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Indie Arcade Game “DeathBall” Debuts in Columbus

Cody Starcher Cody Starcher Indie Arcade Game “DeathBall” Debuts in Columbus
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We really like our arcades in Columbus. We have five bar/arcades, a mechanical arcade, and at least three more arcade clubs that I know of, and I’m sure I’m missing a few here and there.

This may be my bias, but we also seem to like Indie Games as well. Columbus is where I help to host the annual GDEX Gaming Expo, we have an amazing indie gamedev scene, and we also have two locations to play the indie arcade game, Killer Queen.

And now, Franklinton’s Close Quarters: Social Gaming Club is bringing yet another indie arcade game to Columbus: DeathBall.

For the uninitiated, DeathBall is a competitive one-on-one sport platforming game where the goal is to get the coveted DeathBall into your opponent wizard’s goal. Reminiscent of games like Rocket League or IDARB, DeathBall is another great take on shaking up what a sport can be.

The game’s creator, Tony Hauber, is your classic Midwest startup story. He was working as the Director of Engineering in the San Francisco office of Casino Gaming company, Betable. As a side project, he started using his CSE degree to start learning game development and game design using the game engine Unity, which games such as Hearthstone, Pokemon Go, and Cuphead were all created with. That’s where he started to find his passion.

“I was looking at Game Design and using my CSE background to start making my own games,” says Hauber. “But it was after my first game jam that I knew that I wanted to make games as a job.”

Hauber started working on some VR Projects and looking at how to incorporate them with the arcade revival. Then in March of 2017 he decided that he wanted to move to the Midwest and go full time with this new career.

However, before leaving San Francisco, he went to one last event at his favorite arcade bar, a Killer Queen tournament. He was friends with the bar’s owners and active in the Killer Queen community, so he asked if he could bring a prototype of an old project he was reworking as a hobby project. The game was a hit with the arcade audience and the bar’s owners said that if it were ever in an arcade cabinet, they would buy the first one. The game was DeathBall, and it was a week and a half into development at the time.

After moving to Iowa, Hauber decided to spend more time working on DeathBall and transitioning it to an arcade experience. He started taking it with him to Killer Queen events across the country, where he met Close Quarters’ owner Blake Compton at a tournament in Chicago. Compton was immediately drawn to the gameplay.

“I like DeathBall for the simple joystick and one button setup per player.” Compton said, “It’s a good 1v1 game that is easy to pick up, but hard to master.”

In August, Hauber released his first cabinet in San Francisco’s Brewcade, that very same bar of the Killer Queen Tournament. He then started to find a home for his second release and Compton was more than happy to bring the second cabinet of the game to Columbus after he was contacted.

“He really liked what Close Quarters had to offer,” recalled Compton. “We have a community of dedicated gamers who are supportive of the indie gaming scene.”

If you would like to try your hand at Columbus’ newest Arcade Cabinet, you can visit the Close Quarters Launch Party for the game this Saturday. From 6pm-11pm. The club will be hosting an Inaugural DeathBall Tournament that you can participate in, or watch on their Twitch channel, and Hauber will be there to help answer questions and be a part of the festivities.

For more information, visit www.socialgamingclub.com.

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