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SXSW 2009: Indie meets arcade in Get Outta My Face


The secluded Snowrunner Productions booth in SXSW's ScreenBurn Arcade housed a rare sight: two actual arcade cabinets. Even rarer: the cabinets featured a new game: Will Brierly's Get Outta My Face: a jittery, slightly psychotic action game about a blue cube who has to dodge a rush of red cubes. It's not just a hobby project, either -- Brierly is planning to market Get Outta My Face to restaurants, clubs, and arcades, and it's already found a home in a few venues.

After playing the bizarre novelty (in classic arcade fashion, I failed out of my first session within a minute), I spoke with Brierly about the crazy process of making your own arcade game.

Did you make this game by yourself?

I had a couple friends help me out with learning some of the electronics stuff. I originally wrote it for a Windows-based PC. Now the operating system is a Gentoo-like Linux distribution. Everything else -- the music, the artwork, the programming, I did.

Why an arcade game?

I grew up loving them, you know? I wanted to make something that fit within the context of "that game," something that is only found in certain locations, and you have to go there to find it. I wanted something, you know, where you get that special gem of a place. I thought about doing the console thing, and it would work ... but in a big heavy box, that's the way this game is meant to be played.

Did you build the cabinet or convert one?

That one is the original prototype I built from scratch. That one (points to other unit) was originally the Journey game. It's a conversion cabinet. We're making both -- we're making a bunch of different versions of the artwork so you could fit it onto different cabinets.

Did you keep the Journey: Escape board?

I wish! I got it gutted. It was just something on the side of the road. I got it from Craigslist.

Is the game in production now?

There are a few of them out in the Northeast, and I'm working with one company that's doing testing. I don't know the exact details, I don't know where (the cabinets) are going to be, but that's in the works, talking to a bunch of people about distribution in the states. It's been testing better, beating Big Buck Hunter and other big-budget stuff.

Will you sell cabinets or conversion kits directly to home users?

If they want one, I'll totally sell it to them. Once we have the manufacturing/distribution end of it, they'll be able to buy from them, or through me ... I should really know the details on that in a couple of months.

Is the production game also PC-based, or is there a custom arcade board in there?

Most arcade games now are PC-based. This one is a custom Linux box that -- you just turn it on and it's just the game. It's networked so that you can check high scores, check how well it's earning from home. You can also
set it so that high scores are uploaded to a national server.

What is the inspiration behind Get Outta My Face?

One day i was driving my truck -- it sounds like the beginning of a country song or something. But one day I was driving my truck, and I thought: "I want to make an arcade game." I didn't know anything about programming or anything like that -- "I gotta figure out how to do this." One day I just made a logo and thought "It would be really funny to make a game called Get Outta My Face. I started with the marquee. I figured that would be a funny-sounding one, and then from there I made the character and thought "What's its deal? Why does it exist?"

Everything in the universe is downloaded into storage in the year 5047. One year the files merged together, came alive, and formed faces. The blue cube is trying to figure out what it's doing and if it's alive, but it can't see because its face is on the top side of the cube! And there are all these malicious cubes -- the red cubes -- that are corrupted files. All the blue cube sees is a face in a reflection of a dark black sky. And it doesn't realize that it's in an arcade game.

Has anyone completed Get Outta My Face?

One that I know of got to level 50.

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