Arts / Gaming

The PhillyTron and its 11 local videogames are now on display at the Franklin Institute

The arcade cabinet, built by Philly Game Mechanics, is showcasing locally made indie games at the museum’s “Game Masters” exhibit.

Photo by wallyg

The Game Masters exhibit, curated by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and currently on display at the Franklin Institute, is a four-decade trek through the history of videogames.

Featuring over 100 playable games, the exhibit got an infusion of local creativity last week with the addition of the 11 Philly-made videogames that live inside the PhillyTron, an old-timey arcade cabinet that showcases local videogame artistry.

“We actually first heard about it from your article,” Franklin Institute spokesman Noah Lattanzi told this reporter. “We’re super excited to have it here.”

The PhillyTron is the second act of a 1989 All American Football arcade machine. Brought back to life and owned by Philly Game Mechanics, the six-foot machine looks to showcase locally studios. It will return to its original home, coworking spot Indy Hall, after the exhibit wraps up in September.

“This is really just an ambassador for Philly games,” Philly Game Mechanics member Woody Fentress said. “Rather than getting laptops and controllers and that whole complicated process, this lets people walk up to this game and be able to be in touch with Philly games.”

The PhillyTron will travel down to Maryland-based videogame festival MAGFest in January. The Game Mechanics are also looking to connect with other venues interested in hosting it on a temporary basis.

“It’s our ambassador, so the more it’s available to the public, the better,” said Flyclops Games cofounder Jake O’Brien in an email.

The cabinet’s presence at the exhibit also serves to normalize videogame development as a viable career path, O’Brien said.

“I’m really excited that everyone, especially the kids, visiting the exhibit because they love games get to see that we make games right here in Philly,” the game dev said. “I hope it’s making game development more accessible to any game lovers out there who might be intimidated. And it’s awesome to have our community’s games alongside so many of the best games ever made.”

Those looking to connect with the group to add locally-made games to the cabinet can reach out by emailing contact [at] phillygamemechanics [dot] com.

“Or just come out to a meeting,” said O’Brien. “Meetings are open to all.

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