AUSTIN, Texas—Genre-celebrating Fantastic Fest may reach wider and weirder than any other film festival when it comes to screenings (see recent zombie-high school-Christmas musicals or 90s-Japanese TV-crossover mockumentaries, for instance). And back in 2010, the event added a gaming arm.
Needless to say, it gets weird, too.
Put on by local independent gaming group Juegos Rancheros, Fantastic Arcade has evolved from a showcase for 10-20 games in its early days to now boasting closer to 50 showcase titles from several hundred submissions. In 2017, Fantastic Arcade grew so much—and attracted such an audience—that it needed to become its own standalone event. More than a month after the latest film portion wrapped, indie game enthusiasts crammed into a local Alamo Drafthouse last weekend to see some of the most unique titles coming from developers in Texas and beyond.
While there were several recognizable names on the slate (see Nidhogg II), the event is all about discovery for the casual gamer. Above, you can see a handful of the titles that caught our eye from an afternoon of button mashing and instruction reading. And if anything in particular speaks to you, know that we may have a few follow-up items in the works based on what we got to experience.
For now, those interested in more info can find many of the developer's commentary sessions uploaded to YouTube. Plus, the now available 2017 Fantastic Arcade Indie Bundle includes Pipsqueak, The Stakes Are Too High, and Banana Chalice from the titles above if you want to test 'em first-hand.
Listing image by Sam Machkovech