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Games

Street Artists Resurrect Classic Arcade Gaming With A Psychedelic Twist

Featuring 18 arcade games and two pinball machines, FAILE & Båst's "Deluxx Fluxx Arcade" brings old-school gaming to the Edinburgh Art Festival.

by Nadja Sayej
Jul 17 2014, 7:20pm

Images courtesy of Faile

From old Cory Arcangel pieces at the Applied Design show at the Museum of Modern Art to Jim Monroe’s recent pop-up arcade at the Art Gallery of Ontario, video game arcades often pop up in and around the art world, 

Starting August 1, the Brooklyn-based art collective FAILE, who are best known for their comics and street art, will debut their newest installation Deluxx Fluxx Arcade, featuring 18 new arcade games and two pinball machines.

In working with the street artist Båst to create the arcade for the Edinburgh Art Festival, their fully-functioning games offer 3D effects, looped, squawking 8-bit sounds, and blacklight posters drenched in black lighting, an epic ode to the arcades of gaming's Golden Age. Together, they gutted old arcade cabinets and replaced them with new CRT monitors and sound systems that run on a Mac mini, allowing, in said Faile, “For everything to run much smoother than the original games we developed." While all of the games were initially created in the winter for the show they did for Art Basel Miami Beach, “Over the course of the last few months, we have continued to modify and improve on the games making them a lot more fun to play.”

Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, the duo behind Faile, say that the arcade games are an extension of the urban art projects they’ve done— a pasted-up send-off to culture. Their game “Condo Conquest” plays with gentrification, for example while others offer a more Dada-esque twist on retro game titles (“Danger Within Me Save Your Stiletto?”). “We’re having fun with it,” says Faile. 

This show will be the fourth incarnation of the Deluxx Fluxx Arcade since its first installation in 2010. It all came about when they were sniffing out new ways to push the idea of street art. “We are trying to catch people off guard,” they say, by tweaking the familiar world of arcade gaming.

The idea still excites them. “Seeing the way people have reached to this show is the reason we continue to do it,” said Faile, via email. “I can't think of many art shows that you can go to and hear the sound of people laughing and screaming, and at the same time seeing the kids enjoy it as much as the adults.”

FAILE Båst Deluxx Fluxx Arcade by FAILE & Båst runs from August 1 to September 26 at Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival

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