American Classic Arcade Museum
Located at Funspot
"Best arcade in the world!"
Paul Drury, Retro Gamer Magazine
Pac-Man graphic
Pac-man Fever Returns
Weirs Beach Tournament Draws Fans Of Pioneering Arcade Games,
Features Performances By "Chiptune" Bands
At one point games like Frogger, Pac-Man and Centipede were brand new, full of levels not yet reached and fingerwork still untested.

The tunes would linger in your brain, really getting in there and making themselves at home long after game over.

D&D Sluggers performing
MAKING MUSIC: As part of a genre known as chiptune, D&D Sluggers meld traditional rock instruments like electric guitars and synthesizers with sounds from home video game consoles and arcade machines. The group will play the annual Classic Video Game Tournament at Funspot Family Entertainment Center and American Classic Arcade Museum in Weirs Beach.
These machines defined cutting edge, and every kid had to go to the arcade and play them.

"And just like anything, it goes through a transition," said Gary Vincent, president of the American Classic Arcade Museum at Weirs Beach. "And then it becomes, 'Oh, yeah, it's kind of okay.' Then it becomes passe, then it becomes junk. And then all of a sudden, it becomes collectable. And then collectable gets rolled into 'classic'."

And that's where we're at. Which is why it's no surprise that for the past 14 years the International Classic Video Game Tournament has been a success. The four day event will run Thursday, May 30, from noon to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1, from 10 am to 11 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm at The Funspot Family Entertainment Center on Route 3 in Weirs Beach, where the arcade museum also resides.

Chiptune Bands

Helping to make the old new again at this year's tournament will be the bands D&D Sluggers and CrunkWitch. Playing in a genre known as "chiptunes," these musicians create songs not only by sampling sound from classic Gameboys, Play Station 2s, Commodores and Amigas, but using the sound chips as their instruments.

"It sounds very eight-bit, early '80s-arcade backing music," Vincent said. "I know that D&D Sluggers mixes in guitar as well." Vincent said he first heard the band, one of only 200 active chiptune bands in the country, at the The Escapist Expo 2012 in Durham, N.C.

"And I thought, 'Wow this is really upbeat, fun music, and these are two really high-energy guys. When you sit and you talk with them, they are very mellow and laid back. It's a very exciting show for a two-person group."

Tim White and Dustin Overcash make up the North Carolina-based band. White said though chiptune has been around for awhile, the genre's always been a bit underground.

"It was kind of a hobbyist thing," he said. "For the most part there's a really, really wide range now from people who are hobbyists all the way up to full-fledged touring bands and the like."

While D&D Sluggers is more chiptune-meets-rock and roll, many chiptune artists find a home in the electronic music scene, while others actually are using it to make scores for video games and small independent films.

"A lot of people treat it like it's a niche, but really it's just a different way to go about creating music. It's just another tool," White said. "I do like that there are more people treating it as such."

MUNCHING & LEAPING: The chance to check out classic animated characters like Pac-Man and Frogger once more will draw video game enthusiasts to the Lakes Region for an annual tournament.
The tournament itself will feature competitive play on 15 classic game titles and five games in the annual Manufacturer's Challenge. Vincent said he gets garners coming in from around the world for the event.

Hitting the Road

"People are making this a vacation," he said. "Instead of just coming for one day of the tournament, they are coming for all four days. Some are arriving the week before and staying two weeks.

"You know a lot of the people who compete in the tournament... were teenagers when these games first came out. So now you've got these guys who are 40 to 50 coming out with their wives and kids in tow, and they just make it a family vacation."

To keep a level playing field, tournament games will not announced until the first day of the event. In addition to the prizes awarded for the Tournament and the Manufacturer's Challenge, the top score set on each of the 15 main tournament games and the five manufacturer's tournament games also will garner prizes. In addition to monetary prizes there also will be a commemorative trophy.

Cost to compete in the tournament is $60 and includes 250 game tokens. The first 100 registrants receive a commemorative T-shirt and goodie bag. Register at the door. For details visit

Reprinted from the Union Leader

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