This past Saturday, March 31, I was able to attend the 8-BIT ARCADE! (LEVEL 2) event at the White Rabbit in San Antonio, hosted by ARTSLAM! San Antonio, and sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon and Montana. The premise for the event is to bring back the memories of childhood from going to the arcade, spending quarters upon quarters of our allowance money (or cash from our parents), learning team-building strategies from classic arcade co-op games like “The Simpsons,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time,” or “X-Men” with friends and complete strangers. Man, those were the days; too bad arcades (on a large scale) are pretty much dead in America (and NO, Dave & Busters does NOT count).
Anyway, the event hosted over 40 local and out-of-town artists painting video game themed art, and most of it was being painted LIVE on site. Much of the art could be purchased immediately, while some others were up and available for the event’s silent auction. I first heard of the event while lurking (and shopping) around at the local Game Over Videogames store in San Antonio at Park North, and received a flier which a sketch card area on the rear of it. The idea was that these sketch card fliers were made available all over the city, and if you brought a card to the ArtSlam event, you could ask an ARTSLAM! artist to sketch some game characters on it for you (I picked Sonic the Hedgehog, because, well, you may know why)!
Now, that was a lot of talk about art; LET’S TALK ABOUT GAMES! The good folks from Game Over Videogames had a booth where they were selling gaming merchandise. They even had a mini Neo-Geo Arcade stand-up unit that stood at about 5 feet tall, and I had to get down on my hands and knees just to play it comfortably (it was so cute, I wanted to just grab it and take it home), 30-min classic arcade gaming challenges to earn coins to redeem prizes (I rocked it on “Tapper,” but not so much on “Smash TV;” sad face), and hosted Primal Rage (ugh), Mortal Kombat II (yay) and Samurai Showdown (cool) tournaments.
But hey, what’s a video game event (or even a video game) without some tunes, right? The 8-BIT ARCADE! (LEVEL 2) event hosted a great lineup of bands and performers, including The Descendants of Erdrick (who play music from video games), Mrs. Howl, and MEGA MAN (who play music from all the classic Mega Man games; just in case you didn’t figure it out), with DJ ROCKWELL 9000 taking care of the music between the on-stage acts. I did manage to talk with the members of The Descendants of Erdrick for a little bit, as flutist (or “flautist,” if you prefer) Lauren Liebowitz heroically scavenged and searched for a band t-shirt in my size, and with bassist Chris Taylor, as we discussed our favorite Mega Man games (mine “Mega Man 3,” his “Mega Man 5” by logically combining the best two with simple math– Mega Man’s 2 & 3), and wondering why “Mega Man 1” had a scoring system and why “Mega Man 7” was not so good.
Check out the slideshow below to the 30+ picutres I took from ARTSLAM!, and enjoy. Maybe this was the litmus test I needed so I can start thinking about going to MAGFest next year…