SFGE 2021 Recap

Decals decorating the floor pointing the way to our Freeplay room

This year Marco Specialties arrived in Atlanta with a small caravan, armed with volunteers and Marco employees. We immediately set to work, hoisting up the massive pyramid that would be the crowning jewel of the pinball and arcade room. In the span of 10 hours, the empty concrete-floored, cavernous room filled with games, display pieces and booths. By the end of Thursday night, the pinball and arcade free-play area had taken on a life of its own.

The beginning of a long day unloading and organizing trusses

Along with the sprawling assortment of tabletop games, vendors and separate rooms dedicated to several different niche areas (D&D miniature painting, a computer history museum, seminars, and amateur wrestling) there was a separate tournament room where a donated collection of carefully curated machines sat ready for a weekend of tournaments.

Just a small section of the many rows of games available in the Freeplay area

This year, the show-runners took an amazing amount of care in ensuring the health and safety of all who came. Not only for the show-goers, but also those who came as vendors and sponsors.

At Marco Pinball, our aim is to assist the local community and build it up by joining forces with local vendors. For the Southern Fried Gaming Expo we teamed up with Jason Grindle of Classic Game Rooms located in Covington, GA. Classic Game Rooms offers a wide variety of pinball machines, parts, billiards and other items to enhance anyone’s arcade room or business. In our shared space we had a wide variety of Stern Games available, including one Heavy Metal, an armada of Mandalorians and a whole lotta Led Zeppelins. Thanks to Classic Game Rooms we also had a lineup of Hot Wheels (American Pinball) and Guns N’ Roses (Jersey Jack). 

Our pinball lounge along with our setup for one of our Columbia local spots Bang Back

Our space also included our famous pinball lounge with our inflatable couches, a sampling of the Columbia, South Carolina pinball scene (with games provided by Granby, Transmission Arcade, Bang Back) and a special table set up for our Belles and Chimes Cola Chapter.

The Belles and Chimes Cola chapter is a budding and thriving community of womxn, their table set up was manned by Serene B. Serene is a graphic designer whose repertoire boasts t-shirt designs, custom trophies, stickers, key chains and more. The Southern Fried Gaming Expo’s Women’s Tournament was fortunate enough to be able to receive three of her handmade trophies this year.

The artwork on these shirts and logo were designed by none other than Serene

The rest of the pinball and arcade free-play area was filled with rows of candy cabs interlinked with each other, these were provided by Wedoca. There were also plenty of home-brew pinball machines (including an amazing Zelda themed one). The Spooky display showed off their newest titles, Halloween and Ultraman. Project Pinball graciously donated prizes to the Women’s Tournament and raised money throughout the event. Also present were home collections which included a beautifully unique Trident that, I personally, could not stop playing.

Candy Cabs as far as the eye could see

The pinball tournament lineup had an event scheduled for every day of the show, with Progressive Strikes on Friday, Pingolf on Saturday and the Women’s Tournament on Sunday. In the past, SFGE has hosted the Stern Circuit Event: Pinvasion but this year was a little different, with some unique formats. It was absolutely a thrill to be able to play in singular events every day of the show. 

The women’s tournament was a joint effort between Columbia, SC and Atlanta, GA. Brandi, the resident Belles and Chimes director of Atlanta, gathered the sponsors and many of the items we were able to award the players. It was a comfortable setting with donuts and coffee provided, and the tournament went smoothly. 

The weekend went by too quickly for us, as it usually does and many of the games we had at our booth found a home with some lucky Expo goers.

As we say goodbye to another successful year in Atlanta, we thank Player One, LLC (Joel, Dana, Patrick, Preston and Shannon) and the SFGE Troopers for sharing their enthusiasm and bringing attendees another quality show. Please mark your calendars for next years Southern Fried Gaming Expo scheduled for July 15th-17th, 2022 and join us for what we here at Marco consider to be our home-town show.

Tickets are already available for the 2022 show: here

The Marco Family hopes to see you next year!

article by Kim Martinez

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