New Release: Black Emperor (BumbleBear Games)

arcadehero March 15, 2019 2
New Release: Black Emperor (BumbleBear Games)

It’s not often that we have news about two new game releases for the West on the same day, but we’ll take it! In case you missed it, the other one is UNIS’ Fantasy Soccer and now for an indie arcade title, Black Emperor by Tomás Vicuña and BumbleBear Games.

If the company name of BumbleBear Games doesn’t ring a bell, then this should help – their first arcade release was the popular 10-player strategy game, Killer Queen Arcade. While they have some other games listed on their website, only KQA and now Black Emperor come in coin-operated game cabinets, making this their second official cabinet release. That said, KQA has certainly been inspiring many more developers to create new arcade content, as we saw earlier this week with news about DeathBall.

The game description goes as follows: “Speed and death. A game inspired by Japanese psychedelic music and bosozoku motorcycle culture.” If that doesn’t help, then here’s a handy video, showing that it applies the idea of an endless sidescrolling runner to a high-speed motorcycle driver:

The controller is reminiscent of the old roller controller that was used in Atari’s Major Havoc; it’s also a single player game. Here’s a pic of the game cabinet that I extracted from a tweet:

Black Emperor game cabinet

I did reach out to BB for more details; we had been talking about it a little bit last year when I was compiling data for my Arcade/Pinball Almanac. As of this writing I have not heard back from them yet, but you can find the official Black Emperor Twitter feed here.

To celebrate the official launch of the game, there are two venues which will be hosting launch parties tonight. If you are in Chicago, then you’ll find it at Logan Arcade; if you’re in New York City, then you’ll need to go to the Secret Project Robot art gallery that has already had a cabinet for some time.

Like Killer Queen Arcade and other indie games, if you’re interested in adding this game to your line-up, then it isn’t found at big distributors. Instead, contact BumbleBear Games directly about ordering for the time being.

There is a very good chance that this will be at the Amusement Expo event in Las Vegas on March 27th & 28th, as I discovered yesterday that BumbleBear Games will have a booth there (1305, with a 20×10′ space…enough for a pair of KQA cabs and a single Black Emperor perhaps?).

What do you think about this new indie game? Talk about it on our new forums!


  1. Brian Houck March 15, 2019 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Looks like exitebike/stunt cycle mashup with no jumps!

  2. David March 16, 2019 at 9:19 am - Reply

    We talked briefly about it once and it was described primarily as a music game celebrating japanese psych-rock bands that were popular in the early 2000s, proprietary controls, and rock and roll.
    It probably says all that in their site, anyways, just taking about it cause I had a little exposure to that scene so am stoked about the game.

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