Step back in time with arcade classics (pictures)
by James Martin
California Extreme celebrates coin-operated pinball machines, video games, and arcane arcade artifacts.
|Electro-mechanical pinball machines from the classic era of pinball. Here, left to right, we see Gottleib's Big Hit from 1975, Williams' Pat Hand from '77, and Gottleib's Sing Along from '67.|
|Gottleib's Atlantis, from 1977, designed by Ed Krynski and Jeff Brenner, with art by Gordon Morison.|
|The enthusiasts who put on California Extreme are serious about the evolution of gaming.|
|Of course the classics are available. Pac-Man is always a crowd favorite.|
|This Solid State Electronic Williams Firepower pinball machine from 1980 has had all its lights replaced with LEDs.|
|Nintendo's classic arcade game Donkey Kong, released in 1981.|
|Atari vector graphics game Star Wars, released in 1983 simulates the attack on the Death Star from the final act of "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope."
According to the Killer List of Video Games, an IMDB-like site, Star Wars is considered the No. 4 most popular game of all time.
|Rows of silent pinball machines wait to be powered up for this weekend's California Extreme classic arcade games show.|
|The art on the side of Joust, on this original machine developed by Williams Electronics and released in 1982, features a knight riding a flying ostrich.|
|The art on the side of one the earliest shooting games, Space Invaders, released in 1978, was designed by Tomohiro Nishikado.|
|As video games are rolled in on dollies, the Illinois Pinball Company from Bloomington, Ind., sets up shop, selling pinball parts, including hard to find transistors and game art.|
|In addition to pinball and arcade games, there are also quirky mechanical toys, like this fortune teller.|
|For 10 years, this mechanical band sat at Pixar in Emeryville, Calif., in disrepair.
When a few employees banded together to revive it last year, it took a lot of work. Using Arduino, they developed a MIDI interface to control the characters, each with a separate board. It's a work in progress, but with any luck, the band will be back together this weekend.
|The California Extreme pinball and arcade show started in 1997. Last year was the biggest year, with 504 machines loaded into the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara.
On Friday afternoon, the room was about half full, but filling up quickly.
|Another one of the non pinball or arcade games is a vintage "Test Your Grip" attraction.|
|Troubleshooting is part of the experience for many of these gaming enthusiasts.|
|Pong is one of the original video games, and was originally manufactured by Atari Incorporated and released in 1972.|