We started the final day of Fantastic Arcade with a little brain massage, courtesy of Hohokum. Artist Dick Hogg and Sony's Zach Wood threaded us through the environments of the game on the back of a mutlicolored ribbonlike creature known as the "Long Mover"
A much more primitive version of Hohokum was in the very first Fantastic Arcade line up, and it was amazing to see how far this game has come. Check out this brand new clip showcasing a level in the game called "Guano Factory"
Next up, Nicolo and Pietro from Santa Ragione showed off VideoHeroeS, our closing exposition tournament game, available for free as part of the LA Game Space Experimental Game Pack. VideoHeroeS replicates the experience of being a 90's videostore clerk, and we were so excited about that notion that we rounded up a few ex video store clerks who went on to greatness in order to play the game later that night. This being Fantastic Fest, it wasn't hard to find the right players for this game (a little more about that later on...). Santa Ragione had an unprecedented TWO games as part of the Fantastic Arcade selection this year, so they segued into showing off their other offering, MirrorMoon EP. This is a game of planetary exploration that recalls obscure classic titles like Noctis and Mercenaries: Damocles. Mysterious structures punctuate an explorable, stylish, geometric universe.
Nicolo and Pietro took us on a tour of inspirations for the game, including the obtuse user interfaces of spacecraft in 70's science fiction (a subject near and dear to my heart).
Beau Blyth took the stage at 3 to show us how a childhood of SuperNES sibling rivalry planted the seed for Samurai Gunn. The stage was sufficiently set for what became one of the most intense tournaments of all of Fantastic Arcade. Within the space of an hour and a half, microcosms sprang up in the theater of fans chanting "DEATH" and blasting virtual airhorns from their phones as we watched some of the most skilled players of this still young game deftly remove each other's heads. After over thirty combatants fell, the final two masters of the day, Matt Grimm and Eissa "Jesus" Burghed, stepped in front of a standing room, had blindfolds tied around their heads, and took part in a blind sunset showdown.
After the dust settled and everyone caught their breath, we invited in Lars Nilsen of the Austin Film Society, Fantastic Fest's Zack Carlson, Evan Husney of Drafthouse Films, and Joe Ziemba of Bleeding Skull to check out VideoHeroes. Each one of these guys is a legend in the world of cult film, but with the exception of Nidhogg champ Evan Husney, none of them has likely touched a videogame since Mrs Pac-man. Once they realized that someone had specifically made a game in their honor though, they rose to the occasion, plowing through the shelves of dusty virtual VHS big boxes, racking up cash. It was a charming handshake between Arcade and the whole of Fantastic Fest.
Our Awards Ceremony followed, starting out by honoring the winners of the second annual Gamemaking Frenzy Game Jam. It was a tough call, with some amazing creations coming out of just a 48 hour period, but the judges decided that the title most deserving of the award was George Royer and Damien Di Fede's Starphonix.
Up next we recognized all of our spotlight games. These were the 8 games that graced the Alamo lobby in specially created Arcade Cabinets.
Breakin’ 3 Electric Barbecue Award: Q.E.D. by Stephen Ascher
What is Goblet Grotto Even About Award: Goblet Grotto by Stephen Gillmurphy & Kat Chastain
[Air Horn Sound] Award: Samurai Gunn by Beau Blyth
Throne of Blood Award for Most Arrow Kills: TowerFall by Matt Thorson
Trapper-Keeper Design Award for Preservation of Neon Grids in Space: Starwhal: Just the Tip by Jason Nuyens
[Mutant Growling Sound] Award: Wasteland Kings by Vlambeer
First & Last Day on the Job Award: No Brakes Valet by Justin Smith
Audio/Planetary Genesis Award: Panoramical by Fernando Remallo & David Kanaga
For the first time this year, both the audience choice award and the coveted jury "Most Fantastic" award went to Samurai Gunn.
After the Awards ceremony, Devolver Digital carried us downtown to a venue called Empire Control Room. In the center of the venue projectors lit the walls with game installations courtesy of Wild Rumpus UK. Matt Piersall was up first in the DJ hotseat, showing off Gl33k's Cosmic DJ multiplayer music creation game.
Keita Takahashi and Adam Saltsman's new game Mega Alphabet was unveiled, with a dance pad controller.
Full-contact motion game Magnetize Me caused a few weird interactions between players:
The mysterious being known as Kozilek stepped up next, blasting the audience with new mixes of his own game themes and others, sending a wave of revitalizing energy through the crowd.
Finally DJ Phil Fish hit us with a crowd pleasing set, and a ton of great energy. The party was a boozy glowing mess of fun, and the perfect way to send off another great year of Fantastic Arcade.
Check the hashtag #fantasticarcade on twitter and vine for a million little slices of the festival from those who attended and made it so great. Check out our 2013 photo gallery on Facebook. Thanks again to our sponsors Sony Playstation, Alienware, Adobe and Devolver Digital for making this year so great! Special thanks to Game Over Games for our tournament prizes and Delptronics for the custom Panoramical Controller.