NEWS: Best of ZapCon Winners!

Picking the best of the best is a difficult task, this year at ZapCon was no exception. People brought down some truly amazing games. Thank you to everyone for sharing, and thank you especially to the following people, who brought down some of the most amazing games of all.
Here are the Best of ZapCon award winners for 2019, along with a few honorable mentions.

This year’s awards were especially sweet, with LED illumination and real pinballs!
We added a few extra goodies to the gift bags each winner received. Thanks to D&D Pinball, Marco Specialties, and the Electric Bat arcade for helping us laud our winners.
Winners were announced at the end of the day Sunday in a big ceremony in the lobby.
Our first award – Fan Favorite Pinball – was probably the most decisive award we’ve ever had! We had more people vote in our contest than ever before, and more people voted for Outpost Kodelia’s custom Black Hole than for anything else. The judges wanted to give it an award too, but we can only laud one game so much. Hands down, the work these ladies put into their game is impressive, and from the game re-design to the programming to the 3-D printing, this machine was well-made. Great job, Kaydee and Olivia Helms!
The Black Hole (based on the Disney movie from 1979) attracted a steady stream of players all weekend, and Kaydee and Olivia had their own booth to show it off.
Our second big award – Fan Favorite Arcade Game – went to Scott Goldsmith, for an upright Pac-man that looked even better than when it originally left the factory floor. Everything about this game was perfect, and even non-collectors noted how great it looked. Sometimes the classics still rule.
Here’s that Pac-man, in all its glory. Great work, Scott, and thanks for everything you do for the local arcade community.
We assembled a crack team of judges this year for our next four awards, and the experts were quick to praise the Flash Gordon brought down by Ben Baraldi and his family. The game was restored by local expert Chris Spaseff, and Ben was nice enough to share it with the masses for the first time this year. The judges praised the quality of the restoration work, and couldn’t stop talking about how well the game played. They gave it their Restoration Award. Thanks, Sara and Maribel for accepting the award!
Here’s that beautiful game in all its glory.
Judges gave their Best Pinball award to this Lord of the Rings, brought down by Jeff Goad. The game played great, and looked amazing, thanks to the illuminated art blades, which flashed in sync with the game. Local restoration hobbyist Kevin Curtis helped with the mods, installing a Pinduino system to control the effects, and an extra GI circuit. Fans raved about the game as well.
Here’s a close-up of those blades. Wow!
Judges gave their Custom Game award to Multi Bowl, a crazy fun bit of work that utilized dozens of gaming systems to pit two players head-to-head in a completely random snippet of a completely random game. The game was created by Bennett Foddy and AP Thompson, who are based in New York, and brought to ZapCon by gurus Zack and Kevin. Thanks to everyone for working together to make this happen. This game was hysterically fun.
Here’s a peek inside the room where they played all weekend. You could generally find your way there by following the howls of laughter and cheers of victory.
Judges gave their last award – Best Arcade – to Major Havoc, brought down by Darryl Dancik. They praised the work Darryl did on this rare vector conversion game, putting the system in a dedicated cabinet the way it should have been in the first place. It was a blast to play. Thanks, Darryl!
There were a lot of other great games down in Mesa over the weekend, and this one had a furious last-minute surge that almost pushed it over the top. Who doesn’t love Battletoads?!
Our own Addams Family also received a ton of votes, and we were so happy that people liked the restoration work. Thanks, everyone!
There were a number of great arcade games that returned this year, and fans continued to show them the love. Previous winner Triangle Wars was a hit, along with the Starfighter game we saw last year, the still-mysterious Polybius, Mad Planets, and more.
This Raven conversion also generated some comments. Kudos also to the Artemis simulator, the Track & Field that Ryan brought all the way from Las Vegas, the Crisis Zone that This Old Arcade put together, Boxing Bugs (weirdly cool, one judge said), the Black Rose pinball machine, all 23 brand new Sterns, and the Four Million BC pinball game. There were so many more excellent games too!

Thanks again, everyone. Check out our previous award-winners here.
Now get some rest. And we’ll see you next year!