Over a decade ago, I had the pleasure of travelling out to Orange County, CA and getting to play the then-new Dirty Drivin’ at the HQ of Specular Interactive. It was both fun and fascinating to see behind-the-scenes of how an arcade game was made.
I’ve wanted to do more stories like that and today, I get to fulfill that by giving you a preview of a new arrival in the market – Gesture Art & Design. Interestingly enough, this one is also based out of Southern California.
Gesture Art & Design is currently spearheaded by Tawei (David) Lin and Ben Sherman, their backgrounds coming from finance and game design/production, respectively. I’ve gotten to know them over the past couple of months and what impresses me about them is that despite no former professional experience in the arcade space, they’ve done a huge amount of research to get a feel for what operators need and want – from attending Amusement Expo 2023 in Las Vegas, to interviewing distributors and operators alike, asking them what their concerns are, and what it is that they would like to see. They’ve also spent a lot of time at arcade venues, like Dave & Busters, both playing and observing other players to see what it is that customers get into.
Their first game is called Food Flight, which will debut at booth #3582 at the IAAPA 2023 show, Nov. 14th-18th. A website detailing the game launched this morning, which you can check out here if you’d like. Designed first as a videmption game, this uses a control scheme that has seen a little use in the industry, although generally it has been combined with another tech, like VR: motion capture, or mocap, for short. Most will think of the Microsoft Kinect and while the basic idea there is the same, the technology has evolved quite a bit since that was introduced several years ago and the latest iteration of it operates in a much improved way, at least from what I experienced of it.
As some of you might have already seen, I have posted a few YouTube videos about them and the process behind the game’s development; While I’ll reshare those in this post, scroll down for additional Q&A. Also as a note, the production cabinet does have more of a slope on the front than it appears to have above.
Ask The Developers
Scroll to the bottom for additional video interviews
Arcade Heroes: How did this idea come about from idea to ready-to sell?
Gesture Art & Design: We love games and want to make fun experiences like the ones we enjoyed in arcades when we were kids! Specifically, we want to offer games that you can’t get at home on your console or download to your smartphone: full body motion gameplay fit the bill perfectly, so we got to working our tails off to bring you FOOD FLIGHT, our whimsical motion capture redemption game debuting at IAAPA 2023!
AH: How big is the team?
GAAD: The two of us are supported by our wonderful partners and a handful of incredibly talented friends in the art and entertainment industry.
AH: How did you come to meet?
GAAD: We’ve been friends for over a decade and were best men at a close friend’s wedding.
AH: What has your experience been with arcades?
GAAD: We are excited about the opportunities that arcades have to offer! Aside from our own memories of pumping quarters into classics like Time Crisis and Crazy Taxi, we see at arcades as a place anyone can hit up to… JUST! HAVE! FUN!
AH: How long has Food Flight or your mocap system been in development?
GAAD: Though we have over a decade of gesture recognition and interactive entertainment expertise, Food Flight itself was inspired by our visit to Amusement Expo 2023 in Las Vegas!
AH: What’s been the most influential product or person that has inspired the game’s creation?
GAAD: Aside from the obvious pedigree, we are incredibly inspired by this company’s willingness to venture into the unknown and risk commercial flops. They have demonstrated that sophisticated graphics are not a prerequisite for fun and that pushing the creative envelope is how you can truly build previously unthought of forms of joy. There is only one Nintendo.
AH: What’s been the most difficult aspect of the process?
GAAD: The biggest challenge that we’ve had to overcome was our lack of operational experience within the arcade market. Though we have expertise in LBE, game design, and more specifically human computer interactions, we really had to roll up our sleeves do our homework to better understand the dynamics specific to the arcade industry.
AH: Have you looked into working with an existing manufacturer like Raw Thrills or Sega Amusements?
GAAD: We are very open to partnerships and collaboration! In fact, we are very fortunate to have cultivated an excellent relationship with our manufacturing partner. They have been incredibly supportive and professional, and we truly appreciate the value that they bring to the table.
AH: What are your hopes for this game and platform into the future?
GAAD: We hope that FOOD FLIGHT is a game that will be enjoyed by players of all ages and that it’s a product that will earn it keep for all our operator customers.
As far as plans beyond this, our motion capture cabinet has been designed from the ground up enable us offer compelling a library of motion capture enabled games all at incredibly compelling price points. Updating your arcade will be as simple as applying a new vinyl kit and installing a new USB key or SSD drive.
AH: How do you plan to market the game? (website, sales flyers, online location tracker, collabs, tours, etc?)
GAAD: In addition to exhibiting FOOD FLIGHT at IAAPA 2023 in Orlando, we will offer FOOD FLIGHT for purchase directly through our website. We will also be working with as many industry distributors as we can to serve as many operators as possible.
Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in a location test at your Arcade!
AH: What would you say to a jaded operator who never invests in the first game from a new developer?
GAAD: Please give us a chance to earn your trust.
We understand that it’s risky to invest in boundary-pushing innovation and that you’re tired of buying expensive games that barely earn for you. We understand that you’re sick of fixing broken machines and that you just want to offer a fun experience that will delight your players.
We truly believe that FOOD FLIGHT is a unique experience that will bring joy to your arcade at an incredible value.
Thanks to David & Ben for providing all of the information