This past weekend, I attended Fantastic Arcade, a local independent game development festival that runs for four days alongside Fantastic Fest, a fan film festival hosted by Alamo Drafthouse. Fantastic Arcade likewise occupies the Highball, a staple of the south-of-the-river Austin bar scene, and is free to the public.

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Fantastic Arcade is awesome because it featured talks from devs about the weird games that they’ve made, custom-built arcade cabinets with spotlighted games, an interview with game designer Tim Schafer about the origins of his soon-to-be-rereleased adventure classic “Grim Fandango,” laptops loaded up with lots of demos of upcoming games, kiosks from Sony filled with upcoming independent titles, a gross-but-entertaining game show featuring gross food-themed game jam games, game trivia, and gross food challenges, and full-auditorium game tournaments.

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I not only got my hands on some upcoming games that I was already excited about, but I also learned about some new ones, and was exposed to some really divergent approaches to game development. It was a fun, tremendously enlightening experience!