This year's show goes down the weekend of July 11 at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara. Ticket prices are $60 for the whole weekend, $35 for Saturday and $30 for Sunday (kids under 12 get in for half-price). Once inside, all the games on the floor are free-to-play. So, by my amateur calculations, I only need to play Galaga 240 times to cover the cost of a weekend pass.
Tournament organizer Bown Kerins tells me that they're hosting a Guitar Hero Arcade championship tournament, sponsored by arcade gaming developers Raw Thrills and Betson. The grand prize winner gets a Wii, full band kit and four Guitar Hero games (Smash Hits, World Tour, Aerosmith, Guitar Hero III). The top 16 players score various games on systems of their choice, plastic guitars and drum kits included.
You can check out California Extreme's site here. A quick glance at their list of games expected at the show in 2009 reveals a ton of classics that are so hard to find, plus my beloved Galaga.
I'll be hitting up the show Saturday, July 11. I can't give you a prize if you spot me, but I will totally buddy up with people for Gauntlet II.