2019 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Arcade’

Arcade is unlike anything you will experience at Fringe. Equal parts art installation, gaming experience, and nostalgia, Arcade perfectly encapsulates the feeling of walking into a 1980s arcade.

The installation can be appreciated on several levels; superficially, if you love older video games like Ms PacMan and Donkey Kong, you’re going to love having the opportunity to play. Several gaming consoles are set up with games curated to appeal to a variety of tastes. Getting a top score or defeating your opponent in head-to-head play garners points. The person with the most points at the end of the hour even wins a prize!

While classic video games are fun, what heightens this experience are the video projections. The walls are covered in dynamic projections scrolling and blinking, adding to the arcade aesthetic. Give yourself the opportunity to really watch the walls–these projections are incredibly detailed and designed incomparably by local DC projection artist and Fringe partner, Robin Bell.

Instead of the cacophony of several video games playing in a small space, lightly ambient electronic music permeates the space, never overshadowing the games and projections showcased.

The entire installation lasts about an hour, and there is limited seating if you need a break from standing and gaming. While the venue is wheelchair accessible, the video screens are placed on pillars at a standing eye-level, which may mildly impact part of the experience for some people. All of that being said, this is highly enjoyable and a really fun way to interact with games and art!

Running Time: 60 minutes.

Arcade, by Robin Bell, part of the Capital Fringe Curated Series, runs through July 18, 2019, at the Arcade, 996 Maine Avenue SW, Washington, DC. For tickets, call 866-811-4111 or go online.

Rating: