For a swarm of video game fans, it was joystick-jostling heaven on Earth at POP Allston on Sunday.
Spanning four floors, there was lots to sample: the latest in Boston indie games, a booth doling out stuffed Pokemon characters, another one selling vintage Nintendo cartridges (aged, and priced, like fine wine).
But the meet-up’s centerpiece was a patch of 20 vintage arcade machines, carefully resurrected and ready to play, just like the good old days. A $5 entry fee earned visitors free-for-all play, no quarters required.
It was the latest stop for Bit Fest, the pop-up, beer-supplemented celebration of gaming history making its way around Boston and quickly gaining a following.
Over the past 11 months the Bit Fest team has been lugging the bulky games to Bit Fest nights at local breweries, Aeronaut in Somerville and Night Shift in Everett, where organizers claim as many as 100 have waited in line to get in.
“Nostalgia is huge right now, of course,” said Joshua Allen, Bit Fest’s co-owner and head technician, who said he’s amassed and tinkered with nearly 70 vintage game rigs. His holdings include “Mortal Kombat II” (1993), “Donkey Kong “(1981) and “Asteroids” (1979).
“Everyone loves the idea of, ‘Man I remember this from when I was a kid. I haven’t seen this in 15 years. Oh boy,’” he said.
It’s a labor of love for now. Ticket sales mostly support buying more machines and their hard-to-find original parts, Allen said.
But Bit Fest has been so successful that its five-member team of owners have begun dreaming of leveling up: opening their own brick-and-mortar beer-and-games bar in Boston.
They haven’t said much publicly about it yet, but Allen said Bit Fest plans to announce its master plan by the end of the year.
This article has been corrected to reflect that "Asteroids" was released in 1979.