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Step back in time with arcade classics (pictures)

California Extreme celebrates coin-operated pinball machines, video games, and arcane arcade artifacts.

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James Martin
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1 of 17 James Martin/CNET

Classic-era pinball

Electro-mechanical pinball machines from the classic era of pinball. Here, left to right, we see Gottleib's Big Hit from 1975, Williams' Pat Hand from '77, and Gottleib's Sing Along from '67.
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2 of 17 James Martin/CNET

Atlantis, 1977

Gottleib's Atlantis, from 1977, designed by Ed Krynski and Jeff Brenner, with art by Gordon Morison.
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3 of 17 James Martin/CNET

Arcade evolution

The enthusiasts who put on California Extreme are serious about the evolution of gaming.
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Pac-Man

Of course the classics are available. Pac-Man is always a crowd favorite.
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LED retrofit

This Solid State Electronic Williams Firepower pinball machine from 1980 has had all its lights replaced with LEDs.
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Donkey Kong

Nintendo's classic arcade game Donkey Kong, released in 1981.
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Atari's Star Wars

Atari vector graphics game Star Wars, released in 1983 simulates the attack on the Death Star from the final act of "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope."
According to the Killer List of Video Games, an IMDB-like site, Star Wars is considered the No. 4 most popular game of all time.
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8 of 17 James Martin/CNET

Setting up California Extreme

Rows of silent pinball machines wait to be powered up for this weekend's California Extreme classic arcade games show.
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9 of 17 James Martin/CNET

Joust art

The art on the side of Joust, on this original machine developed by Williams Electronics and released in 1982, features a knight riding a flying ostrich.
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10 of 17 James Martin/CNET

Space Invaders art

The art on the side of one the earliest shooting games, Space Invaders, released in 1978, was designed by Tomohiro Nishikado.
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11 of 17 James Martin/CNET

Setting up shop

As video games are rolled in on dollies, the Illinois Pinball Company from Bloomington, Ind., sets up shop, selling pinball parts, including hard to find transistors and game art.
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12 of 17 James Martin/CNET

It's not all fun and games

In addition to pinball and arcade games, there are also quirky mechanical toys, like this fortune teller.
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13 of 17 James Martin/CNET

The mechanical band

For 10 years, this mechanical band sat at Pixar in Emeryville, Calif., in disrepair.
When a few employees banded together to revive it last year, it took a lot of work. Using Arduino, they developed a MIDI interface to control the characters, each with a separate board. It's a work in progress, but with any luck, the band will be back together this weekend.
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Loading in

The California Extreme pinball and arcade show started in 1997. Last year was the biggest year, with 504 machines loaded into the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara.
On Friday afternoon, the room was about half full, but filling up quickly.
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15 of 17 James Martin/CNET

Test your grip

Another one of the non pinball or arcade games is a vintage "Test Your Grip" attraction.
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16 of 17 James Martin/CNET

Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting is part of the experience for many of these gaming enthusiasts.
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17 of 17 James Martin/CNET

The game that started it all

Pong is one of the original video games, and was originally manufactured by Atari Incorporated and released in 1972.

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