Monday, October 5, 2015

Con-Man: Twin Galaxies Entertainment Festival

On Friday morning we ventured out to Banning, California past Riverside and next to Morongo Casino for the Twin Galaxies Entertainment Festival at the Museum of Pinball. This is a private eSports facility that's only open to the public a few times a year so we figured on making a weekend out of it. Driving out east is about the closest I get to feeling like I'm back in Ohio or the middle east of America as traffic is lighter and there isn't much to see besides fields and a surprising amount of semi-trucks. We posted up at the Holiday Inn which was surprisingly nice with a separate living room, kitchenette area, a little gym and a substantial breakfast that included eggs, cinnamon rolls and BISCUITS AND GRAVY! The Pinball Museum is tucked away by the airport in a nondescript series of structures. It wasn't very crowded with people but there were tons of games to be played. The Museum is split into two halves, one with arcade games and the other with pinball. We walked around the arcade a bit with classic games like Pacman, Galaga, Super Mario Brothers and a crazy Japanese version of Tetris where you play as a Disney character. Then you had your Street Fighter, Fatal Fury and King of Fighters section and another with shooters like Area 51, a Time Crisis with the machine gun, etc.

Over at the end was a red carpeted area set up for competition and early YouTube show host Jace Hall was holding it down. While there were plenty of 80's games, I was disappointed in the lack of 90's button smashing brawlers like Final Fight, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or X-Men. Rather than finding a holy grail title like Alien VS Predator or G.I. Joe, runners up like The Simpsons and Airwolf weren't working. Instead we found solace in the driving games section with Spy Hunter, Star Wars and the most fun game of the day, Crazy Taxi! Basically where you drive around picking up fares and are on the clock but cause wanton destruction on your way to KFC, Tower Records, the train depot and other spots.

Across the hall was the pinball section where the museum really had some historic and cool things. One room was set up with old school shooting games where you fired at model planes and cars or flashes of light signaled bullet hits. Pinball wise you had a ton of early models and lots of new age, flashing lights, licensed ones like Maverick, Hook, Last Action Hero, Robocop and Judge Dredd. There was also a bar on the pinball side with $7 cocktails so it wasn't too shabby. There were panels and competitions throughout the day then food trucks and a DJ outside. At $50 to get in, it was a bit expensive for what amounted to about 4 hours of being onsite and like I said, even with 800 games to play I was disappointed in the selection. But it was only one part of the weekend and a solid one at that. The next open event is ArcadeExpo scheduled for January, apparently you can camp out on their multi-acre compound for that one.

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