Welcome to Montreal’s best gaming party

The fourth annual Prince of Arcade gaming party promises to change how you look at games and parties.



In one wild night, The Prince of Arcade might just manage to change your perceptions about both gaming and parties.

The games, of course, take top billing, and in the event’s fourth year, organizers Mount Royal Game Society have assembled an eclectic mix of visually stunning indie games with ingenious gameplay hooks. But a big theme this year is also to celebrate games with a multiplayer component, which can be played with more than one person, or even single-player games that are spectator-friendly.

So don’t expect The Prince of Arcade to simply be a row of cabinets, like the arcades of yore. These games are designed to draw a crowd.

“Prince of Arcade is a way for us to push and poke people about how broad the category of game can be,” says co-organizer Saleem Dabbous. “There’s this movement currently called the ‘new arcade’ — people are running parties all over the world, and bringing games together that you wouldn’t be able to play anywhere else. We want to explore what games are and what they can be, but also show the social aspect, and the kind of community they can provide.”

There Shall Be Lanching
There Shall Be Lanching

The games will be displayed with large projections, and impressive sound systems to boot. “Holding the event in an art gallery like Eastern Bloc is interesting because it puts games in a context people aren’t used to,” adds co-organizer Nick Rudzicz. “We want to show them as cultural objects.”

In addition to the main area devoted to abstract multiplayer experiences unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, there will also be a chillout section featuring the game UN EP, which Dabbous describes as “an ambient music exploration tool where you interact with a canvas and it converts your actions into musical soundscapes.”

The Mount Royal Game Society’s homemade Arcade Royale — you might have seen the cabinet at Mile End donut and coffee shop Chez Boris — will make an appearance, with a few new additions to its all-local line-up.

“Whenever I’m (at Chez Boris), working on regular upkeep, I’ll run into people who know the arcade format, even if it’s just from childhood, and will want to know what our cabinet is about,” says Rudzicz. “People can relate to DIY, bootstrap operations like Arcade Royale, and it’s our mandate to reach outside of Montreal’s usual game development sphere.”

It’s been a big year for the Mount Royal Game Society in general. The volunteer-run group, which organizes monthly meet-ups for game developers and enthusiasts alike, has seen attendance climb from their humble beginnings at watering hole l’Amère à boire to routinely filling up the larger Royal Phoenix. They’ve also transitioned to more general art spaces like Nuit Blanche and Puces Pop.

“We’re proactive in showing up in spaces people wouldn’t expect us to go,” says Dabbous. “We’re here to show that games are for everybody, and that everyone should be making games.” ■

The Prince of Arcade happens at Eastern Bloc (7240 Clark) on Monday, Nov. 11 , 8 p.m., $10. For more info on the games or to purchase an advance ticket head here.

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