The arcade was a fantastic idea, but despite the resurgence in arcades with the arcade-bar combo, we're long since past the arcade heyday. Just, don't tell Lauren Sisselman I said that. In place of the traditional arcade, a group of Vienna game devs have decided to use the city's many coffeeshops to get their games into players hands. Arcades were a social thing, you would game with friends – or against them – and that was the major draw. Since then, we've brought competitive and cooperative games into our homes thanks to home console systems. But now even our beloved consoles have started to move away from split-screen local multiplayer – though 343 Industries have promised to bring it back for all future Halo games, they are an outlier in that arena – and all of this has left us in a weird place. Multiplayer games are more popular as MMOs, but those aren't designed so you can share one screen with a friend. Rather, you and your friend play from your individual homes – or you do what my friends and I do and just lug multiple computers and tvs into one room so we can game like the bunch of nerds that we are.
But that's pretty extreme, so in defiance of all that, these intrepid game developers are trying to bring games back into the main stream of social spaces. Which in 2017 means coffee shops.
According to the report by Kotaku, these devs call themselves zamSpielen, which is Austrian for "playing together." "zamSpielen is a small crew of designers and programmers trying to take video games out of living rooms and stick them in more unusual contexts. The Viennese collective consists of creators from the indie studio Broken Rules (makers of Secrets of Rætikon and several other small games), game developer Josef "Who" Wiesner, and coding teacher Matthias Menrath who came together seven years ago in the hopes of giving the city's games scene a more material presence."
"We want to bring people together via games," Wiesner said in an email to Kotaku. "But always next to each other at the same spot cause that is the most interesting and complete form of being with each other we think."
And the idea has moved on from small impromptu pitch to a series of events in the city of Vienna like the event advertised below:
— zamSpielenCollective (@zamSpielen) May 5, 2017
And we've got to say, the idea is pretty darn cool.