In 2011 I helped found Juegos Rancheros, an indie games community meetup group in Austin. The monthly meetups were initially meant to build interest and support for Fantastic Arcade, (at that time) the indie games showcase at Fantastic Fest. Over the years Juegos took on its own life, spawning other events, an artist’s residency program, game jams, and itself becoming a full fledged arts nonprofit. Fantastic Arcade grew too, splitting off from Fantastic Fest to become it’s own festival.
It’s been a struggle at times however- economic conditions and the serious demands of community management mean our volunteer board members and helpers give a lot to keep the organization going. Right now five of our sitting board members, myself included, are finding themselves torn away from working on Juegos by new jobs, school, and cross-country moves.
In 2015, JUEGOS RANCHEROS began an independent arcade space and residency program with The Museum of Human Achievement (MoHA). This program, The Arcade of Anything, has hosted numerous resident artists, games, parties and openings across the last four years. Through this ongoing partnership, JUEGOS RANCHEROS and MoHA have built a relationship of mutual trust and excitement that has pushed both organizations in new directions.
I’m happy to say that today we are announcing that JUEGOS RANCHEROS and Fantastic Arcade will become a part of The Museum of Human Achievement starting July 4th, 2019.
Juegos Rancheros has been an active part of the vibrant Austin games scene and has helped connect our community to the larger sphere of international interactive art. We know and trust our collaborators at The Museum of Human Achievement and are excited to see where our community and Fantastic Arcade go next.
Our regularly scheduled Fantastic Arcade this fall will be on hold while we restructure, with tentative plans to return to the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller in 2020. JUEGOS RANCHEROS are still looking forward to seeing everyone at our annual party this fall, featuring original work from commissioned artists, and hosted by MoHA for the second year as part of their new digital arts programming initiative. I’m personally (selfishly) looking forward to attending this party to connect with everyone as an attendee. While I intend to remain on in an advisory capacity to Fantastic Arcade, I’ll be working on my media design degree in California and the demands of school and moving mean that I’ll need to take a less hands-on role in Fantastic Arcade. I’m really confident that MoHA understands the vision, vibe, and community of the festival, and will be able to take it forward.
Juegos and Fantastic Arcade have been such a big part of my life for the last decade. Thanks to everybody, game devs, board members, volunteers, door folks, sponsors, partners, guest hosts, media and attendees who have made it such a unique event over that period. We’ll see you again soon. <3