850 miles were traveled, 9 games went up & 13 games returned. Another SFGE is in the bag. Boy, was it.. something..
“No plan survives first contact with the enemy”
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Q: What does proto-Germanic military philosophy, arcades & pinball and sailing all have in common?
A: SFGE 2019
von Moltke was trying to emphasize the need for battle plan flexibility two or three moves into the chess match of war.
Our group planned and operated under the goal of getting to SFGE early by staging games at a strategically agreed upon exfil waypoint a week early and scheduling our departure to SFGE with a couple hours of padding.
Round 1: Live Oak vs Budget Truck
Winner: Live Oak in a TKO
The wayward Oak limb peeled back a small portion of the cargo box roof like a sardine can. Once it reached the rear frame it nearly tore off the door frame. Inside the cab over the sound of the Diesel our volunteer driver didn’t hear a thing. Just a brake-warning light on the dash notifying something was amiss.
Did I mention Tropical Storm Barry? This is where the sailing analog comes in. In sailing, the act of changing course is a concerted effort between repositioning of the sails in relation to the wind along with corresponding rudder movements. One name for it is “Tacking.” You don’t turn a sailboat, you tack n-degrees to a new heading.
While we were waiting on a replacement truck a few small outer rain bands made it necessary to reposition the truck so that the wind could blow across the roof-tear, instead of against-it.
Fun Fact: You can have pizza’s delivered to “The stranded truck in Walmart parking lot at the cross-section of Street & Road”. :)
Also a good time to make note of the general awesomeness of our Arcade-Pinball friend-group. Everybody was super helpful and supportive. John, “Mike”, “Diesel-Daddy”, “Tree-Surgeon” Cast volunteered to take on the task of driver this year. Any one of us would have hit that tree limb in his situation and it was cool to see that everybody working towards solutions and being supportive.
After about 5 and half hours of waiting with an extraordinary effort from all involved, 9 games passed truck-to-truck through the bridge of doom from the Box Truck of Destiny to the Diesel of Destiny. Take notice of Nathan in this picture, heavy lifting. None of these games are even his! Just one example of this crew coming together to help as needed.
SFGE show opened this year at 3pm EST. Prudent planning would put games on the floor and ready to press start by 1 or 2 pm.
This is also a good time to shout out the show-volunteers. On their busiest day of the year we are bringing them a little hassle with our travel shenanigans.
“Should we still bring the games?”
As always, Joe & Micah extended nothing but kindness and grace to us during our communications with them. They showed us flexibility in our game-bringer benefits and load-in schedule and texted us several times during the day to check on us.
Then, when we do get there - these folks make all sorts of special concessions to let us move our games in out of the heat while the floor is open.
Seriously. Awesome. People.
The Game Room
Warehouse O’ Games
This year’s arcade & pinball room was a 36,000 sqft expansion into the neighboring Cobb Galleria Centre. The new space is massive and can be expanded to multiples of this size my moving the airwalls pictured on the right.
Most people I talked to about it were excited about the new space, especially those involved with moving games in and out. The old space funneled game load in through a single freight elevator and was sometimes a challenge for game exhibitors. The new space has an attached loading dock and numerous roll up doors for more concurrent load / unload action.
Last year, the games were split into two rooms and I really liked that it added a sense of discovery while navigating the two rooms. It was as if SFGE was a meta RPG; a gamer-quest to hunt and find games to play. 2018’s double-room layout was also carpeted, differed in lighting and sound than this year’s layout. I did hear 2018 people complain about being relegated to the “B” room. Personally, I loved it. :)
This new space puts the games in a shared space again. Easy load in / out but you do get hard floors, a louder room and temperature control problems in the sweltering Atlanta heat and jungle-like humidity of July. Can’t make everyone happy. Didn’t brainy-smurf event a weather-control thingy? We need that.
I stand behind the SFGE Event Volunteers and their decisions for 2020: I’m sure it will be a blast, they always find new ways to improve and grow.
Marco Specialties brought their sprawling display with an impressive smorgasbord of Stern pinball to choose from including Black Knight: Sword of Rage, Munsters, Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman 66 & Star Trek.
Little Shop of Games brought some JJP Willy Wonka’s, Suncoast Pinball Cosmic Carnival & more.
FlipNOut Pinball brought CGC Remakes of Monster Bash, Attack from Mars, Cosmic Carnival & more as well as the usual showing of Escalera's.
Classic Game Rooms brought selections from JJP, American Pinball, CGC & a giant Galaga.
Games that Stood Out
Monster Bash CGC emake
I had a bit of a crush on the Monster Bash Remake. It played identical to a nice original and the added RGB LED GI that is mode aware and giant color display are both welcome additions. For about 15 minutes I considered trading my Scared Stiff to get one but then it hit me: How awesome would this look next to Scared Stiff? #lifegoals.
I was surprised how un-stripped-down DeadPool Pro felt. Seriously, it is equipped like a Premium. I really liked the feel of the game, the way it shot & the animation style on the backbox LCD.
Wizard of Wor
Steve’s Wizard of Wor stayed up all weekend and was listed for sale at a reasonable price. I’m kinda shocked if it wasn’t picked up by someone. I almost texted him about 4 times about it, personally.
The Simpson’s Pinball Party
This one kinda hurt because TSPP is on my Pinball short-list. It was an excellent playing game listed at a great price but I just wasn’t in a place to bring it home right now. Someone did, though! Congratulations to whomever picked it up - this might be Stern’s greatest contribution to Pinball.
Style and Difficulty points for bringing a vector and it running all weekend. Well done / it played great!
Munsters Premium is an insanely beautiful box of blinking lights. The green flashers and purple scoop lighting contrasted perfectly on the B&W playfield. It was about 3 games before I started to pay attention to what was happening on the LCD backbox and that, too - was pretty great.
My one buy-goal for SFGE ‘19 was to bring home a new cabaret but alas it did not come to fruition. The ArcadeSD Ms Pacman played great, the Rally-X was beautiful and they got Missile Command Back up after this picture was taken. I really want to adopt them all but owners were not sellers this go around.
Willy Wonka is going to make JJP alot of money. If you like multi-flipper games and the WoZ light show - this is a game to check out. You get the crazy RGB insert animations of WoZ with the dream shot geometry that was missing in WoZ. I really enjoyed the few times I played it. It isn’t a theme for me, isn’t a pin for me - but I liked it alot. Wish I had one locally to go play.
Whatever the hell this is!
I don’t know anything about this game (yet) but I love the temerity of using human bones as controllers and eyeballs as buttons. Fun!
Mike’s Arcade Atlanta Annex
still working on this part of the post.. :)… come back tomorrow..
Because of our distance, I’ve been on the notion of trying to bring a limited number of quality games over quantity. For about 9 months I’ve been working on this Scared Stiff and used the SFGE Game Bringer’s Facebook group to be my accountability on the project. Last year, I took pictures and posted them of the game as it stood and declared in a wavering voice, “Yeah, I’ll bring this next year!”
There was a QR Code on the instruction card that pointed here: https://arcadeshenanigans.com/blog/2019/about-scared-stiff
Which also includes a link to the game log of everything I’ve done to the game so far.
Whenever I had the camera on me, I tried to snap a picture of people playing the game - just ‘cause.
The game was pretty solid all weekend, though we did have a late arrival (Friday night). There were a few stuck balls in the crate and the Mind Orbits shooter lost the insulator between the rod and the outer spring at some point.
The totally epic part of all this for me, is the voting contributors of the show voted the game for Best Modern Pinball. I really can’t state how awesome that made me feel, coupled with the myriad of compliments and text-offers I got on the game all weekend.
I didn’t realize the SFGE folks did real trophies. Talk about classing up the joint, I’ll be putting this somewhere in a place of honor in my gameroom near the machine!