NEWS: ZapCon Day One

Pinball in Arizona,Pinball in Phoenix,Zapcon 2 May 2017 | Comments Off on NEWS: ZapCon Day One

If you didn’t get the chance to get down to ZapCon this past weekend in Mesa, we’re sorry to say you truly missed out. This really felt like the best ZapCon ever, with the most machines and what seemed like the most people in the five years that we’ve all been at it. Check out all the fun we had on Day One!

ZapCon began bright and early on Saturday at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center St.

ZapCon began bright and early on Saturday at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center St.

There were lines out the door, eager gamers who knew they could get a few games on the best machines if they were first in line.

People started lining up way before the doors opened, eager gamers who knew they could get a few games on the best machines if they were first in line.

We were there bright and early, too, getting our Firebird Pinball booth set up just right. There's the boss doing the grunt work himself!

We were there bright and early, too, getting our Firebird Pinball booth set up just right. There’s the boss doing the grunt work himself!

Ah, much better! Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth and supported us!

Ah, now that’s a good-looking booth! Thanks to everyone who stopped by and supported us!

There were more than 330 games at ZapCon this year, including this gorgeous row of pinball machines. We took more than 15 games down ourselves.

There were more than 330 games at ZapCon this year, including this gorgeous row of pinball machines. We took  20 games down ourselves, including 15 pinballs in this row.

It was a beautiful sight to look out over this floor, rows and rows of happy machines and happier people filling the whole room.

It was a beautiful sight to look out over this floor, rows and rows of happy machines and happier people filling the entire room.

The convention quickly filled on Saturday, as families and friends jammed into the convention center. Nearly every machine had not only a new friend, but lines formed too.

The convention quickly filled on Saturday, as families and friends jammed into the convention center. Nearly every machine had not only a new friend, but lines were forming too.

Our restored Chicago Cubs Triple Play pinball machine drew raves. The boss clearcoated the playfield just in time for ZapCon. This game is still for sale, btw, folks!

Our restored Chicago Cubs Triple Play pinball machine drew raves. The boss clearcoated the playfield just in time for ZapCon. This game is still for sale, folks!

People really got into the spirit of ZapCon this year, including this little cutie, whose amazing mother made her a custom pinball dress! There were at least a dozen other arcade- or pinball-themed dresses and skirts on ladies of all ages, but this one was the very cutest!

People really got into the spirit of ZapCon this year, including this little cutie, whose amazing mother made her a custom pinball dress! There were at least a dozen other arcade- or pinball-themed dresses and skirts on people of all ages, but this one was the very cutest! She’s on our mini Galaga machine, which also was a hit all weekend.

Another popular spot all weekend: In front of these four brand-new Sterns! Altogether, folks bought 10 New-In-Box machines for the convention, and Marco Specialties delivered them straight to the convention center.

Another popular spot all weekend: In front of these four brand-new Sterns! Altogether, folks bought 10 New-In-Box machines for the convention, and Marco Specialties delivered them straight to the convention center.

Another big hit: The console room, which again featured these oversized Nintendo controllers. As though ZapCon weren't big enough, right?

Another big hit: The console room, which again featured these oversized Nintendo controllers. As though ZapCon weren’t big enough, right?

There were an amazing number of tournaments all weekend, too, and folks flocked to different parts of the convention center all weekend to play. Here's the Cyber Troopers set up. Folks loved this game!

There were an amazing number of tournaments all weekend, too, and folks flocked to different parts of the convention center all weekend to play. Here’s the Cyber Troopers set up. Folks loved this game!

There were official pinball tournaments in the back of the hall, an area packed to capacity all weekend.

There were official pinball tournaments in the back of the hall, an area packed to capacity all weekend.

Here's the women's champion, Mary Lopez, also proudly representing the new women's league, Belles & Chimes.

Here’s the women’s champion, Mary Lopez, also proudly representing the new women’s league, Belles & Chimes. Check out Belles & Chimes on FB too!

This was the trophy for the winner of the Pinball League of Phoenix, a selfie league that's operating in the East Valley. They custom made this for their championship on Saturday!

This was the trophy for the winner of the Pinball League of Phoenix, a selfie league that’s operating in the East Valley. They custom made this for their championship on Saturday!

Here's the lucky guy who got to take the belt home, James Kleve, signing the belt for posterity. His brother and father took the other two top spots. This family knows pinball!

Here’s the lucky guy who got to take the belt home, James Kleve, signing the belt for posterity. He’s taking it from last year’s champ, Jordan Night. His brother and their father-in-law took the other two top spots. This family knows pinball!

ZapCon, the only convention cool enough to give away TWO championship belts. This one was for the winner of the Random Fighters arcade challenge, where competitors tested their mettle on Street Fighter games. It was sponsored by This Old Arcade.

ZapCon, the only convention cool enough to give away TWO championship wrestling belts. This one was for the winner of the Random Fighters arcade challenge, where competitors tested their mettle on Street Fighter games. It was sponsored by This Old Arcade.

Here's the lucky guy who went home with this belt, amid chants from his friends of, "Nick's buying beer! Nick's buying beer!"

Here’s the lucky guy who went home with this belt, amid chants from his friends of, “Nick’s buying beer! Nick’s buying beer!”

This Old Arcade did a ton of video work at ZapCon. Check it out at their FB page and YouTube channel.

This Old Arcade did a ton of video work at ZapCon. Check them out at their FB page and YouTube channel.

Of course, the people-watching was great at ZapCon, as usual. We especially liked this guy, and he especially liked playing Alien: Exterminator!

Of course, the people-watching was great at ZapCon, as usual. We especially liked this guy, and he especially liked playing Alien: Exterminator!

Another interesting guy we met, the president of Marco Specialties. He came with his crew and booth because folks at ZapCon bought 10 new games. And he was happy to talk to everyone, and share some great stories. Thanks for your time, Marc!

Another interesting guy we met, Marc of Marco Specialties. He came with his crew and booth because folks at ZapCon bought 10 new games. And he was happy to talk to everyone, and share some great stories. Thanks for your time, Marc!

There were a lot of other vendors beside the Marco booth, an extra row this year in fact, to handle all the good stuff. Folks were thrilled about it, too, walking around all day with bags of cool stuff they'd found.

There were a lot of other vendors beside the Marco booth, an extra row this year in fact, to handle all the good stuff. Folks were thrilled about it, too, walking around all day with bags of cool stuff they’d found.

But mostly it was the games they came for, of course. Even we snuck out of the booth for a few rounds. Here, the boss tries a cool EM game. Good work, boss, you deserve a break!

But mostly it was the games they came for, of course. Even we snuck out of the booth for a few rounds. Here, the boss tries Flipper Cowboy, an EM pinball he’d never played before. Good work, boss, you deserve a break!

Check out our Best of ZapCon coverage too! And click here for Day Two pictures!

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