First things first, where the heck are we doing this?
While the individual fire games are being built in several cities across North America, they’ll be coming together to form the Charcade in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. Why there? That’s where Burning Man, an annual (and massive) weeklong art and self-expression festival, is taking place. There are very few places in the world where we could set up such a large-scale project, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. I’m sure we can all agree that every community needs an arcade. Now, anyone who’s familiar with Burning Man will agree that for Black Rock City, not just any arcade will do! That's why we've dreamed up the Charcade, where past and present interactive fire art and game installations come together to create the first ever fiery on-playa arcade.
The fire games of insanity
The goal is to build an authentic feeling arcade that is as visually captivating as it is fun to play. We’re thrilled to announce that Dance Dance Immolation, Flamethrower Shooting Gallery, Rock Inferno, Super Street Fire, and Toxic Bloom will all be making a triumphant return to the playa as part of the Charcade. In addition, the creators of PyroPodium will be joining us with a new interactive fire piece called Touch Me, and the creators of Super Street Fire (Site 3 Fire Arts) are building a bank of 10 colossal metal Skee Ball machines that erupt fire, lovingly dubbed Riskee Ball. Each game features a component that allows participants to interact directly with it, and rewards (or punishes) them with some form of glorious fire display. Because of the nature of the project, visitors aren't limited to simply interacting with just one game; they interact with the arcade environment as a whole. Flame effects and a mingling of different sounds and noises alone will draw in a crowd, and seeing people play the games and set scores will encourage others to partake in some friendly competition.
Our super high-tech player tracking system
All these games will have a gameplay component that integrates our central player tracking system. Every new player gets their own personal Charcade player tag, embedded with an RFID, that they use to check in to each installation before gameplay. The RFID tag tracks their progress and sends any high scores to the leaderboard located in the welcome center. This helps to further unify the Charcade, encourage competition, award Charcade champions, and bring an old school arcade feel to whole experience.
The welcome center of candy-striped goodness
The Charcade will consist of seven fire games organized in a circle around a central welcome center. Strategically placed street signs, railings, and lights will direct visitors into the heart of the arcade. There they will find the welcome center, a large structure featuring the neon-trimmed "Charcade" sign, a bar-style counter behind which Charcade volunteers will distribute player tags, and a huge flame effect that will blast from high up on the roof to announce new players and high scores. The center will also feature a monitor that will display the scores and names of current Charcade champions.
Why we love the Charcade (and you should too!)
The Charcade embraces interactivity in more than just one way. The very idea behind the project is to bring together fire art groups from all over North America to share their knowledge and experiences, and to foster future collaborations. It creates a space that encourages visitors to interact with a variety of different fire art installations in new, novel, and enticing ways. Most of all, it provides smaller fire games with the support they need to be even more successful, as well as the opportunity to be showcased on a much larger stage. The Charcade merges elements of sculpture, performance art, and epic fire displays. It's both fun to play and fun to watch. From cheering on others and setting high scores, to the impressive nightly fire displays, to exploring the game mechanics during the day, the Charcade will provide an entirely new way for people to experience and interact with fire art games.
Where your money goes
The Charcade team is thrilled to have received honourarium status from the Burning Man Art Grants Committee. While we’re very grateful for the partial funding we’ve received, we still have a ways to go to meet our goal. Our hopes are to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of a shared generator to keep all Charcade games powered up for the week, to build our goofy flame-spewing welcome center, and to bring our player tracking system to life. We adore what we do and look forward to building one kick-ass fire arcade! Follow our progress at thecharcade.com or at facebook.com/charcade
Thanks for making it this far! Here’s a picture of Smokey the Bear wearing one of our T-shirts:
Risks and challenges
We don’t foresee any issues related to the construction of the remaining Charcade structures. In addition to our core team, we have a broad network of available volunteers willing to help out in a moment’s notice. The only potential issues we might face are delays to our build schedule caused by not having the necessary materials on hand when we need them. To best prepare ourselves we have already sourced suppliers for all of the items we’re hoping to cover with our Kickstarter funds, in addition to choosing an alternate supplier should the items we require be unavailable for whatever reason (backorder, discontinuation, etc,). With the fallback plan in place we hope to avoid any supplier-based issues.
All that said, by accepting the partial funding that Burning Man has graciously offered us, we made a commitment to bring the Charcade to life as we initially proposed. Being the hopeless over-achievers we are, we all agree that not following through on our project is just not an option. Period.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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