Fantastic Arcade, the lesser known but an equally creative of an endeavor as its 'poppa' Fantastic Fest Film Festival. A wonderful assortment of individually developed and manufactured gaming challenges were available to test out and offer your opinions. As well as the return of SONY PlayStation!
I honestly don't usually partake in the playing of video games, unless its one of the classics ( I suck at just about all others ) but do enjoy watching those who are gifted in such areas, get immersed in their individual play. Yet I found myself really enjoying my time in Fantastic Arcade. Many of the games present were throwbacks to the classics and not incredibly difficult to play.
One such game was RISKY BISON, an unusual take on Insurance sales and preventing silly Bison from falling into holes. Another selection, and much different, was HELLMOUTH. The object of this lil bastard of a game was to make Satan a sandwich admidst ensuing violence against your character. It took me a minute to figure out the idea behind HELLMOUTH, but once its purpose was unlocked, an immensely mind numbing and enjoyable time was had.
At one point during the Fest, a Humble Bundle was available, which let anyone purchase this pack that consisted of HELLMOUTH, ALEA ( an amazing LSD inspired visual game ) HOKY, RISKY BISON, and my favorite CRAP! NO ONE LOVES ME. This fun filled romp was an ode to those Mario Bros. levels of childhood. A mere $8 earned you the ability to play these magnificent developments from the comfort of your home, and the more you spent on the Bundles, the more games you recieved. FORBES magazine even noted this! And then, there was NIBBLER, the glorious full size video arcade game. Quite similar to Pac Man, the eye catching machine sat at the entrance of the Highball, the amazingly eclectic Karaoke Bar attached to the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse. There would be groups people surrounding the machine, cheering and awaiting their own turn. High scores on the NIBBLER game earned food and drink vouchers from the Drafthouse.
Fantastic Arcade and PlayStation were excited to once again reunite in Austin this year, has in previous gatherings, many indie developed games have premiered on PS platforms. All along the hallway which led to the theaters, sat a half dozen or so PlayStation consoles hooked up to legit monitors, housing some of the latest demos available. ABZU, SKYTRON, and GNOG were just to name a few Fest goers were allowed to test their skills upon.
If you love games, the development of, and generally just dig being around like minded individuals....... you may want to make the trek next year to this event. A well rounded schedule of tournaments, developer commentaries, and discussions such as self publishing on SONY PlayStation await you.