July 8, 2009 6:00 PM | Eric Caoili
This weekend, the Santa Clara Convention Center will host California Extreme, an annual show where attendees can play over 400 new and classic pinball/video games brought by collectors for free after paying an admission fee ($35 for Saturday, $30 for Sunday, and $60 for the entire weekend).
Now in its 13th year, CAX will host three pinball tournaments -- one each for modern, solid state, and electromechanical machines -- with each tournament's prize pool expected to exceed $1,500. The show will also have side events like pinball tournaments for kids and casual players, as well as a time challenge called The Gauntlet.
CAX will also feature a new sponsored attraction, the Guitar Hero Arcade World Championship, in which the grand prize winner will take home a Wii console, a full bank kit, and four Guitar Hero games (Smash Hits, World Tour, Aerosmith, Guitar Hero III). The competition's top 15 players will all win prizes such as wireless drum and guitar kits.
Over a dozen speakers are scheduled to deliver presentations, such as pinball design legend Steve Ritchie and other Atari vets like Allan Alcorn, Owen Rubin, and Mike Hally. The Rock-afire Explosion, the 2008 documentary about the Showbiz Pizza Place's animatronic robot band and its fans looking to revive the group, will also have a special screening on Saturday night. You can read the full speaker/presentation schedule here.
As for the 400+ pinball and video games, CAX has a page listing all of those, too. Some of the show's rarities include Nolan Bushnell's Computer Space, one of the first arcade games in history; and Cinematronics’ Warrior, recognized by many as the first one-on-one fighting game.
Several prototypes will also be on the show floor, such as Atari's shooter Akka Arrh, which was market tested but deemed too complex for average players; Exidy's super rare fixed shooter (only one cabinet ever produced) Teeter Torture; and Atari's unreleased and unfinished Beavis and Butt-Head game (pictured).