Monday, March 23, 2009

King Ludd's Midway Arcade

Call for Submissions
King Ludd's Midway Arcade
Version Fest 09'
Curated by Material Exchange

Calling all gamers, artists, engineers, tinkerers, hackers, manipulators...

The Midway Plaissance in Hyde Park was the home of the World's Fair of 1893, an international celebration of the landing of Columbus in North America 401 years earlier. It involved displays of world cultures, technology, food, the debut of the Ferris Wheel, and endless other amusements. It was a hopeful moment that looked fervently toward the future. Hope in our time may have to do with retracting high-impact commitments, resisting speed, slowing growth and expansion. To that end, King Ludd's Midway Arcade proposes an Antidote to the World's Fair with a call for proposals for home-made video games, parlor games, and carnival games that in some way challenge or offer an alternative to the dominance of high-technology.

Send Entries to


The Games:
may be analog, low–tech, mechanical, or hacker. They might be re-vamped arcade games, games called 'Sabotage' involving wooden shoes, or games with a carnivalesque feeling. You may want to begin with an existing video game console like a Pacman table, or re-imagine existing game rules and make them your own. We are not looking for board games. All games must involve some significant physical apparatus or console. Games must be portable, fully functional, durable, family friendly, and should not require excessive assembly on our end. We want to especially encourage science, art, and engineering students and faculty to build games together with a group or class.

interest in analog or low-tech arcade games began with the creation of our multi-player, analog pinball machine in 2007 (this game will be present at the arcade). We are interested in the multi-player, hand-driven, collaborative game apparatus as a site to investigate metaphors for social engagement inspired by game theory. In broader terms, they approach questions about the necessity of parameters or
rules for meaningful interaction and dialogue, or invention within non-parametric contexts.

Please send us a brief bio of yourself or your team and a description of your proposal for a game. Visual aids are encouraged. Deadline: Monday, March 22nd, 2008.

Send Entries to


We intend to charge a minimal admission fee (around $5 for adults, $3 for kids) for entry as a way to cover our administrative costs. We also intend for the makers of the games to receive an ongoing royalty (albeit a small one) from the arcade if it travels to future locales. Our objective is to create an ongoing source of funding for our projects, and those of fellow makers.

This seminal exhibition of fully functional games will debut at the Experimental Station in Woodlawn, from April 24th to May 2nd, after which the arcade will travel to other locations yet to be determined. We will create a festival atmosphere likely to attract visitors from as far afield as Indiana and Wisconsin!!!

All entries compete for the King Ludd Award the people's choice favorite.


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