The Super Sellout Arcade (run by the guys behind the Cape Town based Super Friendship Arcade, best known for their indie videogames parties) are coming to Jozi for the much anticipated launch of Heineken®’s Next Level Bar on Wednesday, 2 December. The innovative pop-up bar in Smit Street, Braamfontein, is inspired by the design of the sleek new 330ml Cool Can.
While the core members of SSA are Peter Cardwell-Gardner, Richard Pieterse and Ben Rausch; they’re constantly collaborating with local game developers and creatives as part of their grand and noble scheme to take the South African gaming industry to the next level. One of the ways they do this is by hosting disruptive game jams, of which Ben says, “Jams happen in short, predetermined periods of time, typically 48 or 72 hours. Over a weekend or so, a small team will formulate an idea and take it from an initial concept to a completed, playable experience. This often includes eating pizza and sleeping very little.” A few gaming success stories to come out of these jams include ‘Finger Twister’ and ‘Kick In The Door’.
At the launch of the Next Level Bar, there’s going to be a wide selection of unconventional games for guests to try their hand at. There’s ‘Go Nutz’, a glitch punk sports game, and there’s a super-fast, 8 player party game called ‘Elbow Room’. SSA will also be bringing the smash hit ‘Line Wobbler’ along with them, which is played using a wobbly joystick to interact with a colourful strip of LED lights. “It’s amazing seeing people’s faces light up when they engage with it for the first time,” says Ben.
To go with the indie games, the Super Friendship team are also big on custom-made gaming consoles, which give arcade-goers totally new experiences. “For people who already identify as gamers, they’ve likely spent hours upon hours with traditional controllers in their hands. Suddenly forcing them to play a game with a tiny toy whale, totally changes the whole experience, even if the game itself is something familiar.” On the other hand, Ben explains, “For people who don’t identify as gamers, we hope that a whale is something far more welcoming than a typically intimidating 24 button game pad.”
Using the 330ml Cool Can, SSA have been working on something very special ahead of the launch. Without ruining any surprises, Ben fills us in, “We recently held a little “Can Jam” where we played around with how we could use Heineken®’s new Cool Can as a controller. The results, “The Tabanator” and “8 Pack”, are two machines that we’re really stoked with. We can’t wait to see people playing with them!”
The launch of Heineken®’s Next Level Bar on Wednesday evening is invite-only, but don’t worry – you can still catch the SSA crew on Thursday, 3 December from 2pm for an awesome and interactive next level Can Jam. See you there!