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GameWarp Draws in Classic Arcade, Pinball Fans

Danny Conlin hit the start button and, with his eyes focused on the tiny spaceship, began firing at flying rocks and UFOs. 

    Perched behind the black-and-white Atari Asteroids video game from 1979, Conlin and his fast fingers kept zapping anything that got in the way of his spaceship. 

    "It kind of makes you feel like a teenager again, " said Conlin, 46, of St. Augustine. He grew up playing the game at a Massachusetts pizza joint. 

    Arcade enthusiasts are in Orlando this weekend for the second GameWarp, a show dedicated to old-school arcade games and pinball machines. It continues today at the International Palms Resort on International Drive near Universal Orlando. 

    Sponsored by Florida Arcade and Pinball Collectors, GameWarp features more than 100 classic games, including Donkey Kong, Missile Command, Spy Hunter, Frogger, Galaga and Street Fighter 2. 

    For the classic gamers, the show is a reminder of the glory days of the arcade when Pac-Man ruled the video universe, a quarter started up a machine and countless hours of play resulted in achieving a coveted high score. 

    "The whole point is to keep the classics alive," said GameWarp organizer Jack Laughlin, who started the event last year. All of the games, he said, are on loan from collectors across the state. 

    "You really can't find this mix of games anywhere else," Laughlin said. 

    Alice Belusko, 51, drove from South Florida to spend the day playing pinball. She started with Star Wars: Episode I, a video pinball machine she never had never played until Saturday. After her first game, Belusko was hooked. 

    Pinball, the Plantation woman said, can be addicting. Her plan for the day: "Play as much pinball as I can until my hands don't work anymore." 

    Patrick Scanlan, 20, wasn't even born when most of the games at the show were first produced. 

    He bounced around playing pinball for several hours Saturday. His all-time favorite game, Scanlan said, is Ms. Pac-Man: "She's the best. She has a little bow and everything."

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