Three years. That's how long it had been. The COVID pandemic shut the world down only a few months after our 20th anniversary event in Nov. 2019, three years ago. The illness made it no longer safe to be among crowds, so we had to put SC3 on hiatus. It was certainly nothing we expected or wanted to do, but COVID had other plans.
But that was then. COVID is very much still a real thing, but we've come a long way toward getting it under control, and the world has largely emerged from lockdown. Finally we decided it was time for SC3 to do the same. In August we posted a photo of a previous event with the simple (and now that we think about it, slightly ominous-sounding) caption, "November 12th 2022: The Return..." and just like that, SC3 was on its way back!
SC3 has always been about remembering and reconnecting with the history of video games. November 12's event was no different, but this time felt like a re-connection with ourselves. Three years may not sound like a long time, but these particular three years have felt... way longer. Returning to SC3 was simultaneously familiar and strange. More than once we caught ourselves feeling like it had been decades, not years, since the last event. But it was great to finally be back, no matter how long it has been.
We really weren't sure how large of a crowd to expect for this event. We knew some people were anxiously awaiting SC3's return, but given the long hiatus we didn't know what to anticipate. We were pleased when about 120 people showed up – including many familiar faces we hadn't seen for years! We missed you all, and we were glad that the long delay hadn't dampened your enthusiasm for playing Blazing Lazers before chowing down on pizza while watching Ready Player One. But really, we had no cause to be concerned. Who wouldn't be enthusiatic about doing all that?
While vintage arcade machines are always on hand at our backyard events, this one was overloaded with home consoles, including another that made a return after a long absence: the Atari Jaguar. Atari's wildcat hadn't shown up at SC3 for a while but was back in full force, with multicart! Making its SC3 debut was an MSX2, the Japanese personal computer famous for launching Metal Gear and boasting unique games in the Castlevania and Xevious series. Rik from Handheld Games Museum brought his familiar parcel of '80s VFD mini-arcade machines, while William D. covered the large end of the screen-size scale with his NeoGeo AES setup. Altogether, the machines (and the rented patio heaters) kept the backyard warm on what was otherwise a very chilly evening.
Major thanks to Steven from Lost Levels Arcade for organizing the raffle, which boasted one of the largest spreads we can remember seeing. Always a big draw, the raffle tables were overflowing with everything from Magnavox Odyssey screen overlays to Genesis consoles to storage containers made to look like boxed Famicom carts. Thanks again to Steven and his crew as well as everyone who donated. We're sure everything went to a good home.
Thanks to Juan for coming through with some last minute arcade repairs. Special thanks to Sean and Lorraine for help during setup, and double thanks to Lorraine for her tireless service handing out food and beverages. One of our main organizers wasn't able to make it this time so we were a bit short-handed, but volunteers helped fill the gaps. Thanks to everyone who hung around after the event, breaking down tables and chairs and cleaning up the food area! It is much appreciated! And as always, thanks to every one of you who showed up and chipped in a donation to keep us in the black.
It's good to be back!