ACAM Poster

ACAM holds an annual tournament at Funspot in New Hampshire. Of course you knew that!

I have participated in 4 of the last 5 tournaments. They are by far the funnest gaming events I have been to. Around 100 players compete for the highest score on 20+ games. The tournament runs from Thursday at noon to Sunday at 5. Plenty of time to get used to the games, get good at the games, watch others play and of course hang out with your buds.

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Why Roadtrips Matter

In the middle of the coldest February on record, I decided to load up the van and take my wife and kids on a short road-trip to the grand re-opening of Richie Knucklez arcade in Flemington, New Jersey.

Because this was a last minute decision, we only planned on being away one night. That meant we would drive 16 hours total to get about 5 hours of arcade time. My kids were pumped, I was pumped, my wife was wondering what craziness I was going to get us all into.

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Collecting Classic Arcade Games

When you walk into most any video game arcade today, such as those found in Putt-Putt Fun Center and Chuck E. Cheese’s, you’ll see kids, teenagers, twenty-somethings, and parents milling about nicely carpeted, brightly lit areas, compulsively feeding tokens into hulking dance machines, three-dimensional first-person shooters, multi-player racecar simulators, and other such lavishly produced coin-op games.

Also prevalent are ticket redemption games, which typically offer a brief, mildly entertaining challenge (such as the skillful timing of a single button press) and, if the player is successful, a string of tickets to redeem at a prize counter. Ticket redemption games usually lack substance, (though there are some exceptions, such as skee ball), and their prizes are cheaply produced and/or way too expensive (anything of value typically costs hundreds or thousands of tickets). Most old-school arcade purists resent the ubiquitous nature of ticket redemption games, but kids seem to love their slot machine-like qualities.

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Mike Begum – Competitive Gamer

“Handicapped. Disabled. Physically challenged. Crippled. Abnormal. Different. Every word to describe what I was, I’ve heard it all. Twenty-five years of living it all out. I've felt trapped, incapable, useless, and extremely dependent of others during the course of my usual day. My only escape is my perfectly capable mind. Something I have been blessed with all my life.”

So begins devoted gamer Mike Begum’s newly released autobiography, My Life Beyond the Floor, an 87-page e-book chronicling his adventures as a son, a brother, a friend, a survivor, and, perhaps most relevant to readers of this magazine, a serious competitor. Despite severe physical limitations, Begum, who wrote the book by holding a chopstick in his mouth, competes in video game tournaments throughout Texas and, recently, has been traveling to various competition events across the country.

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Video Game Board Games

It goes without saying that video game collectors love playing games, especially those with a built-in monitor or that hook up to a television set. Many video game enthusiasts also enjoy pinball, computer simulations, handheld electronic devices, DVD games, and the like.

But what about good, old-fashioned board games—the kind with a foldout board and various game pieces, such as tokens, cards, and/or dice? (Games for the original Magnavox Odyssey and games in the “Master Strategy Series” for the Odyssey2 don’t count—no screens allowed!)

The answer, at least for some video game gurus, is a definitive “yes.”

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