How to borrow an arcade

Every month in Austin, the local indie game game community puts on an arcade party at a bar downtown. It’s dark, and fun, and very very nerdy, and tonight, in honor of pride month, the arcade is full of games made by LGBTQ+ creators.

I’m willing to bet that whatever issue your organization is working on, you can put on an arcade full of fun, independently made, original games that tie back to said issue.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel or produce a ton of original content at all! Just borrow an arcade’s worth of games that have already been created for you!

Here’s how:

  1. Find a space to throw your event. You’re probably a pro at this, but make sure there’s enough outlets! (And it could be fun to have your mini, themed arcade inside of a “full-blown” arcade if your town’s lucky enough to have one).

  2. Round up some laptops from volunteers! You’re gonna use these to run your games. Custom cabinets and joysticks are nice, but you don’t totally need ‘em.

  3. Cocktail tables! To set the laptops lovingly upon.

  4. Find some games!

    1. Start a spreadsheet with your findings. Make columns for Game Title, Creator Names, Platforms (Windows, PC, etc.), Special Controllers Needed, Good Fit?

    2. Go to www.itch.io - the premier site for small and independent game artists to post their work!

    3. Search for anything related to your org’s mission! Use related terms

    4. Download whatever looks interesting :-)

    5. Play your new games! Note on your spreadsheet which ones you want to use for your event.

    6. If you need more games, check these other sources:

      1. Google :-)

      2. Find your local indie game makers and ask them! Search for “[My city] indie game devs”

      3. Your local board game shop! Call and see if they have some tabletop games that would be on-theme for you.

  5. After deciding which games you want, set up your laptops so each laptop has a different game. You may have to re-download some of the games.

  6. Market your event as you do your other events (be sure to hit local game-adjacent communities) and finally…

  7. Enjoy!

If you’re having trouble finding games related to your particular organization, please let me know! I’m happy to help unearth some gems (or recommend some folks who would know where they’re buried).