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light Arcade

August, 2018

custom arcade machine, custom software

A collaborative project as Joyrats - myself, Anthony Bui, and Roland Arnoldt


Joyrats studio was commissioned to create an installation for an arcade themed party in Arcade, NY. So we decided to reimagine the arcade machine as a party object, giving control of the lights to revelers.


From our brief, we had one major constraint - portability. The arcade machine would need to be transported in a reasonably sized van and carried to its location at the party. We began by looking at different classic cabinets and taking note of the properties we liked best. We selected target angles for the screen and height for the controller as well as the overall cabinet height.

With the general dimensions figured out, I began the model in Google Sketchup. I designed the machine in so it could be split in half for transporting. I selected a lip system, whereby the bottom piece would have wood protruding out of it so the top half could rest snugly on top. Two latches on each side would further secure the two halves. The control panel could also be removed and replaced with other interfaces for future improvements.

Once completed in cad, I exported the panels to be loaded into MasterCAM and CNC’d. The pieces were then assembled using dowels and screws so parts could be more easily replaced and repaired in the future.

The inspiration for the software came from the OP-1. We wanted to imagine an interface for lighting that could have the playfulness of that quirky instrument. I created a series of mini-games in touchdesigner that would have a different output to the lights.


It was immensely gratifying to design something so large in CAD and see it come to life exactly as I envisioned it. The fabrication period was quite intense and it led to me neglecting full development of the user interface, and I wish I had more time to user test. It was a fantastic project and we hope to use the machine to continue to improve this project as well as develop other interesting interactions with it.