By TIM CAMERATO | May 29, 2014 • From Citizen.com
Laconia — Robert Macauley hops on a flight from Adelaide, Australia, halfway around the world to Laconia every year for one reason: to compete in the International Classic Video Game Tournament at Funspot.
“I've been playing these things basically since they came out; they're the games I grew up with,” Macauley said. “There's nothing like this back home, so it's worth flying half way around the world for.”
Now in its 16th year, the tournament is known for drawing players from all around the world to compete against the best in classic gaming. From Thursday through Sunday, players will compete to win trophies and a grand prize of $750.
“We want to have everybody, at least from day one, start with as level a playing field as possible,” Vincent said. “We don't announce the titles ahead of time; we cover them up.”
Vincent said gamers competing this year are playing on games donated to the museum.
“Nothing up here is newer than about 1989, so it's a real time warp,” Vincent said. “There's almost 300 machines up here.”
The tournament has a fully automated scoring system using tablets. When a gamer receives a score they want to record, they raise their hand and a scorekeeper comes over and punches in the gamer's number and score. The score is then uploaded to aurcade.com.
“It provides and creates more competition,” Vincent said. “Last year, we logged about 4,500 scores over four days.”
Macauley said he looks forward to seeing what surprises the tournament throws at him.
“They always bring out games that no one knew they even had,” Macauley said. “Until they take those sheets off, only a few people that are involved with running it know what the games are going to be.”
He said he always like the friendly competition and seeing people that he normally can't see because of where he lives.
“All the different players come from all around the world, and they have records on different games, and some guys come each year,” Bond said.
He said those same gamers are also pretty open to sharing tips and tricks.
David Nelson is one of two players who has been to every tournament. He said he frequented Funspot while growing up in the Lakes Region.
“If you grow up in Laconia with this in your backyard, you grow up a video gamer,” Nelson said. “Doesn't matter how old you get. You're a gamer for life.”
He said he loves competition.
“I plan on doing well,” Nelson said. “It sounds egotistical, but I usually place in the top three. Last year was the first time I didn't.”
Jason Cram said he's been playing classic games at Funspot his whole life. He said classic gaming is different than the popular console games of today. He said there was more of an emphasis on gameplay in the old days.
“A lot of people that play new games, I've heard them say 'Oh. The old games, those are too easy,' but they haven't really played some of these games to see how hard they really are,” Cram said.
Cram said he's good friends with Nelson, and they're always neck and neck in the rankings.
“It's just fun competition,” Cram said.
Nelson said they can also be happy for each other when they win, unlike some others who play.
“If he comes in first and I come in last, I wouldn't be happier,” Nelson said. “I guess I could be happier. But I would be happy for him.”