Maker House Arcade Showdown

Arcade Showdown © Matt Rios of Maker House

Arcade Showdown © Matt Rios of Maker House

Written by: Lisa Jo Roden Today, the American arcade is considered a thing of the past…but Maker House reserved some 1-ups to extend the life of game play in Tucson! On February 27th, Maker House facilitated the battleground for 20 of Tucson’s most skilled gamers in a retro arcade tournament featuring a lineup of diverse classics: Marvel VS. Capcom, SmashTV, Dr. Mario, Bionic Commando, Bust-A-Move, Frogger, Mortal Kombat 3, Raiden II, Centipede, and Robotron.
Tourney Competing for a Space Invaders Cocktail Cabinet © Lisa Jo Roden

Tourney Competing for a Space Invaders Cocktail Cabinet © Lisa Jo Roden


The tourney called for well rounded players as the scores of each game were recorded and averaged via webcams set up at a central command station. Besides the title, the contestants all had visions of owning the grand prize, a 1978 Space Invaders cocktail cabinet newly restored with laser cut space invaders floating in a nebulous galaxy far far away. The restorations are credited to resident fix it man, Matt Rios, who used Maker House’s laser cutter to complete the job, combining new tech with old in a way that benefits each.
Space Invaders Restoration

Space Invaders Restoration

The event was dubbed “nerd-vana” as gamers were surrounded by a video game themed art exhibition, console room, Wii hacking workshop, cosplay, video game swap meet and 8-bit music mix. The console room allowed gamers to play on  Sega, Atari, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Vectrex or Retro Rumble, a Multi Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) loaded with 8,000 retro games from the 70’s-90’s which will now be available anytime on free play at Maker House with MAJOR THANKS to Arcade In a Box.
Players in Console Room © AZ Bunbunmaru, Lisa Jo Roden

Players in Console Room
© AZ Bunbunmaru, Lisa Jo Roden

Hat’s Games, Fantasy Comics and Generation Cool  along with a couple of private collectors supplied a bunch of rare games, toys, comics and apparel to continue the fun at home.
Swap Meet & Vendors © AZ Bunbunmaru

Swap Meet & Vendors © AZ Bunbunmaru

Towering over the entire event was a mysterious cosplayer who was frightenly convincing as Darth Vader and even put the Force Choke on a couple of Imperial Commanders.
Star Wars Cosplay © Lisa Jo Roden

Star Wars Cosplay © Lisa Jo Roden

The event received some really stellar write ups from the Downtown Tucson Partnership and Tucson Weekly! ArtFire’s own Social Media Director, Victoria Rendón, put together this video to commemorate the experience: Arcade Showdown Video © Victoria Rendon
Other organizations preserving the golden age of video games include Artcade in Phoenix and Ground Kontrol in Portland, which holds tournaments and has over 90 retro games and pinball machines available for play. To find an arcade fit with retro games near you, check ArcadeLocations.net or GamerSpots.com for the largest most up to date directory.

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