Marvel vs. Capcom, Pinball, and Infinity Board Games: Arcade1Up Looks to the Future

Arcade1Up is looking to end the year strong with the reals of many new offerings for their affordable arcade cabinets, including the launch of the highly anticipated Marvel vs. Capcom and X-Men vs. Street Fighter games, as well as the release of Marvel Pinball, but that's not all they have cooking up. With the surprise release of Outrun, the company's first driving cabinet with a steering wheel, as well as the light gun offering of Big Buck Hunter, Arcade1up is expanding their offerings to more unique arcade cabinets that many fans will recognize. And now they're expanding into board games with their Kickstarter campaign for the Infinity Game Table.

This product already blew past its funding goal within hours of launching and is still raising money for the initial release, which will include many classic games from Hasbro as well as new titles from Asmodee. This comes along with the reveals of Star Wars and Attack From Mars pinball tables, meaning Arcade1Up fans better start making space in their game rooms.

ComicBook.com revealed the Outrun cabinet just a couple of weeks ago, and we've since caught up with the team at Arcade1Up to find out just what else they have in store for 2021. We spoke with Robert Pellarin, the Marketing Manager for parent company Tastemakers, LLC, where we discussed the future of the company's consumer arcade products.

Why did Arcade1Up fund the production of the Infinity Game Table through Kickstarter instead through traditional methods?

Robert Pellarin: That's a very valid question, especially for an organization that seems to be growing far past where we started. The reasoning for this is community-based. A lot of what we want the infinity game table to be is community focused. So it has a lot of opportunity for growth. It has a lot of opportunity for different hands in the pot. In the sense that we want the community to feel like they're helping us build this product to where they want to see it to be. Unlike past products like our arcade cabinet category and different products that we knew where we would see them growing to. This product is something that we want to see where this can grow. And for us, a lot of that insight does come from the community. What they see is important for this product both on a spec side and on a developer side.

Interesting. There's already a huge community for board games on Kickstarter. Going right to the source and asking, is there an interest in this project or this product?

Robert Pellarin: And that was a lot of our thought behind it, trying to reach out to those open-minded kind of people. The kind of people who can come back to us and coming months and say, "Hey, my name is John and I made this really cool or game that I really think would work with your table." And who knows maybe from there John's board game becomes the next best seller on our tables. And that's really the concept behind it. Trying to go to these creative developer types. Be in that mind space where they can see that a new platform has become available, in which they can utilize their creative sides and open their own products via other board games or other apps that could have a different platform to be able to grow them to.

You guys partnered with Hasbro for this, which gives a library of classics that everyone grew up with, but you're also partnering with Asmodee.

Robert Pellarin: And again, to the fact, we all know that the board gaming world is so vast. And for everybody there's a different place in which they fit. Like you've mentioned, there are those who really connect with the Hasbro titles that are very well known. And then there's others who like for games that people might not have heard of. And even to that effect, they touch upon different demographics. So we want to make sure that there's something for everyone.

Will you work with companies other than Hasbro and Asmodee in the near future?

Robert Pellarin: Oh, completely. As many people can speculate, Arcade1Up is vastly trying to grow. What we're able to do. A lot of this is within realistic timeframes for the community. We do take a lot of what they say very personally, especially when it does come to Kickstarter, we're listening very closely to what they want to see. And from that, we are using the relationships that we have internally starting new conversations externally, to see in which timeframe we can bring some of those requests into this table, and to that point as well, it's a lot of where we can see this growing to what relationships would work best with a product like this and how we can utilize them down the line as well.

How will you deal with games where players have private hands of cards? Will there be an app or a section of the table that allows for some privacy?

Robert Pellarin: With that in mind, we are continuously developing new ways to improve the user experience, to improve the immersion. We will have some of these answers brought out to our Kickstarter page. So at the moment we are still on how best to simplify the way that we communicate this, so that people who are backing this product and really get a good understanding of how that's going to work with them. But I can say that we do have all this in mind and the brains and minds working behind the scenes are making sure that it's an immersive experience like I mentioned. We want to make sure that people are getting the value from the product that they can foresee. All the solutions that we come up with are going to be longstanding. They're going to be effective solutions so that you don't feel that it's just something that was thrown together for that one game. It's going to be something that continuously works down the lifeline of the product.

The next big product that you guys are going to release is a new line of pinball tables. It seems like this was a really hard challenge for the team to perfect the haptic and tactile feelings of a regular pinball machine, the feedback that you get from a regular table, and packaging that for in an affordable console for a consumer.

Robert Pellarin: Right? And with that, it came with a lot of technical advancements. So working with Zen Studios of those who know digital pinball, they know Zen, they do it really well. And more than that, it's not just the games itself that takes so much time and effort into... It's like we're mentioning, it's the tactile feedback. It's the soul noise, it's everything that goes into it. That gives you the full experience that you would get from a mechanical pinball machine. But in an at home affordable model that works for many different demographics.

For those who enjoy mechanical pinball, they'll still have a very nostalgic experience that they can feel similar to the ones that they've experienced mechanically. And those who are new to that whole category and might not have grown up with mechanical pinball per se, but have played digital versions of it. They'll also be able to strongly feel that same experience. And a lot of that does down to the click field, the buttons, the actual rumbling of the machine itself, the touch, the feel, the sounds, it's going to be something that immerses you in all different feels and senses of your body.

Coming up next is a highly anticipated one with Street Fighter vs. X-Men and Marvel vs. Capcom. And with the NBA Jam cabinet, that was a first, because it comes with a more robust operating system. Are we going to get something similar with that with a Marvel vs. Capcom one, considering that it is also WiFi enabled cabinet?

Robert Pellarin: This is going to be a whole new experience. A lot because we did test the waters with NBA Jam. As you can tell matchmaking systems on a retro arcade haven't really been heard of in the past. It's really mixing two different worlds into the same, which for us is a perfect place to be. Because it allows people the opportunity to really amplify their experience. And with Marvel vs. Capcom, we're expecting the same if not more of a hype towards it, because the competitiveness, the ability to play your friend on such a nostalgic and largely pronounced title is going to be massive. When it comes to the technical aspects of that, we've done very much due diligence to make sure that that experience is as fluid as possible, with the new advancements of the technology from where we started, not so long ago, just doing classic arcade cabinets, and now where we can say we have WiFi capabilities, it's a huge impact for us. And we're very excited to be able to showcase that and be confident in the ability that our community is really going to love what we did with it.

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Is there a chance that maybe you guys would look at bringing that technology to the side-scroller beat'em ups and other games in the future?

Robert Pellarin: We would definitely look into that for the future. A lot of what we do is trying to always... And I hate using the pun but, one up ourselves, so that always opens doors to a lot of different assets. Meaning that if the time were to arrive, that the licenser and the game would work perfectly with that sort of capability, we would be more than interested in pursuing it. On a technical aspect to that, as I've mentioned, we're always very keen to make sure that we're diligent within these processes to make sure similar to what we did with Big Buck Hunter and the light guns behind that. When we enter a new round via WiFi capability or light guns, whatever that new technology is, we want to make sure that we flush it out well before the community gets to see what it is.