A Night of Twisted Metal 2 with Tipsy Pixels at the Triple Rock

A Night of Twisted Metal 2 with Tipsy Pixels at the Triple Rock

The folks at Tipsy Pixels have done a fantastic thing: They’ve created a monthly retro videogame tournament series that’s been happening for about a year now at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. Essentially, you can show up and watch for free, but for $5 you get to partake in the tournament, which gives you the chance to win some free donated stuff. You also get a free beer, so that’s worth the price of admission on its own.

I had the honor of showing up at the very first Tipsy Pixels event, where much Mario Kart 64 was played and much beer was consumed, and Alcoholic Luigi showed up for their Street Fighter II event the following month. But it’s been about a year since we here at GeekParty have checked in on these guys, so when I saw that the latest tournament featured Twisted Metal 2, I figured it was a good time to pay them another visit.

Twisted Metal 2 was there, so that makes the night an instant win in my book. But even aside from game choice, it was a fantastic event to be a part of.

The tournament was done single-elimination style, with each round being a best-two-out-of-three 1v1 splitscreen match. The winner would take home a copy of Air Force Gator and Air Force Gator 2: Scales of Justice by Game Informer‘s Dan Ryckert. These are books that tell the story of an alcoholic alligator war pilot called back into action after the events of September 11. Seriously. To make that prize even more absurd than it already sounds, Ryckert was present, and he even partook in the tournament. And he can rock Thumper like a true pro.

A Night of Twisted Metal 2 with Tipsy Pixels at the Triple Rock

And your host, Nels Lennes.

The festivities were made much more fun (and much louder) by the emcee, the incredibly entertaining Nels Lennes. Lennes is also the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of HUGE Theater, which he described to me as “Minneapolis’ first and only dedicated long-form improv theater.” He was a true champion, getting the crowd laughing with his clever smart-assery and embarrassing lack of knowledge of the Twisted Metal series.

Since it’s been so long since we’ve done this, I pulled aside the mad geniuses behind Tipsy Pixels, Pete Basgen and Art Allen, and had a word with them about how things have been going since last we spoke.

Basgen explained:

We’ve played a huge variety of games over the last year, some of them super popular, some of them really sort of niche and, you know, you just get the hardcore. For example, Twisted Metal 2, where we have an eight-person tournament but everybody is super into it.

Yes, the crowd was a bit thin for the Twisted Metal 2 tournament. But that didn’t mean people weren’t having fun. In fact, the small size gave it a feeling of intimacy that often gets sacrificed in the larger crowds of the more popular events.

A Night of Twisted Metal 2 with Tipsy Pixels at the Triple Rock

Pete Basgen and Art Allen of Tipsy Pixels.

We then chatted about some of the more popular tournaments of the past. Basgen was particularly fond of the Street Fighter II event. He told me:

That was like the embodiment of the “Tipsy” in Tipsy Pixels, because we had guys buying shots for their opponents. They’d find out who they were matched up against ahead of time, because we had a big bracket, and they’d buy shots of liquor ahead of time to try to, I don’t know, intimidate their opponent and that kind of thing. One guy [would] get up on stage and be like, “Yo, I’ve got these two shots and I’m taking them with whoever’s fighting me!” It was incredible.

And it turns out, the guy who won the tournament is a guy who goes to Evo every year because he plays the best Ken. He’s like the best Ken in America. He happens to live in like Saint Louis Park or Edina or something like that. And when I asked him about it after the tournament, I was like, “You’re incredible! What are you doing here?” He’s like, “Oh, I’m just… they fly me to Vegas every year to play Ken in Evo. But I just wanted to come out and have a drink.”

The guys were also excited to tell me about their opportunity to run an event at the Minneapolis Institute of Art on October 17. Allen told me:

They do a third Thursday event every month at the MIA, and we will be one of, I think, three or four different events happening at this. They’re calling it “Nerd Thursday.” There’s going to be a band, and we’re going to have a tournament with four different games. Mario Kart, Smash Bros., they asked us very, very passionately to do Tetris, so we’ll be doing Tetris, some variety, probably Tetris 2. And another one that escapes me at the moment.

If you’re in the Minneapolis area, you should definitely stop by the MIA on October 17 for Nerd Thursday or the Triple Rock on October 20th for the next Mario Kart 64 tournament. Both events sound like they’re going to be wild. Plus, you might bump into one of your friends from GeekParty.

A Night of Twisted Metal 2 with Tipsy Pixels at the Triple Rock