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
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.
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.
The end of the work-week feature the re:Play party. Three football-field sized venues, this year erected on the Festival Grounds.
Building One is the Club Tent, featuring DJ acts, a respectable collection of classic arcades. Skrillex was the headline act.
New York, New York
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.
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.
A Gamer’s Paradise
Next door to Pinball Hall of Fame (in an adjoining parking lot) is a non-chain classic gaming store.
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.
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. :)