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December 2015 Retro Gaming Article


December 5, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Will retro charitable arcade cabinets be gathering donations in your local airport or mall?

Playing Space Invaders in exchange for a charitable donation is genius, but can this idea expand to other Red Cross divisions?
We've all seen collection boxes for the Red Cross. This past Spring stories began circulating in retro gaming circles about two airports in Sweden that added some ingenuity to this collection methodology. In order to entice more donations by those passing through airports, they converted their donation boxes into arcade cabinets. By placing these Charity Arcade cabinets in areas where people often have a lot of "waiting time" they increased donations by exchanging retro arcade game play. They offer Pac-Man, Galaga, and Space Invaders - great choices!

This is a pretty innovative way to increase donations both by offering 3 of the best retro titles available and by letting these machines take any type currency - yen, euro or pounds. These Charity Arcades were set up at Stockholm Arlanda Airport and Goteborg Landvetter Airport. I think we can all agree that waiting at the airport is a miserable experience. I'd welcome the opportunity to play retro games and donate to a cause.

Charity Arcade Charity Arcade machines collect Red Cross donations at two Swedish airport baggage claims.

Was Charitable Arcade Successful?

Charity Arcade I know very little about the Red Cross, but I'm fairly certain they would try to replicate one division's success across the entire organization. One aspect to this story that vexes me is the lack of replication. Was this idea not successful? I'm quite surprised we haven't heard about the Red Cross, or similar organization, rolling this out at other locations!

With the success of Barcades, retro arcades, and a surge in all things "retro", I can't imagine this donation concept failing or not being replicated elsewhere. I find no mention of it beyond the 2 Swedish airports last Spring. I would think this model would take off in a viral sort of way, so I'm curious to know where it stands.

Charity Arcade

Charitable Arcade Modification Curiosities

A project like this raises a few thoughts. Such a project would need to properly account for legal and licensing issues. The Red Cross would not be able to offer such game play without licensing the games' rights. All three games were licensed to Midway for NA distribution which might make licensing them for the Red Cross less complex.

I'm guessing these 3 cabinets are part of a test or proof-of-concept due to the customized marquees, different control deck graphics, and unique control layout on Space Invaders. If this were part of a larger roll-out, there would likely be more conformity to reduce costs.

I don't know much about coin-mechs, but I'll bet most of them are designed for a single currency rather than a catch-all solution. That speaks to some customization or added expense in order to allow acceptance of multiple currency types.

These games are likely running off a Raspberry Pi or similar board allowing for easy integration. If true, that opens the door to expanding the games offered as well as creating a generic cabinet set-up that can play a variety of games based on licensing and matching control schemes.

Legal issues are likely the most complex part of this project and one that could easily derail expanding or even continuing. I'm hoping to hear moe about this project and its future. I can think of a variety of scenarios that would support such a concept.
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As a side note: When it comes to charitable donations, you should always research any organization that is soliciting donations. Some organizations do great work while others squander most of the donations and offering very little assistance to their causes. Don't give anyone your hard-earned money unless you know they are truly capable of aiding their causes... even if they promise you a game of Galaga!

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