When a video game becomes a proper arcade game (being put into a cabinet that can take payment of some kind to play it), we give it a highlight on this site, regardless it being developed & produced by a big company or an independent creator. We haven’t heard much from the latter since the pandemic started but right before that, things were looking pretty good for the indie arcade scene, enough that 2020 was shaping up to be the ‘Year of the Indie Arcade.’
While that was derailed, there is news today that if you have any interest or inkling into creating a true arcade machine, you should find this to be of interest. We have not one but two “Game Jams” which are focused on finding some new games that can become proper arcade machines. These remind me of the Game Jam that Dave & Busters did some years ago, but with some different incentives. Let’s take a look at the current ones:
The #NoticeMe Game Jam
H/T MrJBRPG for this one
The first one is being sponsored by GameMaker Studio 2 (a game development tool & engine that is popular with indie game devs) and OperaGX (a web browser made for gamers). This event is listed on the website GXC, which shows a collaboration between those two organizations in offering games through the browser (looks like a competitor to Steam in a way, but if I’m wrong I’ll stand corrected). The short of the Game Jam here is:
Imagine your game in an arcade cabinet! Create a game in GameMaker, publish it on GXC to win cash prizes from a pool of $33,000 USD and a chance for your game to be featured in arcade cabinets!
It isn’t clear what arcade cabinet platform these will be offered in, be it something that already exists like PolyCade or something that YoYo Games has perhaps put together. Either way, the titles will be available in a real arcade cabinet, which is why we care around here.
The theme that the submissions have to follow will be revealed on March 4th; Other rules include that the game has to be created using the aforementioned GameMaker Studio. This reminds me that the indie shoot ’em up game Skycurser was developed in GMS, and I believe a couple of other indie arcade releases have used it too. Find out more details here.
The Arcade Jam
H/T to Kieran Nolan on this one
The second one is based out of the UK and has several sponsors including The Arcade Vaults, HyperX, Voodoo Ranger, eSports Wales, Tiny Rebel Brewery and Sega Amusement International.
Develop a game within 4 weeks get it judged by Sega Amusements. Total prize pool around £2000!!
While the cash prizes are smaller for this one, it carries with it the bonus appeal of the game being judged by the folks at Sega Amusement International, the active coin-op division to carry the Sega name forth to the world. That also seems to imply that the winner will have their game further developed and released by SAI, which would be a pretty nice advantage for a couple of reasons. One, they know the arcade business and two, if the game is made, it means you’d have the benefit of it being offered to the world through Sega’s vast distribution networks. A third I suppose is that you could get the bragging right of saying you developed a Sega arcade game.
The lack of distribution is one aspect that tends to kill off a lot of potential indies out there, who struggle to get operators to notice and purchase their game. Having owned a bunch of indie arcade games, it’s sad to say that some concepts just don’t work for today’s market, so viability is one of those things that Sega can help vet here.