The Winnitron 1000 is a free-to-play independent video game arcade cabinet featuring new games created by indie game developers from Winnipeg and across the globe!
The goal of the Winnitron 1000 is to inspire and encourage Winnipeg game developers to become active members of the independent video game community.
The creation of the Winnitron 1000 is a joint effort between 6 individuals: Alec Holowka, Marlon Wiebe, Noel Berry, Kert Gartner, Tom Rab and Joel Forest. This group of individuals collectively calls themselves the Bit Collective.
The Winnitron 1000 currently lives at LoPub, located at 330 Kennedy St. in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Winnitron 1000 will occasionally make special appearances at “theme parties” and other events which will be announced on this site.
“The Winnitron is a really fun way to celebrate the history of video games, while inspiring the local game developer community to build brand new games to share with a social audience.” — Alec Holowka (Infinite Ammo)
Do you have some questions for us? Do you want the Winnitron 1000 at your event or “theme party” in Winnipeg? Want to build your own Winnitron? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to send us a game for the Winnitron 1000? Check out the Developer Page, and send us an email at email@example.com
If you want to get in touch with the creators of the Winnitron 1000, you can find out more info about us at The Bit Collective.
The History of the Winnitron 1000
The idea for the Winnitron 1000 came out of the first Winnipeg game jam, which took place in spring of 2010. One of the initial inspirations was The Torontron, created by the Hand Eye Society in Toronto. The idea floated around for a few months until the fall of 2010, when we started to move forward with the idea…
The first step was to either buy, build or salvage an old arcade cabinet… We called a bunch of places in Winnipeg that actively rent out old arcade machines, and started to get an idea what our options were. We went to three “arcade graveyards” in Winnipeg, and in the end, we settled on a small, and relatively light machine that looked like it could be modified to what we needed.
The Winnitron 1000 was forged from a refurbished 80′s arcade cabinet named Total Carnage. The machine needed a lot of love, which included gutting the machine, and doing a total replacement of the control panel. Total Carnage was set up as a dual stick shooter, which wasn’t the control scheme we had in mind. Kert got in touch with a friend’s dad who does sheet metal work, and he cut a new piece of aluminum for our new control panel. It turned out even more sexy than we could have hoped for.
Joel Forrest, who has manufactured a few cabinets on his own, helped us drill the holes into the new sheet of aluminum. Once everything was put together, it looked fantastic. The cabinet was sanded down, and repainted a deep shade of blue, with some orange stripes to mirror the colours in the Winnitron logo.
Winnitron 1000 Game Jam
It was a bit of a mad dash to get it all togther since we were under a bit of a time crunch. We wanted to have the cabinet playable at the Winnitron 1000 game jam later that month… The goal of the Jam was to create some original games specifically created for the Winnitron 1000.
After the game jam, the Winnitron 1000 sat idle for a little while, while Alec worked on the launcher software, and Noel Berry worked out some of the bugs in the PHP software that runs the Winnitron statistics. We’re keeping track of which games are played, and for how often because, well, stats are awesome. Alec and Noel added the ability for the Winnitron 1000 to update itself over the internet by downloading new games, and uploading high scores and achievements to Twitter and Facebook. Games have to be specifically coded to support these features, and we encourage all developers to add this to their games.
The Winnitron 1000 had a small public appearance at a local career day, and at Demo Camp, where it tried (and failed) to take over the world…
Data Dance: Level 1
The first “real” unveiling of the Winnitron 1000 took place at an event called Data Dance: Level 1, which was Winnipeg’s first Chip Tune dance party. The event was organized by Skot Deeming, aka Mr. Ghosty. The event was a huge success, not only for Winnipeg, but for the Winnitron as well. There was always a crowd around the machine, and it was played constantly the entire night. The evening Featured 8-bit chiptune DJ sets by: DeActiVision (aka cut stickens), Bit Cadet (aka trrrl) and, decade forward (mrghosty’s dj project).
An overview of the night can be found here, on Kert Gartner’s blog, or you can see the night unfold in video form below:
The Winnitron NL
Dutch Game Garden is dedicated to supporting the Dutch Game-scene and supplied a homebase for the WINNITRON NL and the cabinet it is housed in. The Dutch Game Garden seeks to accelerate the growth of the Dutch mainstream indie scene by providing wide-ranging support for starting and established game developers in the Netherlands, organizing game jams, meetings and events – among which Indigo, a showcase of Dutch independent games.
More information on the Winnitron NL can be found on the Vlambeer Blog…
Future of the Winnitron 1000
So what’s in store for the Winnitron 1000? We hope that over the coming months, that the Winnitron develops a strong following in Winnipeg, and more Winnitrons begin to spread around globe… There’s already talk of new Winnitrons in Calgary, Vancouver, Seattle, and even Brazil…
If you would like to donate to the Winnitron project, please feel free. All the money collected will go towards the maintenance and creation of additional Winnitron arcade machines in Winnipeg and beyond.
If you are interested in getting your game on the Winnitron 1000, or if you want to create your own Winnitron indie game arcade machine, please let us know! Check out the Contact page and send us an email!
Contributrors to the Winnitron 1000
There have been far more people than the 5 main contributors listed at the top of this page that have had a hand in the creation and maintenance of the Winnitron 1000. Here’s a list of them all in no particular order:
Alec Holowka: Alec helped kick-start the the indie game scene in Winnipeg though organizing the first game jam in the city. He’s also an amazing programmer, musician and actor. Alec created the Winnitron 1000 launcher software. Alec also created Trash Pilot in a few hours at the Winnitron 1000 game jam. Paper Moon is also partly Alec’s creation and can also be played on the machine. Alec also made the executive decision that we should order yellow t-moulding for the Winnitron 1000. It was a wise decision.
Tom Rab: Tom helped with the creation of the launcher and monitor software that is at the heart of the Winnitron 1000. Tom is also coding a game called “Precipice: The Game of Love”. Tom also created a piece of software that will allow us to take screen-shots of games in progress on the Winnitron 1000 and upload them to this website.
Marlon Wiebe: The guy that said “Hey we should really do this“. Was nice enough to ask his brother Kurt if we were able to store the Winnitron 1000 at his place while we worked on it. Provided valuable drill and sawing skills. Marlon also painted the cabinet. Just a handyman you say? No way! He also created Sumo Topplers and the logo for the Winnitron 1000! Did I mention he wired the control panel too? Currently, you’ll find Marlon skipping class at Red River, since he’s building a space shuttle in his back yard.
Noel Berry: Noel is actually a 38 year old programmer with 20 years of experience somehow transported into the body of a 18 year old high school student. Noel is responsible for coding the website which you are currently enjoying, and the statistical tracking software that is hidden away inside the Winnitron 1000. That’s right, we know when you’re sleeping, we know when you’re awake… We also know how long you’ve played every game on the Winnitron 1000. This information will eventually be sold to Facebook and Google for millions of dollars. While we wait for Google’s phone call, we’re making cool looking pie charts! Noel also created Leap for Blue, which you can play on the Winnitron 1000.
Kert Gartner: General organizer of most things to do with the Winnitron 1000 and creator of the Canabalt: 2 player and Super Crate Box Versus trailers. Phoned all the arcade graveyards in the city to see what we could get and provided valuable transportation services (IE, he’s the only one with a car). Kert also provided the motion graphics, marquee and bezel design for the Winnitron 1000. Kert hooked us up with a place for the Winnitron game jam (through New Media Manitoba), the computer hardware and LCD screen.
Irv Halprin. Irv is one of the owners of Allied Coin, and graciously supplied us with the Winnitron 1000 cabinet for free. Irv is an awesome guy, and has been in the arcade/entertainment business for over 30 years. He even delivered the Winnitron 1000 (which was a total carnage machine at the time) to Marlon’s brother’s house for no charge in his truck with custom arcade seat-belts. Top notch dude.
Graham Potts: Kert’s friend who knows things about tools and metal and stuff. His dad works in sheet metal and managed to cut and bend us a new aluminum control panel for free. Thanks Gord Potts!
Joel Forest: Drilled holes in our new aluminum control panel, and provided feedback and general knowledge on the creation of an arcade cabinet. Joel has created his own cabinets in the past and has an insane MAME machine in his basement. He can also eat double wieners like a pro!
Sean Cody: Provided gnome services, in addition to figuring out why our USB WiFi stick wasn’t working at Lo Pub. Also provided some hardware to make the keyboard and mouse inside the machine easier to use. He’s the man with the plan to fix the cooling issue we currently have inside of the Winnitron 1000. Windows 7 x64 WPA issues are no match for his IT kung fu!
Edwin Amsler: Provided valuable wiring services to make the new cooling fans work with a normal AC plug. This will potentially save the Winnitron 1000 from turning into a pool of jello.