In life, one will experience many firsts. The first kiss, the first time you hold your new baby, the first time that next-level-nerd friend invites you to Arcade Expo 4.0.

Now, you may be thinking that one of those is unlike the others, and (DING! DING! DING!) you’re right. What is this Arcade Expo 4.0 you speak of, and how come nobody invited me? Perhaps your buddies didn’t know about it, but odds are that they probably don’t like you that much and didn’t want to take you and have you to “bring the whole day down”.

How would I know that? They told me so we went out to lunch earlier this week. At your favorite restaurant.

They say hey!

Now, you’re probably wondering what’s so great about Arcade Expo 4.0. Why should I go? What exactly is it? 

To keep things simple, I have compiled a list with the major bullet points

  1. This three day, family friendly event will be home to over 1100 pinball and arcade games…on FREE PLAY! Once you get in the door, no need for quarters, baby!
  2. Try your shot at Hercules, the world’s largest pinball machine! Limited edish, can entertain 1-4 players at a time, this fella is so massive that it has to use a pool cue ball!
  3. What’s an expo without food and entertainment? It’s garbage, that’s what it is. Arcade Expo is not garbage. Eat, drink, and be merry with craft beer, food, and live bands each day!
  4. Camping. For the true pinball wizards of the world, this is directed at you. Set up shop, make new friends, put off showering for a few days. If you stink, people won’t want to be around you. One sure fire way to bogart that favorite machine of yours. Evil? Yes! Genius? Yes! Evil genius? You bet!
  5. Take a break and check out the many vendors that will be on site, stop by the silent auction, and wander around the swap meet/flea market (Saturday only, from 1pm-5pm)
  6. Meet celebrities!
  7. If you’re REALLY good at Donkey Kong, compete in the Kong Off!
  8. Johnny 5 will be around (Sunday only) and he wants to take a selfie with YOU!
  9. Guest speakers, celebrities, and tournaments, oh my!
  10. Did I mention craft beer and the over 1100 pinball/arcade games?!

If none of those sold you on the idea, then you might be a lost cause. I, for one, am ready to have a great time! Play your favorites, discover new ones, and meet people who love arcade games just as much as you do. There’s always the chance of setting a new high score on Polybius! 

I wasn’t raised with video games in the house. No, my parents weren’t against the idea of video games. my sister and I just led carefree, somewhat-feral childhoods. On weekends we left the house in the morning, pool hopped, played insane games of neighborhood-wide hide-and-seek, and didn’t come home until our dad whistled for us. Too busy for video games! Our neighbor friends had video games, but it was always a matter of minutes before we’d be back in the pool playing Marco Polo. What I do remember is how fun it was to go to an arcade. I can’t even being to tally the number of hours I spent playing Dance Dance Revolution. Or how stoked I was when I finally set the high score on Area 51! Hanging out with friends taking turns, learning how to hone in those mad skillz. It’s not something you can experience alone on your phone. The whole social component is lacking on a phone. That’s why I am so excited for this trip. I get to go with some hella nerdy folks, to do something I probably wouldn’t have done had I not been asked, but I know it’s going to bring back some really great memories of my kidhood!

This game was my JAM in high school.

Arcade Expo 4.0 is being held at the Museum of Pinball in Banning from March 16th-18th. Run by a non-profit organization with the sole purpose of preserving pinball and arcade games. I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the founders of the event and these guys are passionate about what they do! They want to share their love of gaming with everyone, and that my friends, is rad. The pinball/arcade culture, history, and following are rich. The age range is going to run the gamut, especially considering that the games available are from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s! This is a multi-generational gathering of the geeks, people!

Full walkthrough of Arcade Expo! Massive and hard to describe otherwise. We are here 'till Sunday!

Posted by Marco Specialties on Saturday, March 18, 2017

Day passes range from $45-$55, a three day pass is $120. If you want to camp, the cost is $30 a night. Child day passes are $25 and $55 for a three day pass.

Arcade Expo 4.0 is coming to a Banning near YOU in t-minus ONE WEEK! Gather the troops, buy tickets online here, make a sweet playlist for the road (Toto and Sonny and Cher FTW), and have some fun!