photo by Olivia Vale
Last summer, we announced that Fantastic Arcade and Juegos Rancheros would be joining forces with the Museum of Human Achievement. At that moment, we also announced taking a break from the monthly Juegos Rancheros events, in order to gather input from the community to build a more inclusive and supportive indie game community in Austin.
Over the last few months, we’ve been listening to our community and working to build an intentional future path for Fantastic Arcade and Juegos Rancheros. In the summer, we ran a community input survey that garnered over 50 responses, and last fall we hosted 5 roundtable feedback sessions with over 40 participants. Through the survey and sessions, we landed on these takeaways:
• While many details could change, a regular gathering and a yearly festival are important to the indie game and digital arts community, and should continue in some form.
• Providing a safe and welcoming place for individuals to gather and share is a top priority.
• Austin’s indie game community values experimentation, games-as-art, and cross-pollination across artistic media, and it is important to continually revisit how we can best support and expand our community.
• The power dynamic and gatekeeping in all creative industries and in particular games was a common issue brought up during sessions; increasing transparency and more equitably distributing power are top priorities.
Since then, we have established two boards that will collaborate with the Museum of Human Achievement and Austin’s indie game community to usher in the next iteration of Fantastic Arcade and Juegos Rancheros. The administrative/directorial board, currently consisting of Rachel Stuckey, Deeksha Srinath, and Desi Gonzalez, will provide broad oversight on organizational structures and help identify tasks and a timeline for accomplishing our goals. Harris Foster and Carrie Witt are kickstarting the community board, which will work closely to incorporate the perspectives of the indie game community and ensure we develop safe and welcoming spaces for all. Additionally an advisory board is currently made up of Lauren Gardner and Heather Kelley. As we look to build the future, we want to thank past board members and volunteers who have helped cultivate the local indie game community through their hard work and passion.
In November, we hosted the Fantastic Arcade Retrospective during the East Austin Studio Tours. Over four days of programming, we invited Austinites to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and look towards the future of the organization. At the event, we showcased 21 custom arcade cabinets by 32 developers that Fantastic Arcade has commissioned throughout the years. We paired artists to create a new environment, visual compliment, or conceptual home to the cabinets, resulting in 17 art installations created by a total of 21 artists. Additionally, visitors accessed more than 200 games by over 250 game developers on our multiplayer game launchers. The event was a resounding success: we served over 6,000 audience members, young and old, bringing the joy of indie games ranging from devoted Fantastic Arcade fans to newcomers who’ve never played video games before. Photo Highlights
In the coming months, we will be undertaking a number of tasks, such as reestablishing our mission, vision, and values; exploring the audiences we serve; revisiting public-facing policies such as the code of conduct; opening avenues for how people can get involved; and rebranding and relaunching the monthly meetup to better reflect our stated values. As we work to imagine the future of a yearly celebration of games and a monthly community gathering, we want to hear from you. We think there is an exciting and positive future in digital arts and indie games, supported by new ideas, voices, and leadership.
Want to help shape our future? Be on the lookout for future FA/JR events using the links below.
Points of Contact!
AUSTIN, Texas — June 17, 2019 —
Today we are announcing that JUEGOS RANCHEROS and Fantastic Arcade will become a part of The Museum of Human Achievement starting July 4th, 2019.
In 2015, JUEGOS RANCHEROS began an independent arcade space and residency program with The Museum of Human Achievement (MoHA). This program, The Arcade of Anything, has hosted numerous resident artists, games, parties and openings across the last four years. Through this ongoing partnership, JUEGOS RANCHEROS and MoHA have built a relationship of mutual trust and excitement that has pushed both organizations in new directions.
JUEGOS RANCHEROS has decided to enter a period of active work to develop the future of our community. In doing so, JUEGOS RANCHEROS will be taking a break from monthly events after July while we take time to restructure and seek community input. JUEGOS RANCHEROS are still looking forward to seeing everyone at our annual party this fall, featuring original work from commissioned artists, and hosted by MoHA for the second year as part of their new digital arts programming initiative.
Wiley Wiggins, Fantastic Arcade creative director and Juegos Rancheros co-founder, gave the following statement: “Juegos Rancheros has been an active part of the vibrant Austin games scene and has helped connect our community to the larger sphere of international interactive art. We know and trust our collaborators at The Museum of Human Achievement and are excited to see where our community and Fantastic Arcade goes next.”
It is important to us to get your input as to what our best possible future is and that we shape it together. We’re very excited about taking this moment to gather feedback, reshape how to best serve our community and continue to support both art and games while also taking advantage of the space, community, guidance, and dedicated staff support that MoHA can provide.
It would mean the world to us if you went to the following link and took some time to fill out the attached survey. Thank you all for being a part of this and we look forward to seeing what we can do together.
Community Input Survey: https://www.tfaforms.com/4744497
About JUEGOS RANCHEROS
JUEGOS RANCHEROS was founded in 2011 from an Austin based community of independent game developers and fans. Over the last 8 years the organization has commissioned 23 new games, thrown 89 monthly events, produced 100+ talks as well as numerous game jams, and developed an active community of artists, developers and fans. JUEGOS RANCHEROS produces Fantastic Arcade, a celebration of indie and cult video games held annually at the Alamo Drafthouse. Some notable games that premiered at or were commissioned by Fantastic Arcade include Samurai Gunn, Banana Chalice, Gang Beasts, Donut County, Edith Finch, Wheels of Aurelia, Oikospiel Book One, Minit, Super Russian Roulette, Grass Stains and Grace Bruxner Presents: The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game. JUEGOS RANCHEROS and Fantastic Arcade have always sought to change the way people think about art and games.
About The Museum of Human Achievement
The Museum of Human Achievement (MoHA) is a multi-disciplinary art space and organization that cultivates new work, community, and vibe by providing radically affordable arts space to support artists and audiences in the creation of new ideas. Since opening in 2012, the museum has partnered with over 900 organizations to present work by 4,000+ artists for over 130k visitors. MoHA hosts 100+ free or affordable arts events annually and serves as a hub for the creation of innovative and groundbreaking new work. The museum’s family tree includes an international residency program (Unlisted Projects), emergent technology hub (IRL), outdoor site specific art installation series (Cage Match), and mobile boutique store for local makers to sell small, editioned releases (The Mall). In addition, MoHA studios house 35 artists and organizational collectives and offers administrative support and fiscal sponsorship to artists throughout the Austin community. MoHA fosters unconventional interactions between artists and audiences with a focus on community building, the open exchange of ideas, and creative work that goes beyond traditional notions of failure or success.
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Game submissions for Fantastic Arcade, the independent video game showcase hosted by Alamo Drafthouse and curated by Juegos Rancheros, are now open! Full instructions are available at
We brought together six of the most talented indie developers from around the world to create new games, all of which made their debut at our eighth-annual indie game festival, Fantastic Arcade, taking place in Austin, TX, November 17th through 19th, 2017.
Thanks to our distribution partner itch.io, all proceeds from the sale of this bundle benefit our non-profit organization. Help us showcase more amazing games both here in Austin and a city near you, and commission more fantastic developers to create new games like these!
Included in this bundle are all six games you see here! Here is what you’ll get:
PIPSQUEAK, by Jenny Jiao Hsia
PANIC VARIANTS, by Loren Schmidt
A collection of three projects, including one solo piece and two collaborations.
Panic Variants, by Loren Schmidt, begins as a short, branching arcade game, but opens up into something else as it is replayed and explored.
Pluinola, created with Tammy Duplantis, is an audiovisual instrument which uses cellular automata to drive sound generation.
ROTOR, by Connor Mccann
The base is breached! Navigate malfunctioning drones through the defense grid to discover the secrets of an invading anomaly. ROTOR is an abstract arcade game featuring an original soundtrack by Asthmatic Kitty recording artist Chris Schlarb. (Windows, Mac)
THE STAKES ARE TOO HIGH, by Fernando Ramallo
An endless stream of experiments from the GAME THAT NEVER WAS! Witness a shocking peek into the Artist’s mind as they delve deep into the AMERICAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM! (Windows, Mac)
BANANA CHALICE, by Kyle Reimergarten
CAT DREAM WORLD OF BANANAS
FJORDS 2 (Windows)
[NOTE: Though we refer to it simply as Banana Chalice, this bundle-exclusive version’s actual title is: Near My Sins // Awaken Thy Blood [newline] or, Never Feel Pain X274 Captured Beast Banana Chalice (_FROGDIRECTION360 rancheros dream SHAREWARE VISION) Everlastic Legacy of Jazz. -ed.]
FORGET-ME-NOT, by Brandon Williamson
Mazes and monsters and mushrooms and flowers and witches and potions and eyeballs and tombstones and turners and dashers and grinders and slimers, and bombs, and bombs, and bombs. Plagued with the curse of autofire, you roam the corridors of Forget-Me-Not forever, in search of a cure for your beloved… (Windows, Linux) (Mac version is forthcoming & will be available to all who purchased the bundle when it is available!)
The time has finally come! We’ve just started to announce our plans for this year’s Fantastic Arcade — our first year independently curating, organizing and operating the festival as JUEGOS RANCHEROS, hosted by the Alamo Drafthouse at their newest Mueller theater this November 17-19th (full, three-day passes are available now).
Most excitingly, as we did last year, JUEGOS RANCHEROS has commissioned six games from some of our favorite developers to premiere at the festival in custom mini cabinets, all of which will be simultaneously released worldwide via a bundle on itch.io.
This year’s cabinets will include new games from: Jenny Jiao Hsia, the NYC-based artist behind games like Beglitched and Stellar Smooch, as well as Loren Schmidt, creator of Strawberry Cubes, Realistic Kissing Simulator and the IGF-nominated Star Guard.
We’ll also have a new game from Conor Mccann, the Texas-based artist best known for his Mystic Western Game Jam game Black Gold, and Fernando Ramallo, creator of the Fantastic Arcade favorite interactive music/landscape app Panoramical.
Finally, we’ll have games from Kyle Reimergartin, another Fantastic Arcade mainstay dev behind our long-time favorite Fjords, and Brandon Williamson, known best for Forget-Me-Not, a would-have-been 1980s classic arcade hit, had it not been created just a few short years ago.
Below the fold is the first press release for the upcoming 2017 Arcade with more information on our arcade cabinets and the first ten games we’ve chosen as our Spotlight selections, alongside links, images and videos for all the games detailed below. All of us here are looking forward to seeing you all at this year’s Arcade!
Hey developers! This is your annual warning that submissions for Fantastic Arcade 2017 will be closing in just under two short weeks. If you would like your game to be considered for the festival, please click here to submit it before August 13th, at 11:59 PM Central Time.
We’ve added a countdown timer on our main page so you can keep track of when that is for you, but please don’t wait until the last minute and risk missing the deadline!
The 2017 edition of Fantastic Arcade will be taking place at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse Mueller, the newest and swankiest of the theaters, from November 17th through the 19th. 3-day passes for the festival itself are available now, which includes a downloadable bundle of games premiering at the show!
You can read about all the changes to this year’s festival right over here.
After the August 13th deadline, the JUEGOS RANCHEROS board will begin the selection process to determine which games from among your submissions will be showcased during Fantastic Arcade. All of the games selected will be accessible to both festival attendees and the general public, for free, in a casual atmosphere of camaraderie and love for games.
We look forward to playing all of your submissions, and especially to seeing you all in November for this year’s Arcade!