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Punk Arcade

photo credit Alex Kerfoot & Shaun Roberts

photo credit Alex Kerfoot & Shaun Roberts

Punk Arcade is a traveling DIY games exhibit presenting works that are independent, minimal, offbeat, and sometimes gritty. All the featured games have been constructed rapidly, by one person or a small team, outside of the AAA world of mainstream videogames. These works are the product of increased access to game-making software tools which have opened up the field of game-making to publics who had previously never had the necessary skills. These new designers, or “video game zinesters” (as dubbed by game designer Anna Anthropy), are shifting the pre-exiting paradigm for the creation and distribution of games by creating radical work that can be distributed online for free.

Punk Arcade is an alternative arcade featuring seven games meant to represent the range of work produced by the DIY videogame community. The exhibition will be supplemented with a game-making workshop for artists and others with no prior experience in programming or videogame design.

Featuring: Keep Me Occupied by Anna Anthropy, Big Huggin’ by Lindsay Grace, Tennnes by Jan Willem Nijman, Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure by Ryan and Cassie Creighton, Can You Jump It 3D by Steven “Increpare” Lavelle, The Immoral Ms. Panic by Hannah Epstein, Jetpack Basketball by Messhoff

First Friday October 5, 6PM – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAYS OCT 13, 20, 27 from 12PM – 5PM
and by special appointment

Glorious Trainwrecks: Make A Video Game In Two Hours

“Together, you and I will bring the true spirit of indie gaming back. Yes, you! For this site is about nothing, if it is not about getting off your ass and creating. Wikipedia claims that they used to stage trainwrecks (with empty trains, of course) for the amusement of the general population. Would the world not be a better place if we brought this tradition back? It doesn’t matter if you’ve got talent, so long as you’ve got gusto. Your game does not have to be coherent — but it does have to be finished. IT IS TIME TO TAKE THE PLUNGE INTO GLORY.” – from

Do you know absolutely nothing about videogames? Come hang with us, eat Pizza Brain pizzas and learn how to make a game in Scratch, an easy-to-use game-making tool. We’ll talk about Anna Anthropy’s concept of the video game zinester and quickly move into examples of punk games and talk about what it takes to create a game. In this two-hour workshop, participants will be introduced to Scratch before breaking into groups (or working individually) to create their games. All games must be completed and will be posted online to both Glorious Trainwrecks as well as a special page maintained in conjunction with the Punk Arcade exhibit website.


Keep Me Occupied
by Anna Anthropy • Oakland, CA
Keep Me Occupied is a videogame about working together: two players play it at a time, ascending a building by holding gates open for each other, but after sixty seconds, each player leaves a ghost of herself behind to occupy the last gate she touched, holding it open for future players. So every player who plays, no matter how unskilled, contributes to the collective success of all players. Keep Me Occupied was created by Anna Anthropy for Occupy Oakland’s move-in day, January 28, 2012. It ran on the OAK-U-TRON 201X mobile arcade unit built by Alex Kerfoot and Mars Jokela.

Big Huggin’
by Lindsay Grace • Cincinnati, OH
Big Huggin’ is a game designed for use with a custom teddy bear controller. Players complete the game by providing several well-timed hugs to a 30 inch teddy bear. It is an experiment and gesture in alternative interface. Instead of firing toy guns at countless enemies or revving the engines of countless gas guzzling virtual cars, why not give a hug? A hug is simple gesture. It is one of the first physical expression of affections a child learns. It is a gesture for the familial through the romantic. It is a gesture of mutual benefit.

by Jan Willem Nijman • Netherlands
A digital re-working of tennis and an open-ended re-scripting of Pong, created by one-half of Dutch indie game developers Vlambeer, creators of fave games SUPER CRATE BOX, RADICAL FISHING and others. A lo-fi gem of a game, like 8-bit tennis with few rules.

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure
by Ryan and Cassie Creighton • Toronto, Canada
Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure is a video game that 5-year-old Cassie created with her dad at a weekend game jam. Since its launch, the game has become a worldwide phenomenon, and is helping to put Cassie through college. Cassie drew all the pictures, wrote all the titles, and recorded the voice of the main character. She also came up with the non-player characters (including Mr. Turtle, the Mean Tiger, and the villainous Lemon), and designed some of the puzzles.

Can You Jump It 3D
by Steven “Increpare” Lavelle • Cambridge, UK
Created during a 2-hour “glorious trainwrecks” game-making challenge, this game references “Can You Jump It”, almost a meme-game mocked and copied and twisted by many gamers. At its core it’s a car-driving and jumping game, with psychedelic colors and strange jumping challenging (spiders, flans, pies). The game is not quite winnable.

The Immoral Ms. Conduct by Hannah Epstein • Toronto, Canada
A “choose your own adventure” style game created in animation and video software and playable by anyone in their browser through youtube, The Immoral Ms. Conduct is a stripe-clad lady with a bitter taste for authority. A very creative way to make an accessible video game. Players act in the role of female prison inmate that must choose how to act in jail. Videos are mashups of minimalist 8bit drawing programs, recycled sexploitation films, and what the artist describes as “an ode to Russ Meyer and the YouTube Poop community.”

Jetpack Basketball by Mark Essen aka Messhoff • Los Angeles, CA
A basketball game with a difference: jetpacks. The first player to 11 points wins. Stealing is allowed. Hovering and guarding the basket is encouraged. And multiple balls at once add to the confusion.


Sarah Brin is a writer, curator, and experience designer in Los Angeles. She has had the privilege of developing participatory arts programming in collaboration with the Babycastles, The Armand Hammer Museum, The Zero1 Biennial, SFMoMA, and many other arts organizations across North America.

Lee Tusman is an artist and curator in Philadelphia. Tusman has curated dozens of exhibitions and public projects for a diverse group of universities, galleries, institutions, alternative spaces and public interventions. He is Creative Director of Hidden City Philadelphia and a Curatorial Member of Little Berlin. Tusman’s projects straddle the intersection of ideas that are socially-based, urban in nature and that combine unconventional practices with traditional visual art media.

Earlier Event: September 29
Later Event: October 21