What We Do: Babycastles, New York's first independent games arcade, is named after bite-size portugese cakes in Japan. As a new function of a legendary all-ages venue for Brooklyn music and other local diy-culture, Babycastles is a wall of six lovingly decorated arcade cabinets that offers a physical place to play games made by amateur and independent game developers. The arcade is open four or five nights a week, during every show at the Silent Barn. The venue throws an opening party every few weeks for a new collection of arcade games, with the game developers present, music, drinks, and plenty of opportunity to get together and love games.
How we do it: The idea is to provide space where not only games can be played socially but to create a identity for the NYC indie community.
As far as the game selection goes, we have the line-up curated by someone different each month and seek out newer games that haven't been released to the public yet (i.e. Nihogg). Also, the reasons why we want multiple arcades are (as opposed to 5 games-in-one MAME machine):
It's just more fun to hear the sound of the arcade resonating out of 5 machines instead of 1.
Logistically speaking if you have almost 80 people at a party, one cabinet is certainly not enough to serve all of them.
We have themes for each party, it's pretty hard to find 6 awesome titles around a certain theme, yet it gets a lot harder if it's anymore than that.
We've also made it a point to have at least one developer from the games we're featuring come out and give a lecture and take questions. As a developer myself, it's really exciting to see people play your game and get their feedback. Even though the last event was free and open to all, we're creating a model where we can actually PAY the developers for hosting their games here, if and when we start charging. Of course it doesn't have to cost money and developers choose if they want to have a door fee or not. Since its inception every Babycastles event has been free and open to all ages.
There is also a lot more to the space then just games in re-purposed windows xp machines. We're going to have game design workshops, a zine, and host of other cool things down the road.
Press: http://rhizome.org/editorial/3661 http://www.vbs.tv/blog/babycastles-cyborg-videogame-nerdtopia
Quote from Brooklynvegan.com - "DIY video game arcade built from the carcasses of Win95 PCs. All grassroots-made games, not corporate junk."
Funded by New York City, NY (June 2011)