They came in droves. By plane, train, and automobile, they made their way across the great American highways. They dressed as pirates, as ninja, even as Jedi. They journeyed from as far south as Arizona, as far east as Maine.
A few weeks ago, one of my roommates came home clutching a copy of Conker: Live & Reloaded. He had played the platformer on the Nintendo 64 years ago, and wanted to experience it all over again on my Xbox. "This game was such a blast!" he exclaimed while loading the disc. His enthusiasm was contagious, so I sat down to watch him play.
His excitement lasted all of an hour.
In my mind's eye, the coffee makers are still dripping. Wicker baskets of Krispy Kremes sit on the table, waiting to be emptied as the people enter the room. It could be a recreation center, maybe the basement of a church. There's a circle of metal foldout chairs in the center of the space, a table on the side with blank nametags for everyone to take.
She sits down on the couch, her legs crossed so she can turn to face me. We've been in the apartment about 40 minutes or so, an artist-sized apartment with hardwood floors, cluttered with newspapers and magazines. The apartment is above the pottery studio and gallery where she works, the walls at odd angles like someone was trying too hard to seem artistic.
You'll hear people talk about the sonic chaos, how the pings and bells and digital tweets coming from each cabinet will draw them in. They'll mention the thundering roar of race car engines or the room-shaking explosions. Others love the bright neon contrasting with the cave-like darkness, or the seizure-inducing flashes coming from the screens. That's not it for me though.