Mark Kleback, the founder of the arcade cabinet maker and non-profit Death By Audio Arcade, is launching a Kickstarter for a new Brooklyn bar and event space dedicated to indie video games.
Wonderville is taking over Brooklyn’s Secret Project Robot space and transforming it into “a new celebration of independent games and interactive art.” It’s asking for $70,000 in funding from the community and, in return, it’s offering some Kickstarter-exclusive games, art, handmade arcade cabinets, and more.
Instead of the usual retro ’80s and ’90s arcade cabinets, Wonderville features brand new, original experiences created by indie developers and artists. Up until now, these games have only shown up at festivals or short-term pop-ups. Then, they disappear. The bar will house these titles permanently. It will also host tournaments, playtest nights, board games, comedy, live music, and rotating art installations.
“The video game industry today is where the movie industry was in the 80s, ripe and waiting for its John Waters-type to usher in independent video game developers among the mainstream,” Wonderville said in a press release. “There is a vibrant community in NYC building experimental video games today, however many arcade bars are focused on retro games from the ’80s and ’90s, leaving virtually no space for independent game makers today to publicly showcase their art.”
Since 2013, Wonderville has hosted talks and panels and invited local developers to showcase their games at public events. It’s also built over 20 custom arcade cabinets features at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, MAGFest, World Maker Faire New York, South By Southwest, PlayNYC and Low-Level Festival. Soaring New York City rents have pushed it out of at least one space, however, so this time it said it wants to make sure it has enough funding to get off the ground.