Last night’s Retro Game Bash at HeatSync Labs in Mesa was classic.

Why?

Well, I’ll give you three reasons:

1. The Games

Outside on the ground, Mario and Donkey Kong Jr were projected, and on the big screen and exception to the 8bit rule was made as a SFII tournament ensued. (It’s all about Dhalsim!)

After failing at Frogger, almost losing on a mercy rule in Pong, and repeatedly submitting to gravity on Jupiter Lander, I finally found my sweetspot – SmashTV on the NES! I had completely forgotten how much fun that hectic game is.

Just about any 8bits (or less) sytem you can think of made an appearance, and just as abundant were the 8bit t-shirts. Even some text based games made an appearance. Zork, anyone?

And, oh yes, there was some floppy disk 8bit strip poker going on (don’t worry, SFW).

2. The Memories

When I walked in, the first system I saw happened to play games from the first system I ever owned – the TI-99/4A. It was an old “computer” machine with a keyboard, two joysticks (with one button each) and a side slot for cartridges.

Did I play Hunt The Wumpus on it? You bet I did – they totally had it! I hadn’t played that since, I dunno, 1986? And I still remembered the music from the game.

Conversation varied slightly from station to station, but the silver thread throughout was always memories – summers spent indoors conquering games and Christmas mornings with new systems.

Which games we loved and why, which games changed the landscape, and guilty game pleasures.

(Enjoy this cheesy smile. Someone photoshop a sparkle on those teeth.)

(*Oh wow, Anabel actually did.)

3. The People

Of course, this is true with just about any local geek culture event. It’s the reason I do this blog in the first place.

The passion for technology, new and old, is infectious at HeatSync Labs – and playing games on paddles they made and systems they’ve restored added to the fun of the evening.

Across the street I got to meet some video game based artists, and run into some artist friends like Anabel Martinez, and chat with the folks at Evermore Nevermore.

Can’t wait for the next one, HeatSync!

(And I’d be down with a 16bit game night too. Let’s bust out some Altered Beast and Golden Ax!)

For a much more detailed report on the night, swing by this post.

So what were your favorite 8bit games/systems/memories?

I’m still impressed with how ahead of its time the original Metroid was.

And Mario 3 will always have a place in my heart, as well as Crystalis.