Developer interview: Arcade Paradise

Even though most trade shows have been of the digital variety this year, that hasn’t stopped us from coming across our fair share of interesting upcoming games. One of them is Arcade Paradise, which is all about classic arcades but puts a management spin on it, letting you transfer an old laundromat into a vibrant videogame arcade. And yes – the games you put in are playable as well! We checked in with developer Nosebleed Interactive and talked to managing director Andreas Firnigl about their nostalgia-rich project.

Arcade Paradise has an ambitious scope – combining management aspects with a fully featured arcade. How will the game cater to players who prefer one over the other?

It’s definitely the most ambitious (and biggest) game we’ve done to date. We’ve absolutely tried to keep in mind different playstyles and tastes, so for players who want to get into the nitty gritty and min/max their earning potential there’s quite a lot of fun stuff to tinker with, for example moving machines around, where placing a really popular one next to less popular ones will boost their popularity too. Obviously we also have a bunch of stats to track and tweak, which you don’t need to do but will bring in more cash if you do.

With everything being playable we do some more modern things to keep the games themselves feeling fresh so alongside the games themselves we have a bunch of what we’re calling “goals” which basically equate to mini achievements for each game. Achieving these will boost popularity, as will spending time simply playing them.

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Further down the line we have some cool upgrades which we’re not really talking about yet, but these basically automate or make more efficient some of the tasks that you’ll find yourself doing early on in the game, so that later on you have more free time to just play all the games. Again, these are optional and you can pick and choose according to your playstyle.

To what degree is the game narrative-driven?

With the amazingly talented Doug Cockle lending his voice to the player’s father, Gerald (we’re gamers, so we couldn’t resist), there’s a strong narrative thread, which we deliver through emails, MSN/iRC style chats and voice messages. I really love what the writer did with the story, but it’s worth noting that it’s delivered in a way that’s based on the player’s progress and is very non-intrusive. We never stop the player from doing what they want, save for one particular short section, which I don’t want to spoil.

Classic arcades weren’t just about the games, but also the culture and atmosphere. How will we see that in the game?

100% Our game is a love letter to games and arcades and, actually, the 90s in general. So when you buy a new cabinet you have to order it off an old netscape style browser on an old 386 PC in the office, where you can also just sit and play minesweeper or solitaire (worth noting we’re not counting these as part of the 35 games). When machines break down, you have to pull out the PCB and manually fix them (in a very silly arcade-y way).

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We also have a jukebox in the game where you can unlock new records that are inspired by the various sounds of the 90s. I’m a big fan of early 90’s UK dance music so that’s represented for example. It even goes down to the types of litter you’ll be picking up around the Laundrette and Arcade… There’s a lot of nods to early 90s nostalgia.

You’re creating over 35 fully functional arcade games for Arcade Paradise. Some classic arcade games were like today’s mini games, while others took hours to complete. Can we expect the same here?

Very much so. With setting the game in the 90’s we’ve given ourselves a lot of creative freedom to choose what sorts of games to do, but we’ve not restricted ourselves to just quarter munching arcade games. We’ve taken even older games and given them an arcade lick, for example one of the office favourites is “Stack Overflow” which is a take on “Towers of Hanoi” – a game invented in 1883! One of my favourites is “Blockchain” which is heavily inspired by a mobile game called “Drop7” and is a game I can play for hours. We have a multiplayer side scrolling brawler, a mode7 style JRPG/match 3 hybrid… basically we had free reign to create as much as we wanted! It’s been a dream to develop.

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“Racer Chaser” takes it cues from PAC-MAN, but dresses it up like an early GTA game. Where the player is a sports car and the ghosts are cops cars and if you get caught you can run around blasting them with a boombox to make them dance (like the dubstep gun from Saints Row) before you find another car to get into! We always tried to add something new to the mix.

As already noted each game has a set of “Goals” to complete as well, so completionists are also well catered to.

You recently took part in the EuroPlay competition as one of the entries for the UK – what was that experience like?

Our Publishers, Wired Productions, submitted Arcade Paradise for the Europlay competition, as we have been flat out developing! But it was really special to be nominated, especially when you look at some of the amazing games we were alongside. I think with a lack of trade shows it’s been quite hard to get feedback from players, which is why we’re keen to get people hands on with the game as soon as possible. We’re looking to get a Demo out for steamfest this October, which I think will be great timing for us as it means we can take the feedback and actually act on it!

Where in development is the game at the moment?

Suffice to say we’re still hard at work polishing the game, but you can stay tuned for more information on the Nosebleed Interactive and Wired Productions social media accounts!

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