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We’re building an arcade and it’s rather non-traditional. (Translation: We’re building the CHARCADE and ALL THE GAMES SPEW FIRE)
We’re building an arcade and it’s rather non-traditional. (Translation: We’re building the CHARCADE and ALL THE GAMES SPEW FIRE)
189 backers pledged $10,306 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Charcade – Burning Man 2013 project video thumbnail
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$10,306

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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.

Dance Dance Immolation is Dance Dance Revolution, only with flamethrowers pointed at you. (Burning Man 2005, 2006 + 2007)
Dance Dance Immolation is Dance Dance Revolution, only with flamethrowers pointed at you. (Burning Man 2005, 2006 + 2007)
Flamethrower Shooting Gallery provides a flaming twist on “County Fair” style shooting galleries. (Burning Man 2008 + 2009)
Flamethrower Shooting Gallery provides a flaming twist on “County Fair” style shooting galleries. (Burning Man 2008 + 2009)
Rock Inferno is Guitar Hero that blasts fire when you strum the right notes. (Burning Man 2010 + 2011)
Rock Inferno is Guitar Hero that blasts fire when you strum the right notes. (Burning Man 2010 + 2011)
Super Street Fire is a live-action adaptation of Street Fighter II that lets you punch fire at your opponent. (Burning Man 2012)
Super Street Fire is a live-action adaptation of Street Fighter II that lets you punch fire at your opponent. (Burning Man 2012)
Toxic Bloom is an interactive virus sculpture where your gestures are manifest in bursts of coloured flame. (Burning Man 2011 + 2012)
Toxic Bloom is an interactive virus sculpture where your gestures are manifest in bursts of coloured flame. (Burning Man 2011 + 2012)
Touch Me is a new fire game based on Simon Says.
Touch Me is a new fire game based on Simon Says.
Riskee Ball is a new take on an old arcade favourite.
Riskee Ball is a new take on an old arcade favourite.

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:

Very important public safety announcement
Very important public safety announcement

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.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A ten-dollar donation not only gives you a wonderful feeling of good-doings but it also earns you a shiny shout-out on thecharcade.com, plus a high-five from the team – virtual or on playa.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    A pair of diffraction glasses to make viewing the Charcade at night extra trippy! Available ONLY for pick-up on playa at the welcome center.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    This badass button and sticker combo is awesome for showing your Charcade pride IRL. Need we say more?

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    This patch is perfect for sewing over the burned holes on your clothing that you will earn should you attempt to cross the Charcade’s heavily guarded security fences.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    This bright red and lovingly screen-printed Charcade circle bandana, doubles as a wicked headband, and triples as a dust mask. What’s not to like?

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    No wardrobe is complete without a bright red T-shirt with a stick man running away from a flaming arcade machine on it.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    This special gift is a handmade laser-cut leather cuff – a beautiful memento of Burning Man’s first-ever fire arcade!

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Limited edition signed print of Smokey the Bear wearing one of our famous Charcade T-shirts, lovingly designed by one of the Charcade artists.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    This prize pack includes a beloved Charcade T-shirt and our highly sought-after Charcade leather cuff.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Be the most envied kid on playa with this personalized wooden ball for Riskee Ball. Add your own scorch marks with a few rounds of Riskee Ball! Available ONLY for pick-up on playa at the welcome center.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    This level earns you our undying love and devotion. It’s ALL THE THINGS (sticker, button, patch, bandana, leather cuff, T-shirt, and signed print) plus a charred thank you note from the team.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Ever dream of standing inside a ring of fire, shouting at the top of your lungs, amongst a thronging excitable crowd? Be the Co-Master of Games for one fight at Super Street Fire! Also includes a Charcade T-shirt, stickers, and button.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    We made real legit signs featuring our friendly warning picture of a man running away from a flaming arcade machine. They’ll have a happy home in the desert for two weeks before we ship one to you, dust and all.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    This level gives you the honour of naming the massive flame effect on top of our welcome center. We’ll give it a charming sign and refer to it by its shiny new name. That being said, there are a few limits… 1. Name must be within Burning Man Guidelines (No sponsorships or company names) 2. Charcade reserves the right to reject a name and ask for another one within reason. That aside, there’s a lot of room for play here, it is an arcade after all! Also includes a Charcade T-shirt, stickers, and button.

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Funding period

- (30 days)