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By Mark Bell | June 17, 2010

As if Austin, TX couldn’t get any cooler, or Fantastic Fest any more awesome, the bar raises once again with the announcement of Fantastic Arcade. Unlike any arcade in the past, Fantastic Arcade will showcase independent games in old-school gaming cabinets, all set to freeplay. And curated by Tim League, CineVegas alum Mike Plante and Roger Erik Tinch, and game designer Eddo Stern!?! This September is all about the Fantastic. From the official press release:

America’s largest genre film festival Fantastic Fest today announced Fantastic Arcade, their new independent games festival scheduled for four days, September 23-26, 2010 in Austin, Texas.

Co-founded by Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News, Fantastic Fest attracts major film and TV celebrities every year, making Fantastic Fest a star-studded week of screenings, VIP parties and significant national media coverage. Stars and filmmakers who have attended include Mel Gibson, Bill Murray, Woody Harrelson, Paul Rudd, John C. Reilly, Sam Rockwell, Simon Baker, Paul Thomas Anderson, Jon Favreau, Kevin Smith and Mike Judge, among many others.

Designed as a games spin-off event from the main film festival, Fantastic Arcade is a debut games festival featuring fresh, cutting-edge games designed by independent game developers and publishers.

Indie game designers are being invited to show off their new titles to an audience mix of Fantastic Fest attendees and game fans. More than 4,000 attendees are expected to visit Fantastic Arcade over four days for hands-on gameplay action in a fun, high octane environment at top Austin entertainment venue, the HighBall.

The Highball ballroom will be transformed into an old-school arcade featuring games the likes of which never existed in any Aladdin’s Castle. The Fantastic Arcade curators have selected some of the most fascinating new independent games and retrofitted them into vintage arcade consoles set to free-play for the duration of the event.

Other Fantastic Arcade highlights include a live game demos by their authors on the big screens at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, a machinima film competition judged by Red Vs. Blue creator Burnie Burns, video game art installations featuring work by Cory Arcangel, live chiptune music performances, games showcases and demos from major game publishers, game design guest speakers, screenings of popular games culture films, a Starcade game-show competition, a light saber dance party and more! Among other topics, the panels will explore the crossover and differences between the visual story-telling mediums of the film and game worlds.

Tim League, co-founder of Fantastic Fest and owner of the Alamo Drafthouse, offers, “While Fantastic Fest is already known as a prestigious film event, it has evolved into an ideal venue for independent game developers and game publishers to exhibit their original games to their target demographic. Video games rightfully belong side by side with shorts and feature films at Fantastic Fest, and the artistic merit of these games will be honored with both audience awards and a juried competition.”

Along with Tim League, the curating team for Fantastic Arcade includes CineVegas alum Mike Plante and Roger Erik Tinch, and game designer Eddo Stern. Plante and Tinch helped form the film lineup and overall art design for CineVegas each year from 2002-2009, while Stern makes games that explore fantasy and reality with political over tones.

Mike Plante, curator for Fantastic Arcade, adds, “Fantastic Arcade is highly interested in exploring the crossover between the film and game worlds in terms of both talent and content. Films and games are both visual story-telling mediums that have been sharing plots, dialogue and characters for years.”

Fantastic Arcade is scheduled for September 23-26, 2010 at the Highball on South Lamar, running concurrently to Fantastic Fest at near by Alamo venues, September 23-30. Passes for Fantastic Arcade will go on sale on Thursday, July 1, 2010, starting at $15 per day pass.

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