again played via a Retron console], toys, pinball parts, limited freebies, magnets, pixel frames, and more. One among my favorites was a set of models of Pac-Man and the ghosts made from a 3D printer that looked quite really nice. [Still, I do wish there's enough cash to afford for buying more interesting stuff there given that it's not really common to see them around and that it costed as much as a copy of the new game that came out in order to get inside the convention and play hundred arcade games for free. But then, experiencing the world of ZapCon overall is the most fun of all for the day.]
For the game room, I was curious of trying out the giant NES controller that was located on the same area that they put on the previous years. My right hand could only fit one button at a time, and due to the size it's difficult to press both the A and B button simultaneously. [Funny that when I think of it right now, I'm just wondering if I can play other games with that huge controller like Super Spy Hunter / Battle Formula or Life Force. The games they had there was pretty much the same: Mostly Super Mario Bros. and Contra.] Speaking of Contra, I believe I attempted to play it at that time and ended up passing through the first few levels. [Yeah yeah... "You need more practice." Due to other stuff needed to be done as soon as possible, I barely have a lot of time for practicing skills in various old-school games. Sigh... so much for dealing with reality...] At least I had fun playing the game in a unique way different from holding a small NES controller. Oh... Forgot to mention this room also contained some cocktail arcade cabinets as well, including Super Pac-Man which I played for a long while with another friendly player. Too bad there wasn't a sufficient time for playing Streets of Rage 2 since at that moment my time was about to be up in a couple of minutes.
There's quite lots of videos I recorded throughout that day, which means it's gonna take a ton of time to work on them. I suppose I should start working on the videos when the upcoming long break begins without having to go through the intense Months of Endurance.
[And that's the end of my ZapCon 6 journal. By the time I watched Retro Core's Battle of the Ports towards Cyber Troopers: Virtual On, somehow I started to have some interest in this game given how the players control the mecha and the soundtrack of the game itself. I used to see it as a kid and when the old modern arcade location existed a few years ago. Maybe on the next ZapCon coming up, I can try playing Oratorio Tangram at the point of time for fun before the championship even starts. I wonder if the original Cyber Troopers: Virtual On will also be included in the future arcade convention.]
That's all for now. More will come soon whenever I find time for more writing.