Proto Buildbar unveils a new arcade game at SXSW every nerd will love


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Look out, Street Fighter characters: Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison are looking to kick your ass.

Webster Station's Proto BuildBar unleashed a top secret project while at South by Southwest this week: A custom-built arcade game called "Tesla vs. Edison - War of Currents." The unveiling coincides with Proto's selection as a finalist for "Innovative 3-DIY" at the Interactive Innovation Awards, part of the annual showcase for interactive media, film, music, and more in Austin, Tex.

Proto BuildBar unveiled a new arcade game "Tesla vs. Edison - War of Currents" made by Dayton's Real Art at South By Southwest 2016. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO.

Proto's general manager Alex Todd calls the game — created by their partners and next-door neighbors Real Art Design Group — "a Street Fighter-style fighting game that pits a digital Tesla versus Edison in brawling combat."

"Here at Proto BuildBar we're no strangers to being unique," Todd said in a press release. "As the world's first 'buildbar' we use 3-D printers and soldering projects to give an introductory glimpse of all the maker movement has to offer."

Got what it takes to play the first game that shocks you?Edison versus Tesla. AC versus DC. Good versus Evil. Call it...

Posted by Proto BuildBar on Monday, March 14, 2016

Tesla vs. Edison, he says, is a "classic fighting game that pits the two inventors in a brawl for electrical supremacy."

Players choose to play as either The Wizard of Menlo Park or The Man Who Invented the 20th Century, and do battle across four custom stages. And there's a special feature unlike most any arcade game you've played so far: "Score enough hits and you can release a charge of energy to strike not only the digital inventor, but your real-life opponent through a custom-built conductive joystick," the press release reads. That's enough incentive for us to start brushing up on our combo moves.

Proto BuildBar unveiled a new arcade game "Tesla vs. Edison - War of Currents" made by Dayton's Real Art at South By Southwest 2016. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO.

And why Tesla and Edison?

"Tesla has always kind of been the unofficial mascot here at Proto, with a huge mural devoted to him and a large picture of him on our wall," Todd told "It was natural that we would develop a fun experience involving him!"

Some ⚡️SHOCKING⚡️ footage of the new Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents game currently debuting at South By Southwest. Vote Proto for the People's Choice Award:

Posted by Proto BuildBar on Monday, March 14, 2016
And the game is not only shockingly fun (we had to), but educational: The name is based upon a real-life "war" that occurred between Edison and Tesla's employee Westinghouse Company, where propaganda pitted Tesla's alternating current (AC) designs against Edison's direct current (DC) patents.
"It's amazing to think of how different our world would be without the adoption of AC currents," Todd said. "With DC technology, how long would it have taken to power the more rural areas of our country? It had huge implications for our country's ability to industrialize."

The arcade game, nearly two years in the making, was unveiled Monday at Proto BuildBar's booth at the Interactive Innovation Awards Showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Tex. We in Dayton will have to wait until March 26 to try out the innovative game at Proto's makerspace, coffee house-cum-bar location.

Proto BuildBar assistant manager Daniel Madero sets up a 3-D printer at the creative and technology experience center. STAFF PHOTO

Proto didn't take home the award Tuesday night, which went to London, Eng.-based "open hardware technology" company Wevolver, but we're proud of our hometown buildbar all the same! The finalists of the "Innovative 3-DIY" category are based upon "making 3-D printing technology more accessible or affordable, or to the Maker using such technology in new and exciting ways," according to South by Southwest. 

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