Seven Days in Sin City

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For the last couple of years, I’ve made the trip out to Las Vegas after Thanksgiving to take part in Amazon AWS re:Invent. Last year’s trip chronicle can be found here: http://arcadeshenanigans.com/blog/2017/12/2/vegas-arcade-y-goodness-at-amazon-aws-reinvent?rq=vegas

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AWS is Amazon’s technology and web-services division. Before Microsoft pushed the branding of “Cloud” into the collective conscience with Microsoft Azure, AWS was already there and already disrupting the industry in creative ways. The over-simplified Genesis story of AWS was that Amazon built highly scalable and resilient web-services platforms to serve Amazon’s growing needs. Someone on Andy Jassy’s team emoted: “Hey, I’ll bet we could see this stuff.” and presto-change-o, Amazon Web Services was formed.

In 2018, Amazon Web Services had around $26 billion in revenue and have a profit margin 5x larger than Amazon Retail in North America. AWS averaged 28% operating profit margin while AWS North American Retail averaged 5.1%.

All this to say, AWS is kind of a big deal and this annual conference is pretty massive. It takes up the majority of the Las Vegas strip.

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This means lots of walking :)

This means lots of walking :)

But what does this have to do with Arcades and Gaming? Re-Invent, knowing their nerd audience tends to work gamer references into the curriculum.
Last year, the certification materials were based on the theme of an 8-bit adventure. This year, a Pac-Man reference during a keynote discussion about Machine Learning advances.

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re:Play Party

The end of the work-week feature the re:Play party. Three football-field sized venues, this year erected on the Festival Grounds.

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Building One is the Club Tent, featuring DJ acts, a respectable collection of classic arcades. Skrillex was the headline act.

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New York, New York

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Exploring Vegas after the conference, I always try to drop in the Arcade at New York, New York. Here you find most of the recent Stern releases. The machines are well maintained and there is never a line to play.

Pinball Hall of Fame

The Pinball Hall of Fame is a $12 Uber trip from hotels on the strip. Rumor has it that it is moving closer to the strip in 2019.

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Each time I’ve been to Pinball Hall of Fame on a weeknight it is almost always empty of patrons. There were a few folks running around servicing games, this time.

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The parking lot of Pinball Hall of Fame.  It was a ghost-town.

The parking lot of Pinball Hall of Fame. It was a ghost-town.

A Gamer’s Paradise

Next door to Pinball Hall of Fame (in an adjoining parking lot) is a non-chain classic gaming store.

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The store has arcades and pinballs in the back (for sale at typical retail markup) and a vast collection of classic console gaming items at a fair price. I picked up an Atari 2600 and had it shipped home.

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Home Sweet Home

I’m not much of gambler and 7 days is really too long, especially around The Holidays. I was very-glad for the flight home and the quiet sanity of Alabama. :)

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