Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 17, 2012.

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Richie Knucklez Arcade, one of the biggest arcade phenomena in the world, is now the focus of this highly anticipated documentary.

Richie Knucklez Arcade (Flemington, New Jersey)
Richie Knucklez Arcade (Flemington, New Jersey)

"The template for classic gaming documentaries has been blown to bits. In a world of copies, Richie Knucklez, in The King of Arcades, remains an original."

- RetroCade Magazine

The King of Arcades

An Arcade Will Fall... A Hero Will Rise!

The King of Arcades is directed by award-winning filmmaker Sean Tiedeman and produced by Krystle-Dawn Willing. Starting as a passion project, this movie launched the team on an unexpected journey; from discovering the historic past in Ralph Baer's personal workshop, to capturing the present as the Smithsonian Museum recognizes gaming as art.  Along the way, the crew encountered an interesting cast of characters including game developers, high score players, and arcade enthusiasts.  Join Team Knucklez on this pilgrimage in search of what inspires the passion of the video game culture.  Filming began in June of 2011 at Richie Knucklez Arcade in Flemington, New Jersey and is ongoing. Production is planned to wrap in late 2012.

Online promotional poster for The King of Arcades (left).  On the shoulders of Giants: Richie Knucklez and Steve Wiebe from The King of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters (right).
Online promotional poster for The King of Arcades (left). On the shoulders of Giants: Richie Knucklez and Steve Wiebe from The King of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters (right).

Insert Coin

We need your quarters, tokens, and support to produce a once in a lifetime documentary of the classic arcade gaming culture!
We need your quarters, tokens, and support to produce a once in a lifetime documentary of the classic arcade gaming culture!

This movie just keeps getting bigger and we really need your help to make this film happen!  So far, we have traveled from Flemington, New Jersey to Ottumwa, Iowa to interview important players and game designers to document the impact of gaming past, present, and future. We have obtained and licensed rare footage of historical gaming milestones and captured new monumental moments in gaming history. The story is unfolding... but there is so much more to tell! We REALLY need your help.  We are hoping to raise funds to cover the costs of additional interviews with industry icons, crew salaries, production expenses, hard drives, purchase of licensed footage, travel expenses, customized graphics, and all of the general costs associated with a project of this scope.  I know some of you reading this are just as passionate about this as we are.  Join Team Knucklez and help us take this documentary to the next level!

We already have the support and filmed footage of gaming culture greats like...

At age 90, Ralph H. Baer is still inventing and creating magic in his home workshop.
At age 90, Ralph H. Baer is still inventing and creating magic in his home workshop.

Ralph H. Baer (The Father of Video Games) who was awarded the National Medal of Technology for inventing the home console for video games and spawning the video game industry.  Mr. Baer is also the author of Videogames: In the Beginning.

• The King of Kong's Walter Day (Founder of Twin Galaxies: The Official Scorekeeper for the World of Video Games), Billy Mitchell, Greg Bond, and Donald 'The Robot' Hayes.  The King of Kong is considered by many to be one of the best documentary films of 2007 and appeared on many critics top ten lists.

Joel West and Mark Robichek of Chasing Ghosts: Beyond The Arcade.  Joel and Mark also appeared in the historic 1982 Life Magazine Photo.  We were fortunate enough to be able to license video from this historic event from filmmaker Lewis Wilson, John Sorflaten, and Walter Day.  They provided similar clips to The King of Kong and Chasing Ghosts.  Some of the footage we acquired has never been seen before!  Amazing stuff.

The famous Life Magazine feature spread from '82 in Ottumwa, Iowa.  Championship gamers came from all over North America and were recognized as superstars.  Mark Robichek is in the center.  Joel West is second from the left.
The famous Life Magazine feature spread from '82 in Ottumwa, Iowa. Championship gamers came from all over North America and were recognized as superstars. Mark Robichek is in the center. Joel West is second from the left.

Tim Balderramos, author of 'Confessions of a Pac-Man Junkie' and author
Steve Sanders 'The Video Master's Guide to Donkey Kong'

Richie Knucklez, lead vocalist from the band Knuckle Sandwich.  Richie was also recently featured on Yahoo's Mystery of Men Video Series (Space Invader: A World Record Holder and His Home Arcade).

Seth and Michelle (aka ComputeHer) from the band 8 Bit Weapon.  They have released 11 albums and worked with Disney, Microsoft, Nokia, Sony, and many musical artists including Kraftwerk and Information Society.

• Record holders and competitive gamers like George (Q*bert) Leutz, plastic surgeon Hank Chien (current Donkey Kong World Champion and star of Doctor Kong), Steve Wagner, Isaiah TriForce Johnson (CEO and founder of Empire Arcadia), marathon gamer Rick Carter, and Tim McVey (Guinness World Record Holder).

• We were fortunate enough to gain press access to film The Art of Video Games opening weekend at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium.  Over 23,000 visitors attended while we were there, ranking in the top five highest visitation days for the museum.

The Tokens

What does your money fund?

In short, YOU will be making arcade gaming history!  Every cent of the funding raised on Kickstarter goes directly towards the production of the movie. That covers everything from the purchase of licensed footage and customized graphics, to camera and lens rentals. It also supports travel and crew costs for obtaining additional interviews with major game designers and footage of crucial gaming events. Your contributions will also cover other production expenses, including post-production, artwork, licensing music and stock footage, graphics, recording studio time, marketing, and distribution. 

The Players

Who is the Production Team?

Director: Sean Tiedeman

As partner at [K] Studios production company, Sean has a fifteen year history in the television and film industry. He has served as cameraman and editor of major projects, including Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments. He is also the associate producer of independent films like Eavesdrop and Everything's Jake released by Warner Bros. Home Video.  Sean has experience creating behind-the-scenes documentaries for feature films, such as Bereavement released by Anchor Bay in 2011.   Under the alias Irish Elvis, Sean recorded the song '80's Arcade' which aired on the nationally syndicated radio program, The Dr. Demento Show.

Filmmaker Sean Tiedeman and Richie Knucklez take a break during the filming of The King of Arcades at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Nolan Bushnell (Atari founder) is seen in the background.
Filmmaker Sean Tiedeman and Richie Knucklez take a break during the filming of The King of Arcades at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Nolan Bushnell (Atari founder) is seen in the background.

“I wanted to do a passion project, something that is important to me. I love the classic video games. When I was a teenager, I bought a Rampage arcade machine without telling my parents... I took all the stuff out of my closet and tossed it on my bedroom floor, removed the closet doors, and put the game cabinet in there.

Rampage sitting in my closet during my teenage years.
Rampage sitting in my closet during my teenage years.

My mom was SO angry! She still talks about it nearly 20 years later.  That's who I am. I'm a guy who loves these games and does whatever it takes to get things done. This project has grown far beyond my dreams and expectations. It just keeps getting bigger and BIGGER!  I feel it is incredibly important to preserve the history of these early games by documenting the stories of the creators, programmers, artists, and the players in a POSITIVE manner.  I originally intended to film just a few days at Richie's Arcade in New Jersey.  Little did I know that the story would take me to Iowa, The Smithsonian in Washington D.C., New Hampshire, and Colorado.  I am extremely determined to do this right.  I want this film to play out like a love story for these games.  The movie has a lot of heart and I feel I truly captured some magic.  The plot is shaping up to be really intense.  Drama, Comedy, Action... this movie has it all.  Lots of surprises too.  I am just so excited about this film and its potential.  I have been working extremely hard on this and I hope it shows.  I really feel this is going to be something special.”  

Executive Producer: Krystle-Dawn Willing

Executive Producer Krystle-Dawn Willing with Video Game World Champion Joel West.  Joel starred in the movie Chasing Ghosts: Beyond The Arcade.  The film is now streaming on Netflix.
Executive Producer Krystle-Dawn Willing with Video Game World Champion Joel West. Joel starred in the movie Chasing Ghosts: Beyond The Arcade. The film is now streaming on Netflix.

The Perks

Donate, get cool stuff, and help us to preserve early video game history for future generations..
Donate, get cool stuff, and help us to preserve early video game history for future generations..
Own an original Richie Knucklez restored limited The King of Arcades edition arcade machine.  MUSEUM QUALITY!  Richie's machines look like they are "fresh out of the box."  You can choose from three of the classics: Donkey Kong, Galaga, or Ms. Pac-Man.
Own an original Richie Knucklez restored limited The King of Arcades edition arcade machine. MUSEUM QUALITY! Richie's machines look like they are "fresh out of the box." You can choose from three of the classics: Donkey Kong, Galaga, or Ms. Pac-Man.
Promotional Garbage Pail Kids style cards featuring art from world-renowned artist Joe Simko.  Only our Kickstarter backers will be able to obtain these bad boys.
Promotional Garbage Pail Kids style cards featuring art from world-renowned artist Joe Simko. Only our Kickstarter backers will be able to obtain these bad boys.
Help show your support for TEAM KNUCKLEZ with these exclusive T-Shirts! The Kong Off Official Shirt (left) Team Knucklez Shirt (right)
Help show your support for TEAM KNUCKLEZ with these exclusive T-Shirts! The Kong Off Official Shirt (left) Team Knucklez Shirt (right)
Get your hands on a limited edition 'The King of Arcades' official Twin Galaxies trading card.  These will only be available to our fellow Kickstarter supporters.  The card on the right is the card that you will receive.
Get your hands on a limited edition 'The King of Arcades' official Twin Galaxies trading card. These will only be available to our fellow Kickstarter supporters. The card on the right is the card that you will receive.
Show your support with Team Knucklez postcards!
Show your support with Team Knucklez postcards!

The Points/FAQ

What's up with the music downloads?

Knuckle Sandwich will soon be recording 'The King of Arcades' - the theme song for the film.  Wait until you hear this one!  The band is going into the studio next month to record the track.  Also, the song you heard in the trailer above is '80's Arcade', created by the director Sean Tiedeman under his musical alias Irish Elvis. This song was a Top 10 hit on several comedy radio programs and aired on the popular Dr. Demento radio show.  Both songs will be available to download at all pledge levels.

How do I learn more about these postcards?

These 'Team Knucklez' special postcards have been created to promote the film. 5,000 have been printed for promotional purposes. They will all be shipped in a protected envelope.

Why shouldn't I just wait to buy the DVD?

These exclusive Kickstarter DVDs may be the only hard copy version of the film released! Plus, for $25 you get your copy signed by the star of the film, as well as the Director and Executive Producer. For $50, Sean and Krystle will also get at least one of the cast members (besides Richie) to add their autograph as well. The DVD will be loaded with tons of bonus features - not available anywhere else - including outtakes, extended interviews, commentary, music videos, and more.

We hope to release The King of Arcades on digital streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.  Therefore, this may be your ONLY chance to obtain a DVD version of the film.  For just $25 you will receive this exclusive and potentially rare Kickstarter DVD.

Who's Joe Simko? Why should I want his artist edition card?

Joe Simko is the famous illustrator who has contributed to Topps’ Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packages, and Cereal Killers trading cards. The artwork was created for promotional purposes and has gained incredible interest from fans. The infamous Garbage Pail Kids style image of Richie Knucklez is an homage to the original Donkey Kong trading cards.  This artwork can only be used for promotion and will not be for sale anywhere!  This is the only place you will be able to get this card.  A truly great collectable.  These will NEVER be sold anywhere.

How do I get my name in the credits?

For $50 your name will appear in the Special Thanks section in the end credits of the film.

For $250 you will receive an Associate Producer credit in the film and your name will be listed on IMDb. 

For $5,000 you will receive an Executive Producer credit in the opening and closing credits of the film as well as your name on IMDb.  Tons of bragging rights go along with this one!

What's so special about the Twin Galaxies 'The King of Arcades' trading card?

These cards are part of the official Twin Galaxies trading card series.  Only 1,000 of this commemorative collectors card will be printed.  The only way to obtain The King of Arcades official card is by supporting the film on Kickstarter.

What kind of personalized arcade-themed gift can I get?

The Executive Producer, Krystle-Dawn Willing, is extremely crafty and will personally design and create an arcade themed gift that is customized just for you! You can choose from painted glass ornaments to homemade Pac-Man cookies.  You can take your pick from classic arcade characters including Q*bert, Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Frogger, Mario, the robots from Berzerk, and more.  This is an awesome personalized gift we are offering to say thanks for your support!

How can I attend the World Premiere?

By pledging $1000 or more, you and a friend will be invited to attend.  We are planning to have many of Richie's arcade machines available to play in the lobby area of the theater before and after the film.  Come and mingle with the cast and crew.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to look at our Kickstarter project.  If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact us at anytime.  Thanks so much and we are both looking forward to working together with you on this very exciting project.

The King of Arcades links:

IMDb

Facebook

YouTube

Official Website

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

In order to complete this project, we must accomplish three major tasks. We
could potentially encounter any number of obstacles in the process, so we'd
like to reassure our supporters of our ability to follow through with our
plans despite challenges. Sean has fifteen years of professional production
experience, so he is more than prepared to handle any roadblocks and
complete the project.

During the task of obtaining additional interviews, we may encounter
scheduling conflicts or negotiation issues. We are prepared to travel great
distances (literally and figuratively) in order to gain the materials we
need. We are more than happy to reschedule filming dates or record
long-distance audio to pair with existing footage in order to include the
interviews we feel are absolutely necessary. We understand that we will
need to be flexible and intend to accommodate the interview subjects as much as possible. Such challenges may slightly delay production, however, the project will be completed in a timely manner.

We have been filming The King of Arcades for a little over a year, we
already have over 80 hours of raw footage to navigate. Editing is
our most daunting task. We appreciate your patience if we happen to require
more time than we originally estimated. In order to compensate for the
challenge of this time consuming work, we cataloged and organized the
footage as it was recorded. Creating the teaser trailer for Kickstarter
allowed us to become familiar with the footage and practice locating
valuable clips, which will make it easier to piece together the final edit.
While compiling the sheer volume of video, audio, effects, and digital clips
will be demanding work, the greatest impact would be a short delay in the
project. Again, we will complete the film in a timely manner regardless of
challenges. In the event any of the footage may become lost or damaged, we
already have back-up hard drives storing the valuable material in two
separate locations. We are taking every precaution necessary to ensure that
this project will run smoothly!

The final task will be to market and distribute the finished film to share
with the public. We don't expect to have much difficulty locating a venue
for our film, as we already have contacts with various television networks,
digital streaming services, and distribution companies. Should we be
unable to release the film through an existing company, for any reason, we
would distribute the product ourselves. This project is dear to our hearts,
and we are well prepared to tackle any obstacles that come our way.

FAQ

  • Whether you receive a special thanks credit or you are an associate or executive producer, when the Kickstarter campaign is over, backers will be contacted to provide the name they prefer. We will accept nicknames, screen names, legal names, any names as long as they are inoffensive. When the movie is complete, the final opening and closing credits will be viewable online so everyone can preview the content before we make the final print of the film. This is a way to ensure that no one is left out and everyone is correctly credited!

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    8 backers

    Frogger Package: Every supporter who contributes at this level or above will be listed on the Supporters Page of our official website and have access to exclusive song downloads from the film. Plus, you receive regular email updates on the production progress!

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    3 backers

    Pac-Man Package: Support Team Knucklez! In addition to the perks above, you will receive a limited edition Team Knucklez postcard in the mail. There are only 5,000 of these promotional postcards in print. Postcards are full color, double-sided. The postcards will ship in Dec. 2012 in a protected envelope.

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    130 backers

    Q-Bert Package: Get The King of Arcades on DVD! You will receive an early release of The King of Arcades DVD loaded with special features! The DVD will be signed by Richie Knucklez as well as the Director and Executive Producer of the film. These exclusive Kickstarter DVDs may be the only hard copy version of the film released! This is also your only chance to get the FREE The King of Arcades artist edition trading card, featuring custom Garbage Pail Kids style artwork by world-renowned artist Joe Simko. This card is for promotional use only and is not available for sale! Kickstarter will be your only way to obtain these cards. You will also get all the great prizes from the Pac-Man and Frogger packages. We will ship the cards and postcards Dec. 2012 in a protective envelope. (Free US shipping. Please add $10 shipping on international orders.)

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    75 backers

    Asteroids Package: SEE YOUR NAME IN THE END CREDITS OF THE FILM! Take the packages above and add additional cast member(s) autographs to the DVD, plus a SPECIAL THANKS in the movie credits AND a limited edition official Twin Galaxies issued 'The King of Arcades' trading card! Only 1,000 of these exclusive collectors edition trading cards will be produced. Each will be numbered and signed by the director. The two trading cards and the postcard will ship Dec. 2012 in a protective envelope. The Twin Galaxies card and the Garbage Pail Kids style card will also ship in a protective plastic collectable sleeve.

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    17 backers

    Rampage Package: Get your TEAM KNUCKLEZ T-Shirt! What a great way to show your support. Grab all of the great prizes above plus add an awesome Team Richie Knucklez T-SHIRT in your selected size. Show the world you are a supporter by wearing this T-shirt proudly. Plus, receive a personalized one-of-a-kind handmade arcade-themed gift of your choice. Gift options are described in The Points/Faq section of this page. The T-SHIRT will ship Dec. 2012. The personalized gifts will ship February 2013. (Free US shipping. Please add $10 shipping on international orders.)

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    23 backers

    Centipede Package: You are a Producer! This is your chance to become an Associate Producer of The King of Arcades! At this level, you will receive all the perks above, plus your name will appear as an associate producer in a LARGE font during the end credits of the film. Your name will be listed on IMDb, the world's most popular and authoritative source for movies. You will have the right to brag to all your friends forever! You will also receive all of the previous rewards. (Free US shipping. Please add $10 shipping on international orders.)

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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    Mario Package: All the incredible perks of the previous packages, plus 2 tickets to the world premiere of The King of Arcades! Meet the cast and crew of the film and be one of the first to see the movie on the big screen! This special event will be held in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania area (transportation and accommodations not provided). Also, receive a FREE 'The King of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters'' DVD signed by the starring cast. Lastly, we will mail you an official KONG-OFF T-Shirt commemorating one of the biggest events ever held in gaming history - The Kong-Off! The Kong-Off was held at Richie Knucklez Arcade in 2011 and featured ten of the best Donkey Kong players in the world battling head-to-head to settle the score. We will also throw in an original vintage token from The Video Game Capital of The World - Twin Galaxies 'The World's Most Famous Video Game Arcade.' This was the legendary arcade owned by starring cast member Walter Day. (Free US shipping. Please add $10 shipping on international orders.)

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    Donkey Kong Package: CONGRATULATIONS! You are an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER of the film. Your name will appear in the opening credits sequence and closing credits of the movie! Your name will also be on the poster, listed on IMDb, and even on the DVD box art! You will also have exclusive V.I.P. access to the production. The creative team will keep you directly involved throughout the entire process. See exclusive extended interviews immediately after they are filmed, view rough cuts, and view a pre-screening of the final trailer. Also, check out early marketing materials, the finished film, and of course get an early 'screener' copy of the final DVD. This is the ultimate, exclusive, behind- the-scenes perk! PLUS, you will receive all previous rewards! (Free US shipping. Please add $10 shipping on international orders.)

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  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    1 backer All gone!

    The 1UP Package: DOUBLE THE ULTIMATE! What better way to celebrate the Kong Off 2 event? In addition to all of the incredible Space Invaders perks, you will receive a limited edition Donkey Kong arcade cabinet from the Kong Off 2 event at the 1UP in Denver, Colorado. An additional 4 tickets to the King of Arcades premiere will be included, for a total of 6 tickets. Plus, TONS of other surprise gifts throughout the entire production!

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    2 backers Limited (2 left of 4)

    Space Invaders Package: THE ULTIMATE PACKAGE! You will receive an original Richie Knucklez RESTORED ARCADE MACHINE 'The King of Arcades' special edition. This cabinet will be custom created especially for you to commemorate this movie event! Choose from three of the most popular vintage games: GALAGA, DONKEY KONG, or MS. PAC-MAN. These vintage machines are museum quality and are one of a kind. The absolute BEST! All previous perks are included. As soon as the Kickstarter campaign ends, we will contact you immediately to set up the details. The shipping is FREE! (International shipping to be determined) All previous perks are included - the executive producer offer, the premiere, signed DVD, T-shirts, trading cards, the token, special thanks credit, postcard, King of Kong signed DVD, personalized homemade gift, and more!

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Funding period

- (45 days)