ZapCon 2016: A Field Guide to This Weekend's Event in Mesa

Pixel paradise: The theatre during final year's ZapCon during a Mesa Convention Center.

Pixel paradise: The theatre during final year’s ZapCon during a Mesa Convention Center.

Benjamin Leatherman

It’s a good time to be a fan of old-school arcade games right now in Phoenix. By a count, there are during slightest 5 opposite spots locally where joystick jocks can get their hands on quarter-powered masterpieces from a ‘80s and early ’90s (aka a golden age of arcades), including such joints as StarFighters in Mesa or Cobra Arcade Bar nearby Roosevelt Row.

Then there’s ZapCon, a weekend-long classical arcade and pinball gathering that packs hundreds of selected games and a people who adore to play ‘em into a singular venue any April. And a eventuality usually seems to get bigger with any edition.

To wit: This year’s eventuality – that is dubbed “ZapCon IV” and will take place on Saturday, Apr 16, and Sunday, Apr 17, during a Mesa Convention Center – will underline tighten to 300 arcade and pinball games (its biggest preference to date), some-more tournaments and competitions than ever before, and a few new activities. According to ZapCon co-founder Wesley Cleveland, organizers try to turn adult a eventuality in bigger and improved conform any year.

“Every year we try to one-up a prior show, and one of a ways we landed on for this year was some-more activities for a guests,” he says.

A quarrel of pinball games during final year's ZapCon.

A quarrel of pinball games during final year’s ZapCon.

Benjamin Leatherman

Upcoming Events

That includes a possibility to get a biggest measure on a Konami “run-and-gun” classical Contra while using a supersized chronicle of a Nintendo Entertainment System controller or watch two-time Donkey Kong world-record high scorer Robbie Lakeman denote a game’s famous “kill screen” glitch or shelve adult a million points in a singular sitting.

Lakeman, a Valley proprietor who’s also notched scoring annals on games like Stratovox and Super Pac-Man, will be a special guest of this year’s ZapCon.

“Robbie’s a super-nice man and he voiced an seductiveness in doing something with us, given he’s local,” Cleveland says. “Of course, we jumped during a possibility to embody him. we meant how many people can contend they’ve seen a Donkey Kong kill-screen? we consider it’d be engaging to people who follow rival gaming and fans of The King of Kong.”

Lakeman won’t be a usually diversion guru display off his skills during ZapCon, however, as rival gamer Robert Racek will try to set a universe record on a ultra-colorful Namco game Mr. Driller

His try is expected to be one of many stirring practice in store for ZapCon attendees this weekend. If you’re extraordinary as to when it’s happening, along with all else scheduled to come during a event, check out a following beam covering all we need to know.

ZapCon 2016: A Field Guide to This Weekend's Event in Mesa

Benjamin Leatherman

When and Where: ZapCon 2016 will take place on Saturday, Apr 16, and Sunday, Apr 17, during a Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street. Doors open during 10 a.m. any day, and a eventuality runs until 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and until 6 p.m. on Sunday. Anyone who buys admission in advance, however, can get in an hour progressing possibly day.  

Prices: Admission options embody daily access for possibly $30 on Saturday or $20 on Sunday. If you’re adult for spending both days during ZapCon, a weekend pass will run we $40. Beyond that, we don’t have to worry about pumping buliding into a machines during a eventuality as any diversion will be giveaway to play.

Age Limits: ZapCon is open to gamers of any age. Kids ages 3 to 12 can get into a eventuality for $15 on Saturday, $10 on Sunday, or $20 for a whole weekend.

Getting There: Just like Ryu Hayabusa in a second theatre of Ninja Gaiden II, you’ll wish to bound aboard a sight in sequence to get where you’re going. After all, there’s a Metro Light Rail hire on Main Street within a brief walking stretch to a Mesa Convention Center and fares ($2 for a one-way ticket, $4 for an all-day pass) are flattering damn cheap. Plus, a trains offer late-night hours on a weekend, only in box you’d like to stay during ZapCon until it wraps adult during 11:30 p.m. on Saturday.

If you’re entrance by car, however, a good news is that a venue is easy to find, mainly located in Mesa, and offers wretched amounts of giveaway parking. To get there, take a U.S. Highway 60 or Loop 202 East freeways to a Country Club Drive exit and afterwards conduct possibly north or south, respectively, to downtown Mesa. 

Food and Drink: Neither are authorised inside a categorical gymnasium during ZapCon due to a fact that organizers and diversion owners wish to keep a selected arcade games giveaway of any arrange of mess. Cleveland says that a series of food trucks will be parked outward a gathering center, however. Downtown Mesa also offers a resources of cafes, restaurants, and bars within a few blocks of a venue.

Games: A sum of 140 arcade titles and 150 pinball machines will be accessible for play in a categorical gymnasium during ZapCon, including a accumulation of never-before-seen gems, tradition games, and variants. (The full diversion lineup, that includes all from A.P.B. to Zoo Keeper, is accessible here.)

As with prior ZapCons, a side room during a eventuality will turn a loll area given with sofas and a accumulation of classical gaming consoles, including a Atari 2600 and Nintendo Entertainment System. This year, organizers are adding both a Sega Master System and a Sega Genesis into a mix, as good as a preference of “relatively singular and pricey games” that attendees can check out and play.  

He certain plays a meant pinball.

He certain plays a meant pinball.

Benjamin Leatherman

Competitions: Joystick Jedi and pinball wizards comparison will be battling for high-score leverage during any of a several tournaments and contests that will take place via a weekend. In further to a countless pinball tournaments that have turn a hallmark of a eventuality — including a renouned Pinball Rodeo — there will be fighting diversion battles, attempts to shelve adult world-record high scores, and foe involving titles both aged and new.

Local tradesman The Gaming Zone, for instance, will horde apart tournaments for Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike and Capcom vs. SNK. Meanwhile, The Grid will have a renouned 10-player diversion Killer Queen accessible for compare play and competitions involving a Sega import Cyber Troopers Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram, Namco’s Mr. Driller, and a locally constructed matrix diversion GravitreX (think Asteroids meets Lunar Lander), are also planned.

And as we formerly noted, attendees can also try for a best measure on a console chronicle of Contra regulating a ginormous NES controller, nonetheless they won’t be means to use a barbarous “Konami Code” while doing so.

“We attempted to put together events to accommodate infrequent and critical competitors,” Cleveland says. “Hopefully people will have fun with them.”

After-Party: When ZapCon wraps adult on Saturday night, it won’t indispensably meant “game over” for attendees. Mesa diversion bar The Grid, 525 South Gilbert Road, will horde a convention’s central after-party, that kicks off during 9 p.m. and will embody a opening by chiptune/synthwave twin Arcade High. Themed cocktails will also be served and any diversion in a corner will be giveaway to play. Admission is giveaway for ZapCon attendees with their badge, $7 for everybody else. 

Keep in Mind: A infancy of a games during ZapCon are possibly of a selected inlet or have been expertly easy by collectors. As such, you’ll wish to equivocate removing too assertive with a controls (including hardcore button-mashing or joystick-wrenching) or holding out your frustrations on a machines in a midst of a fury quit.

Patience and good function also come in accessible while watchful to play some of a many renouned games during ZapCon. In other words, don’t get in a tizzy if there’s always a line for Spy Hunter or Star Wars. Just be patient, yo. Conversely, try not to be a diversion sow and spend hours of a same machine, as there are substantially other folks that wish a possibility to rescue a princess or foe light cycles.

A pinball actor during ZapCon in 2014.

A pinball actor during ZapCon in 2014.

Benjamin Leatherman

Schedule and Events: Want to know when all will occur during ZapCon? Here’s a finish report for a event, including a start times for any competition.

Saturday, Apr 16
9 a.m.: Doors open for ZapCon pre-registrants and contributors.

10 a.m.: Doors open to a ubiquitous public. Meanwhile, a Pinball Rodeo and a subordinate rounds for a IFPA, women, and kids pinball tournaments – as good as a GravitreX and Mr. Driller competitions – will all start.

Noon: Qualifying rounds for a Street Fighter: 3rd Strike and Capcom vs. SNK 2 tournaments will begin.

1 p.m.: Robbie Lakeman demonstrates Donkey Kong’s barbarous “kill screen.”

2 p.m. Robert Racek starts his Mr. Driller universe record attempt.

3 p.m.: The Cyber Troopers Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram contest starts.

6 p.m.: The finals of a women and kids pinball tournament.

10 p.m.: The Mr. Driller foe ends.

11:30 p.m.: Doors tighten and a subordinate rounds for a IFPA pinball contest hang up.

A span of ZapCon attendees play pinball during final year's event.

A span of ZapCon attendees play pinball during final year’s event.

Benjamin Leatherman

Sunday, Apr 17
9 a.m.: Doors open for ZapCon pre-registrants and contributors. Finals for a “B” and “Classics” groups of a IFPA pinball contest begin.

10 a.m.: Doors open to a ubiquitous open and a “Colossal Control: Contra” foe starts.

10:30 a.m.: Finals for a “A” multiplication of a IFPA pinball tournament.

Noon: Finals of a Street Fighter 3rd Strike competition

1 p.m. The Cyber Troopers Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram contest starts and Robbie Lakeman starts his try during scoring 1 million points on Donkey Kong.

1:30 p.m.: Finals of a Capcom vs. SNK 2 competition.

3 p.m.: Award rite for a GravitreX competition.

3:30 p.m.: Award rite for a “Colossal Control: Contra” competition.

4 p.m.: Pinball Rodeo endowment ceremony.

4:30 p.m.: Firebird Pinball’s “Best of Show” awards ceremony

6 p.m.: ZapCon ends. 

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