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KPBS Midday Edition

No Quarters Needed For Fleet's 'Game Masters' Arcade

Fleet Science Center
Arcade cabinets, part of Fleet Science Center's "Game Masters," on June 29, 2017.
No Quarters Needed For Fleet's 'Game Masters' Arcade
No Quarters Needed For Fleet's 'Game Masters' Arcade GUEST: John Baez, co-founder, The Behemoth

This is KPBS Midday Edition. I am Maureen Cavanaugh .Of you grew up in the days of super Nintendo, you will recognize this. That game add more than more than 100 others are playable as a new traveling exhibit. It is called gay masters. They were developed by the studio, The Behemoth. Michael Lipkin spoke with the cofounder, that is John Baez who is speaking tonight at the plate.There are three sections to the exhibit. There arcade games, modern games like super Mario brothers and independent games like yours and mine crack. Most of those games you can play on a smart phone that they were intent on tracking down the original consuls. Why is it important to have those artifacts ?It is important to go back to the original source material. It may appear on different technology. The original source that you will get the creator initial intention. That is why I love the show. They have gone to the unbelievable extreme amount of work to bring all of these cabinets and the consuls here to the fleet, to really show the history of how we got from there to where we are now. It is remarkable.Your game, the game your company makes, you can play them on computers or modern-day councils but your company has built a couple of old school cabinets to player games and those will be there tonight. Why ?Correct.My feeling that the games that we were creating needed to be in an arcade. That is, they do not exist. When we do trade shows, I want the people who are coming to come in and experience it as we originally designed it and not with a controller in your hand but standing up at and arcade machine, a big and heavy and large beautiful graphics in front of you. Your friend is standing next to you. That experience was important to us.Why? Arcades are not prevalent anymore. Why not build a game built for the modern consuls ?Of course, the games do run on a modern councils -- consuls. It feels better rather than 16 different inputs that are generic inputs. Our current game people, we have a gigantic lever that you pull back to release your troops into battle. You know, no button. It is a big spring-loaded lover. It is a visceral feeling.To other games are featured in this exhibit in the independent section. Did you play these classics as a kid ?Sure.I played a lot of them as a kid.Anyone's that were your favorites?My favorites that I played to death and probably spent a college education in quarters on was defender and centipede. The gameplay on those was spectacular. Defender was special because it was a vector-based game. The graphics was rendered anyway that it would never pixelate. It would never get chunky and ugly as you made it bigger. It was precise looking. I loved that game because it was a 2-D game but it had a 3-D feel because you were flying on the face of the cylinder.What was it like to have your games in a ranked next to those classic ?That is outstanding. We were blown away when we were asked to be a part of it because we are a small game developer. This was a few years ago when this was originally put together.You are going to give a talk tonight at the Fleet Science Center about what makes video games and if there is science. What have you decided?It is much more of an art than we had imagined. There is no engineering recipe that you can put together and instantly you have a fun game. That is not what happens. It is trial and error and gut feel.Are there rules or qualities a game has to have?Know. We try to stay away from fixed rulebook. It is like painting by numbers. Nobody buys paintings that are done by numbers. Right? You do it because the quality of the creator.That was John Baez speaking with Michael Lipkin. He will be at the Fleet Science Center tonight. Game Masters runs through January at the Museum.

The Fleet Science Center's latest exhibit will be an easy sell even for science-averse kids. It is a retrospective of video game history, from the arcade cabinets of the 1970s to the latest computer and console games.

"Game Masters: The Exhibition," a traveling show developed by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, features more than 100 playable games. Two of them are made by San Diego-based developer The Behemoth, known for action-oriented titles with a cartoonish style.

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Co-founder John Baez said that even though his games are played on modern consoles, they are designed internally as if they were an old-school arcade game. The Behemoth has even made arcade cabinet versions of their games to display at trade shows.

"They just feel better to have a big joystick and a couple of buttons in your hands, rather than 16 different inputs that are generic inputs," Baez said. "Our current game, 'Pit People,' we have a gigantic lever that you pull back to release your troops into battle. No button. It’s a big, spring-loaded lever."

Baez is bringing those cabinets to the Fleet Thursday night, where The Behemoth's staff will be speaking about their experiences as developers. Baez joined KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more on his arcade inspirations.