Hannah Kiddoo 2015-11-25 15:25:32
Back to the Future An Austin attorney lights up her home with vintage arcade games. As a young kid, Laura Davis spent a lot of time—and quarters—at local arcades, navigating digital maps and leveling up at glowing pinball scoreboards and video games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Some 30 years later, Davis, managing attorney at the Law Office of Laura M. Davis, is still passionate about earning points and fighting cartoon ghosts—and her skills have even prompted her to challenge other enthusiasts at state competitions. But now, Davis’s go-to arcade is in her Austin home, where she houses more than a dozen ’80s-era machines that serve as a reminder of her childhood. What do you enjoy most about arcade games? I love the challenge; it’s such a great feeling when you actually beat a game or finally make it past a level that has been giving you headaches. What arcade score or achievement are you most proud of? I placed third in the women’s division at the Texas Pinball Festival in 2014. That was pretty exciting. You would think that after decades of playing I’d be some kind of video game whisperer but, sadly, I’m an expert at none. My best game is probably Ms. Pac-Man. What’s the atmosphere at that type of event? It started as a small group of hobbyists and collectors getting together to show off their games and has grown into hundreds of pinball machines and arcade games in a 45,000-square-foot convention center showroom. I’ve competed in the women’s tournament several years and placed third two years in a row. Last year, the tournament was extremely competitive—which will be my justification for playing more pinball. What is Austin’s arcade scene like? One of the first places I visited once we moved back to Austin was Pinballz Arcade. Their collection is pretty amazing. I haven’t had an opportunity to explore too many locales, but it seems like arcades are making a comeback. What made you want to create your own arcade at home? I always thought it would be awesome to own at least one game. Once I purchased my first, Donkey Kong Jr., it was like an addiction. How do you locate games to buy? I’ve been collecting for about 15 years now. I generally purchase them from auctions or Craigslist. You can find pretty good deals if you’re patient. What considerations influence your purchases? Condition, price, and title. I tend to focus on games I played when I was younger, but I won’t pass up a working game for the right price. I am not mechanically inclined, so I have to factor in repair costs. Certain titles are more valuable than others. For example, a non-working Star Wars might be worth more than a working lesser-known game. What’s your dream machine to own? If you ask my significant other, she would tell you that I have about 25 games on my Top 10 List, but if you know of a Star Wars; Tron; Computer Space; I, Robot; or Major Havoc for cheap, let me know. What would surprise people about your collection? I purchased my Pac-Man for $20. How do people react to your personal arcade? Most people think it’s pretty cool. One of my law school friends once joked that he wasn’t sure he would graduate if he lived at my house. Laura Davis’s collection of arcade games includes old-school favorites like Burgertime, Paperboy, and Johnny Nero Action Hero.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
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