NEWS: Best of ZapCon Awards!

One of our favorite parts of ZapCon is handing out the Best of ZapCon awards!
Firebird Pinball is proud to have sponsored this contest since ZapCon was in its infancy, and we’ve seen it grow to become real bragging rights. It’s important to thank everyone who brought down games for the weekend. But it’s especially important to thank the people who brought the coolest games.
So without further ado, here are the 2024 Best of ZapCon winners. (Full pics of ZapCon 9 here.)

Winners received these awesome plaques this year, along with a goodie bag filled with treats, pinball swag, and a Camp Card, which supports our sons’ BSA troop.
We gave our first award to CW Goss, who built his Arzach pinball machine from the ground up. He also brought a Fathom scratch build to the convention. That’s definitely commendable! He received the Custom Pinball award.
Here’s a picture of that Arzach machine, which is based on the works of the artist known as Moebius.
The cabinet is especially cool!
We gave our second award to Outpost Kodelia, aka Kaydee and Olivia Helm and crew, for their customized Labrynth pinball machine. There were two Labrynths at the convention, and they both had long lines, but this one stood out to voters with its upgrades.
Here’s a picture of their game after all the fanfare had died down. This machine received the Fan Favorite pinball award.
Our next award went to Brian Tarasi for his cusom QB3 upright arcade. This game was a 1 of 1 unfinished prototype. Brian took the code, finished it, and built the game. That’s amazing! It received our Custom Arcade award.
Here’s a picture of the QB3. The lighting is off, but you can see the cool vectorized screen. This game was really fun to play, and people talked about it all weekend.
Our next award went to this guy, Derek Large, for bringing Computer Space down to ZapCon. As if Derek wasn’t busy enough helping run ZapCon, he also brought down one of the coolest games. This one received the Best Arcade Restoration award.
Kris had a ton of fun playing Computer Space, and everyone had fun talking about the back story to this game, and how it got scooped up at Goodwill for $20 at one point.
Released in 1971, Computer Space was the first arcade video game and has a storied history. There were up to 1,500 made but you hardly ever see them. They sometimes pop up for sale for around $10,000.
Our penultimate award went to the Table Flipper game brought down by the folks at Cobra Arcade. This game was hysterical, and had a huge line all weekend as everyone tried to experience the visceral joy of throwing your table and all of its toppings all over your family, friends, and coworkers. It received the Fan Favorite Arcade award.
And our final award, Best Pinball Restoration, went to Kevin Curtis and his Whitewater machine. This game was practically perfect, and a great Whitewater is always a joy to play. Kevin is becoming a restoration pro with his third Best of ZapCon win, and may be ineligible for amateur competitions soon!

 Thank you again to everyone who brought down games to this year’s ZapCon.
There were lots of great runners up and we should have honored Jan Bradberry for his beautifully restored pitch and bat. Kent Ponterio was awesome to bring down a whole row of restored arcade games, including Tora Tora, and Blue Shark.
There were an impressive number of custom arcades this year, with so many previous Best of ZapCon winners, including Space Paranoids, Super Space Fortress Macross, Triangle Wars, the Starfighter game, and Polybius.
And a big shout out to Gameroom Goodies and Dangerzone for bringing down the new titles and unseen games people really wanted to play.