New project: Super Sellout Arcade

Community, super friendship arcade

Yesterday Super Friendship Arcade unveiled some pretty massive news. In short, we’ve set up a new spin-off brand called Super Sellout Arcade. The brand has been designed as a vehicle to work with other people, moving beyond SFA’s strong DIY roots.

We’ll be starting this new venture with a bang, and on Wednesday, fly up to Joburg to throw an Arcade inside the Heineken Next Level Bar, on Smit street, in Braamfontein. The installation will be open to the public, with free entry, on Thursday night.

The announcement came out in the she form of an article on 10and5. The piece neatly sums up the core details, and if you’re in a rush, I’d suggest you head here and read that. If you have some time to kill, here’s my complete correspondence with writer, Dave Mann.

  1. Tell us a bit about Super Sellout Arcade and how it’s different from Super Friendship Arcade.It’s a spin-off. As SFA, we’re collectively working towards a pretty damn ambitious list of goals. These include such fun things as; exposing experimental, unconventional interactive experiences, helping to grow more diverse game-playing and game-making communities, bringing people together (and pretty much saving The World) through the power of video games!


While our goals are numerous, they’ve never included making money. If Super Friendship Arcade were to have a motto (after “Be excellent to each other”) it could well be “Passion over profit”. All earnings have gone back into the SFA, buying hardware and electronic components for us to build more things. Our community has collectively spent hundreds of hours making games and building hardware, and always done this only for the joy found in creating, and in instilling joy in other people. It’s been beautiful to see such powerful enthusiasm in action. We really feel that creating things fueled entirely by passion leads to the most honest, adventurous and sincere works of art.

Coming from such a fiercely DIY background, it came as quite a surprise to find brands and agencies very eager to work with us. Over the last half of this year we received some very exciting offers to work with other people. While we were flattered by all the attention, and excited by the potential of having some real resources to work with, it created quite a bit of confusion. What would become of our punk rock baby if it were suddenly involved in helping to sell breakfast cereal and sneakers?

The result of this dilemma was the birth of Super Sellout Arcade. Recognising the great potential for pushing SFA’s own agenda by collaborating with external entities, we set up SSA as a distinct body. We’re incredibly excited about creating new experiences on a far grander scale than we could manage alone. Additionally, we’re also really stoked on the idea of creators getting paid to spend their time making weird, experimental games and controllers – as in the past, there was no way of earning any money by making psychedelic, competitive cat petting simulators. Lastly, we also plan to filter some profits from SSA events back into SFA, empowering us to realise our own dreams on a scale beyond what we could typically achieve.

That’s pretty much it! SFA and SSA are the same people, wanting to blow your mind. The one is 100% independent and DIY, while the other has some extra friends helping us make magic happen!


  1. You hosted your first event in Johannesburg a few months ago. How did it go? Are you excited to be returning to Jozi for another event?Our Arcade at the A MAZE festival was a very special moment for us. It was great bringing SFA out of Cape Town for a bit. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to make our debut in Jozi, than being part of something as awesome as A MAZE.We’re very stoked to be coming back in Braamfontein to throw another Arcade – that was one of the most exciting prospects of getting involved in the Next Level Bar!


  2. How do you go about finding new game developers? Can anyone bring a new video game to the table?We’re always hunting for exciting games people may have made, and will always be excited to hear from any developers making SFA-friendly creations.Go Nuts
  3. Can you tell us more about custom consoles? What are they all about and how are they helping open the next level in game development and interaction?We’re very big on the idea of giving arcade-goers totally new experiences, and one of the most awesome ways we can make that happen is through custom gaming controllers.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.


    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. When games are designed for controllers, or controllers are designed for games, you get something very special. Games that simply can’t be played without their corresponding controller. Here are some examples:

    Finger Twister is an SFA original that makes players battle over a collection of buttons on a shared custom controller. Kick In The Door is another local game made for SFA, and encourages players to kick doorways and ghost butts with a set of custom foot pedals. The hardware makes for a great thematic tie-in. As a bonus, it frees up the hands of it’s players – all the better for drinking beer and high-fiving your ghost-hunter partners with!

    Robin Baumgarten’s smash hit Line Wobbler is a custom console that incorporates a wobbly joystick and an LED strip that acts as the games rendering device. You simply couldn’t play it with a computer and keyboard, and it’s amazing seeing people’s faces light up when they engage with something like that for the first time.


  4. Tell us a little bit about the Heineken can consoles you’re making.I don’t wana ruin any surprises, but 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!Tabanator-3
  5. And the Next Level disruptive game jamming? What’s that all about?For us, it’s something that’s evolving as we’re going along. The concept of game jamming isn’t one we came up with, but it’s something we’ve embraced with wide open arms.


Traditionally, making a video game would be a very (VERY) time intensive process, where thousands of hours go into making a title. This is something of a necessary evil if you wanted to make very big or very polished experiences. Game jams swim against that tide.

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.

Working like this can be incredibly liberating, and very often the creative spark displayed in broken little jam games is far more unique and adventurous than the vast majority of retail games. People can really let their imaginations run wild, and potentially be absurdly risky or ambitious. If by the end of the jam your game isn’t great…well, it’s not like you spent 2 years making it. This is also a wonderful environment to inspire and encourage people who are new to making games.

We like to see it as something akin to a group of musicians jamming together in their practice space, and we’ve made it a core part of how we do what we do. Before any event, we’ll hold a one-day jam, inviting anyone (whether pro game devs, or rookie enthusiast) to join us in making games for the upcoming party. We’ve had some great success stories; the afore mentioned Finger Twister and Kick In The Door were both born at SFA jams. And were excited to do heaps more, we’re always trying to be more inclusive, get more creative, and go bigger.

  1. What’s the game development scene like in South Africa?This is a bit of a tricky one to answer. As with most anything relating to this unique country, there are great highs, and then very depressing lows. One of our main motivations for doing what we do is to celebrate those highs, and help eradicate the lows.On the plus side, the local industry is booming. SA’s numerous success stories including titles like Broforce, Desktop Dungeons, Stasis, and Viscera Cleanup Detail have made very significant impacts. There are a bunch of great studios working on games, and a bunch of great people working at these studios.

    We’ll also point out that we’re very fond and proud of the SFA community, who represent a pretty ridiculously talented, creative and motivated bunch of game-making humans.

    But on the down side, there’s surely room for a lot of improvement. The demographic of people making games in SA is very depressingly unrepresentative of our country’s population. This is thankfully something that’s changing though, and we’re very motivated to help make that change happen.

    There are some other great projects shaking things up. DIY initiatives like The Amber Key Collaboratorium (a series of free game design workshops for girls), Creative Code (making coding and visual design more accessible through youth media, gaming and mobile phones in Khayelitsha) and 67games (a crazy massive collaborative jam project for Mandela Day next year) are really wonderful to see, and we hope there’ll be even more to come. Anticipating a more diverse and inclusive community in coming years; we can see South African becoming one of the most exciting emerging game design hubs.


  2. Video games are still seen as having very select target markets such as die hard gamers or kids. Why do you think this is the case?Although annual studies by various bodies keep disproving them, it’s strange to see how much of this thinking continues. Many people do view games as been something for specifically for kids, or boys, or geeks. This really isn’t the case, and these demographics have shifted drastically over the years. I don’t think the young gamers of today will have the same problem at my age. But for me growing up with games in the 80’s and 90’s there was a real division in who games were for, and that seems to have stuck in people’s heads.Maybe, in part, these perceptions are connected by the types of games that the mainstream industry produces? Many of these games revolve around male power fantasies, and even the most “adult”, violent titles are incredibly juvenile. Maybe society’s idea of who gamers are, is linked to the kinds of games they see advertised around them. That usually wouldn’t paint a very positive picture.

    Thankfully, in The World right now, there’s a huge swell of people making games with incredible depth – hopefully, as we see more of these games gain major attention, it might change some perceptions in the process. We’re incredibly excited about sharing games like these with people and generally doing our damnedest to break down any guard that someone might have, thinking that video games aren’t for them.


  3. The games that see you interacting with people directly, such as digital playground games, seem to be hugely popular. Is this the next level of gaming or just a move towards a more inclusive and social form of gaming?I think they’re one and the same.There’s a phenomenal amount of exciting, next level stuff going on right now! There has never been a better time for people to elevate games as an art-form, and largely this is thanks to technological developments.

    That said, there’s also the element of people starting to think about games differently. In some ways, it’s going back to some forgotten wisdom. Nothing is better than sharing a game with other real humans, in the same space. Going forward, I think we’ll see greater interest in local multiplayer games. This move towards more social game design, coupled with constantly awe-inspiring use of technology, means we’ll only be seeing more and more awesomeness in this department.


  4. Is gaming just for recreation or can contemporary gaming be used for education or to enact change? We’re very firm believes in the later.


There is a lot of research that supports this, and a ton of global projects that have utilized games as little learning machines. I mentioned 67games earlier – my girlfriend, Anja Venter, and our good friend Regina Kgatle are working on something very exciting there. I’ll start rambling if I get to into it, let me just say that anyone interested should head to to find out more.

  1. How can non game developers get involved with the local gaming scene if they want to help?We really think anyone can make games, and that non-game develpers sometimes have the best ideas for them. I’d suggest people find us on Facebook – we regularly have jams and love new friends. I’d also recommend joining the big south african games making forum – – which is a great focal point for the community at large.
  2. What are some of the games you’ll be sharing with us at the opening of the Next Level Bar?We’ve got a pretty great selection of games lined up!Go Nutz is a glitch punk sports game, made by our Bellgian friend Joon.
    Elbow Room is a super fast, 8 player party game by our Philadelphian pals Deep Dark Hole.
    We’re very excited to be brining Line Wobbler back to Joburg with us!
    We have a bunch of great local games, including Super Massive Crate Dash, Criquette, Cowbell vs Triangle Hero and Joburg’s own homegrown favourite, Raptor Polo.
    Raptor Polo
  3. What lies ahead for SSA? What’s the dream?There are a lot of dreams! We have a bunch of tech-based fantasies, that this time last year seemed impossible. Now, with SSA on the cards, they feel pretty close within reach. We want to keep bringing people new experiences. We want to keep pushing boundaries and exceeding expectations. We want to throw parties where every single person is involved in a one massive game.We want to help expose experimental South African games. We want to act as champions for the wonderful things people are making,.

    We want to take this circus on the road.

Beyond that, we dream of giving creatives the time and energy to make their own dreams come true. One game at a time.

SSA logo


Philly Dev Night talk!

Cape Town, super friendship arcade, Talks, Team Lazerbeam

Tomorrow night I’ll be speaking at Philly Dev Night, the weekly meet up for Philly’s game-making community. I’m currently in town visiting some of my dear music-making friends, and figured I should totally see what’s happening in the city in terms of game development. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the city’s local developers and sharing some stories about the exciting things happening in Cape Town.

Ben alt games poster

I’ll be chatting about Super Friendship Arcade, and the experimental events we’ve been putting together, as well as the endeavors of my alternative game band, Team Lazerbeam. The night’s happening at the Philly Game Forge, kicks off at 7PM and I’ll be up at 8!

team+lazerbeam team lazerbeam load screen title+screen pIZZA qUEST TITLE ART snow-cones-01

Broforce: Road to Freedom

Documentary, super friendship arcade, Video

Oh hai old blog.
Broforce Road to Freedom Ep4_01199
I’ve been straight up terrible at this. NMJM was meant to be my platform for sharing the exciting game-related adventures I’ve been having. Instead, I’ve posted next to nothing, despite adventures over the past months having been been plentiful and incredibly awesome.

There’ve been no less than 3 Super Friendship Arcades thrown and a score of jams jammed. Several weird little games have been started. Snow Cones has been (kinda) completed and has been shown off at events in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London. There’s been some exciting bits of progress on Mecha Mews, our kitten/ mech, music fighting game. At A MAZE Johannesburg I presented “The Shape of Punk to Come”, my long planned talk on the future of alternative games.

I hate that I’ve done such a shitty job of documenting or sharing any of these adventures. I guess the plus side is I’ve been living them, but what good does that do you, Dear Reader?

As I type this, more adventures are being lived this very moment. Over the past weeks I’ve been busy on artwork for a project with my friends at Clockwork Acorn. It’s an incredibly exciting game to be a part of, and well deserving of posts of it’s own. Look out for those in the future.
Broforce Road to Freedom Ep5_00322 Broforce Road to Freedom Ep5_00972
Alongside that, I’ve been spending most of my waking hours at the Free Lives House, where I’ve been “documenting” my friends as they finish off their game Broforce. 3 years in the making, the action platformer will be officially released an hour from my writing of these words. I’m so greatful to have been asked to document these last days of the game’s development. Seeing a project like this (the result of so very many hours of incredible creative energy and collective passion) coming to fruition, has been amazing. What’s more, every day I’m getting to hang out with some of my dearest friends, and I get to call it work.
Broforce Road to Freedom Ep5_01749
The actual work itself has been a total joy as well. What I’m getting to do with these Broforce webisodes is a something I’ve wanted to do for years, and dabbled in a little here and there, but actually getting to make something that references shitty magazine programs and bad South African TV is just a dream come true. Somehow, thankfully, the Free Lives gang seem to approve of the absurd twist I’ve put on these documents of the last days of their game. As has been the story of most of my game-dev-related adventures, I see this as a sign I’ve finally found my tribe.
Broforce Road to Freedom Ep4_02599
There are another 3 episodes of Road to Freedom in the works. With the game not going live in 52 minutes, you can be sure there’ll be more hi-jinx ahead. For now, here are the first 5 episodes of the long Road to Freedom.

Broforce Road to Freedom Ep5_08726

SF <3s SK: Cross-continental Alt Game Romance!

Cape Town, Community, events, Local Multiplayer, super friendship arcade

A couple weeks back the gang and I got busy with Louis Roots – head honcho of Australian gamer punk collective SK Games. As the first stop on his international tour of alternative gaming communities, Cape Town welcomed Louis with a Super Friendship Arcade where we joined forces and brought people together for a night of custom controllers, weird games and high fives.
The night was documented by Jamie-Dimitra Ashton. Her pictures speak volumes about our ramshackle arcade, the wonderful people that filled it and the awe and joy shared during the night. For me, having worked pretty tirelessly over the course of the night, it’s pretty damn incredible seeing the impact of our endeavors on these faces.
While I think Jamie’s pics tell you most everything you need to know about how this night went, I will mention a couple of observations:

1) It was super lame not having SFA dad, Peter-Cardwell Gardner there.
2) Seeing Louis in action was a true inspiration. He’s a proper wizard.
3) Louis seemed pretty damn stoked on what we’re doing. Yay Cape Town!
4) We wanna collab with more kindred spirits from abroad.
5) Tiny toy whales make for great controllers.
IMG_6376SFAIMG_6484SFA IMG_6477SFA IMG_6466SFA IMG_6462SFA IMG_6453SFA IMG_6464SFA IMG_6451SFA IMG_6431SFA IMG_6427SFA IMG_6414SFA IMG_6407SFA IMG_6403SFA IMG_6398SFA IMG_6395SFA IMG_6370 IMG_6364
I’ll do a proper post on it soon, but if you didn’t know, we’re bringing our game punk circus to Joburg, and it’s gonna be magic!
IMG_6357 IMG_6686SFA IMG_6681SFA IMG_6702SFA IMG_6666SFA IMG_6664SFA IMG_6633SFA IMG_6616SFA IMG_6592SFA IMG_6585SFA IMG_6560SFA IMG_6552SFA IMG_6549SFA
Mehrgerzerd-sized high-fives to Jamie for the fantastic pics! Check out more of her great work here and read about her time at the party here!

Event: SFA <3s SK!

Cape Town, Community, events, Illustration, Local Multiplayer, super friendship arcade

South Africa’s favourite alternative gaming super-party is back and do we ever have an awesome surprise for you!

The Super Friendship Arcade gang are ecstatic to announce a special, one of a kind event happening on Friday the 31st at The Manila Bar. “What happening?” you ask, staring at a team of koala bears riding a roaring lion? Well, for this next event we’ll be joining forces with none other than!
Hailing from Perth, Australia, SK Games have toured their home country, breaking boundaries and bending minds with an ever changing array of incredible custom-built controllers and the best in underground local-multiplayer games. Now, SK Games are bring their game-punk antics to the rest of The World, on an international tour called “Around The World in 80 Games”!

We are so happy to have SK visiting Cape Town as the first stop of this world tour! What’s more, we couldn’t be more stoked to be teaming up with our Australian friends in bringing you a one of a kind night that will see SFA and SK controllers and games smashed together in an orgy of buttons, pixels and high fives!

Our lineup! For the night!

Catnips – AUS
Evan Greenwood’s Magnetic Assholes – SA
World’s Fastest Super Pizza – AUS
Raptor Polo – SA
Regular Human Basketball – AUS
Physics Cricket – SA
Super Pole Riders – DK
Cowbell Hero – SA
Seed – AUS
Feathers and Finn – SA
Rope Jacks – AUS
Pat Cat Pat – SA
Hot Date – UK
Snow Cones – SA
Coming out Simulator – USA
Cunt Touch This – DK
Finger Twister – SA
Realistic Kissing Simulator – USA
Robo Bros – NZ
Mehrgehrzerds – SA
Hype Snake – SWE
At Dawn Draw – AUS
Fingle – NL
Super Massive Crate Dash – SA

… and many more!
Are you gonna be able to handle all this awesome? We hope so!

Strictly no under 18s.

ROAR (like a lion)

Be excellent to each other!


SFA 2 Players 2 Buttons Jam!

events, jams, super friendship arcade

Super Friendship Arcade, South Africa’s favourite alternative video game party, is gearing up for another night of smashed pixel and melted minds! Join us in preparing for our next night by jamming with us on Saturday the 11th of July!

2 button jam

The theme for this jam is: 2 players, 2 buttons! Team up with friends and make a two player game that gives each player 1 button only! All genres welcome! Custom controllers encouraged!*

There’ll be a secret ingredient in the jam, to be revealed once we’re all together on the morning of the 11th!

The jam will run from 10am till 7pm and take place at the lovely Cafe Viva so there will be no shortage of delicious food, coffee and beer! The jam will end with a short presentation, where you can show off and discuss your masterpiece or epic train smash.

We want our community to be a safe space where EVERYONE is welcome (except dicks)! Failing is just a healthy part of challenging yourself, so don’t worry if you’ve never made a game before, or don’t know anyone else. The super friends will be happy to help you out! All you need is heart!

Running order:

10AM – arrive at Cafe Viva, reveal secret ingredient, drink coffee, form teams, discuss ideas!


7PM – Creation presentation!

2 button banner

RSVP here!

* – If you’re the crafty type, please feel free to start working on controllers before the jam. If you’re not, don’t worry, we’ll have some fun creations that everyone is welcome to use for their games!

SFA Beta Thank You!

Cape Town, Community, Illustration, Local Multiplayer, Make Games SA, South Africa, super friendship arcade, Thanks

This past Saturday a small army of friends banded together to throw Super Friendship Arcade: Beta. The night was a phenomenal success, leaving all involved with feelings warm and fuzzy and hands red and tingling from so very many high fives.

I’ll soon pen a proper report back on the night, but for now I figured I’d share the extensive, heartfelt “thank you” that we sent out to all involved. And it starts like:
IMG_6042“Wow! We’re completely overwhelmed and blown away by what went down last night! It couldn’t have been more awesome. We want to say some massive thank yous to everyone who made the night the amazing event that it was.

Thanks so much to The Manila Bar for giving us such an ideal new home. The space felt like a perfect match! The Karaoke was such a nice addition!

Thanks to all the international developers who’s games we showed off.

Special thanks to all the local game makers for their awesome contributions to the night. Thanks to all who built hardware and controllers. Thanks to everyone that joined us for any of the jams that helped shape this party. We couldn’t have been more stoked with the huge collection of fantastic, locally-built elements we had in The Arcade last night.

Thanks to all the friends that volunteered to help make the night happen. Your time, energy and support means the world to us.

Thank you to all that helped spread the word about this night. To anyone that got the gospel out there, we really appreciate your posts, shares, words and enthusiasm!

Lastly, thanks to everyone that came through, played games, high-fived strangers and made this night the amazing success that it was. We couldn’t have asked for a more awesome collection of superfriends! Thanks to each and every one of you for being a part of our little utopia! With your support, we were able to cover the night’s expenses, and beyond that made a profit on the whole venture. While we still need to figure out what we want to get with it, these funds will be going towards procuring electronic components to build new custom controllers and buying elements for new gaming stations. We’re very grateful to be able to throw these parties, and beyond that, it’s amazing that we’re able to build up our resources to make each arcade bigger and better than the last.

Once again our most sincere thanks and atomic high fives to you all. We love you guys!”


SFA Beta Lineup and promo video!

super friendship arcade

Last week a did a post lamenting my life becoming a case of way to much work and way too little play. I’m very happy to report the tides have changed since then; work has calmed down quite a bit and I’ve had some really good time to work on Saturday’s Super Friendship Arcade, and a trio of games for the night.

I’ll post more on the games soon, but for now, I thought I’d share my two latest creations for the event. First, we’ve got the lineup poster for the night:
We’re really excited about this collection of games we’ll be showing off. It’s especially great being able to count so many “SA”s next to titles. The night is going to be a great representation of the combined efforts of developers from across SA and I look forward to there only being more local games ansd hardware to show off at future parties.

Then there’s this little sucker. I’ll let him speak for himself:

As I type this, I’m on the tail end of having worked through the night to get this video finished. Under any other circumstances I’d be feeling a little sorry for myself. However, having pulled an all-nighter for something as great as an SFA promo, I can only be filled with joy.

Super friendship Arcade Beta is going down on Saturday night at Manila Bar. If you’re able to make it through, this night might just change your life.

Super Friendship Arcade Beta!

super friendship arcade

The Super Friendship Arcade is back!

South Africa’s greatest video game celebration will return on Saturday the 16th of May. The third night in the SFA series, the party will see The Arcade invading a brand new home; the excellent Manila Bar.

I’ve written at some length about the immense impact these nights have had on me. I’ve also written about awesome jams and hangouts and fun times that our gang has enjoyed in preparation of this next episode of SFA. Needless to say, now that it’s finally happening, I’m stupid exited for this.

We’re busy finalising the killer lineup of games that we’ve handpicked for the night; watch this space for details. If you’re the facebooking type, head here to RSVP and invite some of your own superfriends while you’re at it. Mega-godzilla-high-fives are guaranteed!