Get pwned at the California Extreme arcade extravaganza

Hundreds of arcade and pinball games are set on free play this weekend.

With hundreds of classic arcade games and hard to find pinball machines -- spanning decades of gaming mechanics, design, and artwork -- the California Extreme classic arcade games show will certainly be the place to pwn and be pwned this weekend.

Classic arcade consoles including Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Joust -- and even Pong -- will be on display, and all set on free play. The annual gathering of pinball wizards takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara.

You might get the high score for the weekend, or even win the tournament -- but the real treat of California Extreme is the passion in the room that touches on every facet of the popular culture of gaming. With documentary films, game musicians, talks with game artists, and even one of the developers of the original Ms. Pac-Man, Steve Golson, this is your chance to rub elbows with self-described "insane hobbyists" who own hundreds of machines.

The convention is in its 16th year, and the organizers do it for the love of the game -- a ragtag bunch of true game lovers. These are alpha-hobbyists who just love to play, and want to share that love. Some of them own 5 games, and some own 50, but this weekend they're all coming together to celebrate the history, art, and pure fun of the arcade.

About the author

James Martin is the staff photographer at CNET News, covering the geeks and gadgets of Silicon Valley. When he's not live-blogging the latest product launches from Apple, Google, or Facebook, James can be found exploring NASA, probing robotics labs, and getting behind-the-scenes with some of the Bay Area's most innovative thinkers.


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