LOGAN SQUARE — Once again, legends and world record holders in the arcade gaming community will descend on Logan Square to battle it out for arcade supremacy.
For the third year in a row, Mark Alpiger of "The King of Kong" fame and Logan Hardware owner Jim Zespy have combined forces to put on the 2014 Classic Arcade Gaming (dot com) Tournament Friday through Sunday.
For a $55 entry fee, anyone can go up against the greats to compete for cash prizes. For a suggested donation of $5, fans can simply watch the competition.
"Just watching someone that's at that level play will teach you things you never even knew," Zespy said.
This is the ninth annual tournament and the third time it will be hosted by Zespy at his record shop, Logan Hardware, which over the summer moved a couple of blocks west on Fullerton Avenue to 2532 W. Fullerton Ave.
Zespy's new Logan Arcade, located in the original Logan Hardware site at 2410 W. Fullerton Ave., will still be getting in on the action, though.
For the first time, the tournament is being preceded by a two-day World Record Invitational at the Logan Arcade, where record holders like Tron champion David Cruz can show their stuff and play for hours on end to get to those astronomically high scores.
The invitational started Wednesday and continues from 3-9 p.m. Thursday.
On Wednesday, Zespy and Alpiger were busy working out kinks in the old games and making sure everything is perfect for the elite players.
"David is literally the best in the world so the control panel's got to be right," Zespy said as he tinkered with Tron controls.
"It's true," Cruz chimed in as he looked on. "Any little thing can mess me up."
Cruz, a computer programmer from Florida, holds a score of more than 14 million on Tron, something that took him 24 hours of nonstop playing to achieve.
He doesn't think that's something he'll try to top this weekend, but he said he hopes to some day.
"Not today," he said, "but at some point I'm going to try again."
There will be plenty of others looking to hit new heights though.
Pac-Mania record holder and New York City resident Jimmy Linderman already was working on Wednesday to best his 1.7 million record, something that takes far less than 24 hours — just about an hour and a half or so — to accomplish.
A full list of invitational and tournament participants can be found here.
Zespy said he was excited to have so many players going for records this time around, but the event is also a showcase for the 30-year-old games themselves, which take a lot of work to maintain.
"A lot of this stuff wasn't meant to survive this long, so it's a minor miracle that they still work," he said. "We're real fans of collecting and restoring these games. It's our passion."
The 2014 Classic Arcade Gaming (dot com) Tournament will begin at 4 p.m. Friday and will continue through Sunday afternoon. The price to enter is $55 in advance and $60 at the door.