Keep­ing an eye on the coin-op gam­ing scene

Josh De­bo­nis and Nik Mikros’s Killer Queen started life as a phys­i­cal field game, which was played with foam swords, balls and plas­tic crowns, but grad­u­ated to a fully fledged ar­cade cab­i­net thanks to a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Wis­con­sin-based Fun Com­pany. The ma­chine be­came a fa­mil­iar sight at in­die and cor­po­rate game events, and found its way into a hand­ful of ar­cades across North Amer­ica. Now its cre­ators have signed a deal with Raw Thrills in a rare ex­am­ple of a home­grown ar­cade pro­ject get­ting picked up by a main­stream man­u­fac­turer.

Played on a pair of gi­ant cab­i­nets, two teams of five – each led by a fly­ing, pow­er­ful queen – com­pete to re­trieve a gi­ant snail god, fill their hive with nec­tar, or take down the op­pos­ing queen three times. Each cab­i­net has a 47-inch 1080p screen, a wide bank of joy­sticks and but­tons, and, most im­por­tantly, cup hold­ers. It’s a ri­otous, fast-paced strate­gic brawler that pro­motes smack­talk­ing with com­plete strangers as the ad­van­tage ebbs and flows.

The lat­est ver­sion of the cab­i­net re­tains ear­lier builds’ bright blue-and-or­ange aes­thetic, but adds some fan­tas­tic-look­ing retro-styled side art. There’s also now a tu­to­rial to help new play­ers ad­just to the rel­a­tively com­plex team-based game­play, as well as AI team­mates. The deal will hope­fully mean the game finds its way into many more ar­cades and sets an en­cour­ag­ing prece­dent for the in­tro­duc­tion of orig­i­nal and out­sider ideas to the highly com­pet­i­tive ar­cade in­dus­try.

Game KillerQueen Man­u­fac­turer Raw Thrills

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