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Steve W

Posts: 157
Steve's Awesome ACAM Tourney Review
on 6/4/2012 7:38:16 PM

Thought I'd give my account of the weekend, my thoughts on the games themselves and anything else I can think of after my drive home...

First off, big thanks to Gary, Mike, David and all the folks at ACAM for their hospitality and hard work this weekend. Also much thanks to all of the score takers who did an outstanding job on a very difficult task with that amount of people and games to keep an eye on.

Major congrats to Mike and Jason for winning the 2 tourneys as well as Greg, Kelly and Clint for winning the pins challenges as well. Awesome job guys!

It was great to meet some new faces as well as see all the old familiar ones though we certainly missed you at this one Robert.

OK.....onto the games......

Thursday I decided to try my hand at the manufacturer's challenge since I'd played Wacko a bit in the past and Kroozr looked ok. Lazarian looked like I could pick it up ok but Blueprint looked annoying and I'm not a fan of anything Pac related.

After the 1st day it became clear that Jason was going to topple this challenge so I shifted my focus on Friday to trying break 100k on Rally-X. With the amount of tokens I spent on that thing on Friday I probably could have bought a Rally-X cabinet. Frustrated by my failure to top 100k, I turned my attention on Saturday to qualifying for the main tourney, in case I did break the 100k at some point. Sunday I played more Rally-X and a few more games that I ended up liking.

Manufacturer's Challenge:

1. Blueprint - One of my most disliked games this weekend. What kind of a weapon has a shoe? Honestly? Why do I need to play a game that makes me remember where I've been already? Why can't I fire the weapon on my own after all the frustration of building it? Why do the dropped plants turn into bouncy things? Too many questions unanswered and after about 4 plays of this I quit trying to find answers.

2. Kosmik Krooz'r - This game is neat but I don't like the presence of the whirlwind so early in the game and at such a high speed. I managed to figure a few things out in this game but I'm not sure how often I would play it had I had one locally to play. Not bad though.

3 Lazarian - I didn't think I'd like this all that much but it ended up being my 2nd favorite in the manufacturer's challenge. I like the 4 way directional Vanguard shooting but I dislike the fact that you carry over your (lack of) fuel from the shoot through the mess stage into the shoot the eye stage. The eye takes too much time sometimes and your fuel depletes quite quickly after a few loops. Not bad though.

4. Super Pac-Man - I dislike this

5. Wacko - Easily the best game in this challenge. Great control scheme, fun/different game play and decent in game sounds. Collision detection and your hitbox is a bit faulty at times but that can add to the fun of all the cursing you heard from this game this weekend. Good settings too with the extra men much further spread apart for the event than default.

Main Tourney:

1. Armored Car - Too much Pac-like for me. I feel claustrophobic in games like this where I'm boxed in all the time. I played this 2x, once to figure out what I'm supposed to do and another time to qualify. I will not play this one repeatedly.

2. Astro Blaster - I don't like games where no matter how many lives I have, my game ends if some other event takes place. "The End" comes to mind as well. I played this once and that was enough for me.

3. Buggy Challenge - I started off not liking this but it kinda grew on me. I still think the controls are a bit awkward in that the car should be more responsive and the ice level is unfair but it wasn't too bad. I played this maybe 4x.

4. Carnival - I've played this before sparingly and just played this 1x to get a score in but got some great tips from Fred after the tourney on it which I promptly forget unfortunately. Hopefully they come back when I go back to Philly Barcade to play it again.

5. Depthcharge - I played this 2x this weekend and don't wish to play it again. I realize there is strategy, skill, etc but it's so painfully slow watching my charges hopefully hit something, I feel out of control and it's frightening. I'll pass.

6. Gaplus - I played this once during the Galaga challenge last year I think just to get a score in, then this year I watched how you can get 5 ships latched together or whatever and played it a couple of times this weekend. I like it, pretty fast paced gameplay.

7. Jump Bug - I started off hating this game with all my being. The control scheme was frustrating and the game seemed glitchy. Then I watched Johnny play and played probably 3 or 4 games of it this weekend. It's ok, concept is decent, execution is not IMO.

8. Life Force - I played this a couple of times this weekend, not my type of game. I don't like to remember where to sit, etc.

9. Mad Planets - I had heard very good things about this game so I was looking forward to trying it. It was outstanding. I played 4 or 5 games of this including my final game of the tourney where I had 185k or something with about 6 or 7 ships in reserve when I had to kill off my game to get the score in. I'd like to keep playing this title in the future if I can find one locally, it is my kind of game and I'd like to pursue a score on it after playing it only a handful of times this weekend it grew on me very much.

10. Minefield - Gameplay I kinda liked, I didn't care too much for the control scheme remembering to use my thumb for the missiles was a bit annoying but one of the better titles in this thing. I played this 3x I believe.

11. Mr.Do's Wild Ride - I dislike all things Do and this was no exception. I personally don't think this was a great choice for a tourney game quite honestly as there is too much repetition/memorization involved. I played this once, got the diamond and killed off my game when I called the ref over so that the score didn't disappear for winning a free game.

12. Rally-X - One of my favorite games to get my ass kicked by, this weekend was no exception. I played the hell out of this. My hats off to Matt Dubrey for edging me out on it, I sure as hell tried to crack 100k and couldn't get it done. I would have liked to meet Matt to share some strategies, etc on this but I don't think I knew him. If you are out there Matt...nice work!

13. Space Dungeon - Taito rules as does this game. I only played this once this weekend since it was always crowded and I just wanted to qualify but I've played it in MAME before. Awesome game and great settings for this challenge made it even better.

14. Space Encounters - The screen messed with my head/eyes like Tunnel Hunt did last year. I don't like the non-self centering yoke too much and repetitive play. I played it 2x.

15. Space Fury - I had played this in the past at Richie's and am a fan of this title. I probably got about 8-10 games in on this one this weekend.

So all totaled other than Rally-X (which I probably played over 100x this weekend) I played literally a total of 40 times or so across all the games in the main tourney this weekend so don't take my game reviews to heart too much, probably not enough time spent on the games to make an accurate assessment but those are my initial thoughts. This keeps in line with my main focus for my vacation which is to see all my friends, go out to dinner and drink beer.....and play a few games here and there.

Always, always a blast and this year was no exception. Hope everyone had a great time and got home safely. Looking forward to next year already.



Steve W

Posts: 157
RE: Steve's Awesome ACAM Tourney Review
on 6/4/2012 9:24:59 PM
Forgot to mention....

These were my guesses for the tourney games this year. I managed to hit on a few.

Manufacturer's Challenge: Bally/Midway

1. Wacko
2. Kosmik Kroozer
3. Discs of Tron
4. Solar Fox
5. Wizard of Wor

Main Tournament:

1. Black Widow
2. Space Dungeon
3. 720
4. Bosconian
5. Gravitar
6. Mad Planets
7. Monaco GP
8. Space Fury
9. The End
10. Turkey Shoot
11. Canyon Bomber
12. Dragon Spirit
13. Kangaroo
14. Rip Off
15. Woodpecker


Posts: 67
RE: Steve's Awesome ACAM Tourney Review
on 6/4/2012 10:13:11 PM
Definitely Woodpecker. Having a nice caberet section with astro blaster, space encounters and wood pecker


Posts: 116
RE: Steve's Awesome ACAM Tourney Review
on 6/4/2012 11:24:31 PM
Hi Steve:

AWESOME write-up, Steve !!

In response to some of your pre-event choices...

3. Discs of Tron - problem with score staying on-screen long enough for a ref to see

11. Canyon Bomber - was in previous/recent tourney
12. Dragon Spirit - score retention issue for additional credits...not easy for a referee to keep track of during a tourney
14. Rip Off - I donated this one awhile back and was unaware that they finally got it working...when it was received back in 2002-2004 or so it was in deplorable condition (purchased off Ebay from a vendor who substantially downplayed its "issues"

Some titles can't be selected for the event for a number of reasons, When you take a roster of 250-300 titles, strip out those from the last few years' events, then any title which is not conducive to tournament play, and those that are not in good working order at the time of the event, that probably and substantially reduces the overall roster of what remains to select from.

Just some observations.



Posts: 67
RE: Steve's Awesome ACAM Tourney Review
on 6/5/2012 12:28:03 AM
Well maybe next year we can all get the the game list a month in advance just like..umm...should I drop names?


Posts: 116
RE: Steve's Awesome ACAM Tourney Review
on 6/5/2012 5:55:47 AM
Please one knows the final selection roster of games in advance except the ACAM Board of Directors.

About 30-40 titles and maybe even more are considerered prior to an event and vetted for issues such as score retention from a second credit, leeching tactics, scores disappearing before a referee can take it down, and a number of other possibilities.

The final selection may even include last minute additions to the ACAM collection all depending on whether they are brought up to speed prior to the event.

Thus no tourney participant has fore-knowledge of the final roster beforehand.

Technically, however, everyone does...just master all 250+ games in the ACAM roster before the event and come out swinging !! And since the floor collection is known at any given time, this is like knowing what 10 events are going to be in the Olympic Decathlon four years in advance. So practice hard and success ye shall find.


Posts: 10
RE: Steve's Awesome ACAM Tourney Review
on 6/5/2012 12:16:01 PM
Robert, you were missed this year.

No one knows what the game titles are, period. The amount of last minute scrambling done to finalize the game list will always prevent anyone from knowing all the titles. Thirty year old electronics have alot to do with why we have to scramble.

Mastering all of ACAM's games won't help either as we always have a skunk works bringing out games you haven't seen or haven't seen since the 80's.


Posts: 116
RE: Steve's Awesome ACAM Tourney Review
on 6/5/2012 11:30:35 PM
I have to admit that when I heard "Space Encounters" was part of the mix I was stunned...I had not seen that title since around 30 years ago. Goes to show what you just said...even mastering all the ACAM titles will only be so helpful as anything can happen for the tourney.

ACAM Admin

Posts: 21
RE: Steve's Awesome ACAM Tourney Review
on 6/11/2012 3:52:50 PM

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