The 1980s brought many travesties: oversized shoulder pads, scrunchy socks, rock bands in leotards and other fashion disasters. But beyond Chernobyl, the Reagan years and the first generation of Ford Tauruses, there was the introduction of arcade games with only one difficulty level (hard to impossible) and usually only one objective (dodge/shoot everything, but also collect everything). Kids today have it easy with their 3-D graphics, video cards and 18-button controllers.
If you're game—pun intended—for some old-school 8-bit play pitted against some of Boise's best gamers, then pen Spacebar Arcade's Donkey Kong Tournament into your calendar for Thursday, March 28, at 7 p.m.
Each contestant has five minutes to play as Mario-precursor Jumpman, as he climbs ladders and dodges barrels tossed by video game history's most infamous ape in an attempt to save the captive proto-Princess Peach, Lady. And it's all done with a controller consisting of a joystick and a single, infinitely mashable button.
Since memories of long lines at the Donkey Kong machine in the local arcade are specific to a maturing generation, expect mature beverage options. This tournament is sponsored by Ninkasi Brewing, so while you're sweating bullets jumping over barrels, Spacebar will be tapping the kegs for pours of its refreshing brews. T-shirts and other loot await the evening's highest scorers.
The Donkey Kong Tournament follows in the footsteps of other Spacebar events, including its Galaga Tournament and Magic: The Gathering gameplay nights, specializing in breathing life back into the hottest games of the '80s and '90s. But for the purposes of Donkey Kong, you only get one life, so play your best.