Arts / Funding / Gaming

Killer Queen documentary looks to chronicle the community around the indie arcade game

A leader of the Baltimore group that formed around the 10-player strategy game is looking to tell the stories of groups across the country.

Killer Queen in Baltimore. (Photo via Facebook)

In helping to bring the 10-player arcade game Killer Queen to Baltimore in 2018, Eric Clarkson quickly found the game inspired community alongside the action happening on the screen.

Since then, Clarkson has found a similar culture around indie game pollinating across the country. Just like the groups that gather at Hampden’s Holy Frijoles to play the 5 v. 5 strategy game on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, he met players that gather around the cabinets in other cities at the most recent national championship for the game, called Bumblebash 3.

“The players are so diverse and each come from a very different community. Each city has its own lingo, play-style, and history,” Clarkson said. “Despite the competitive nature of the event, I still felt welcome as a relative newcomer to the game. Seeing the relationships formed between these traveling players was inspiring, and I wanted to give back to the community in some way.”

So he decided to make a documentary that would tell the stories surrounding the game and its players. Clarkson is planning to make The Killer Queen Arcade Documentary as a seven-part series throughout the year. He’s currently raising money through Kickstarter, and plans to release it in 2020.

“Each city is so unique, it wouldn’t feel right lumping everyone together into one long movie. Thus, each episode will revolve around one of the major KQ communities, with the series finale culminating at next year’s national championship,” he said.

Clarkson has experience in video work connected to Killer Queen. He helps run Killer Queen Flight School, a YouTube channel that serves as a guide to the ins and outs of the game. But the new project represents a bigger effort.

“This documentary will be my first foray into creating something of this scale and I’m beyond excited to start working on it,” he said.

As for the local Killer Queen group, Clarkson said they’re intending to hit the road and travel to Columbus, Ohio, for a tournament this month. Closer to home, side-by-side cabinets will be at MAGFest this weekend.


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