by Matthew Hawkins

As most of you know already, history was made here in New York City late last year, when the arcade made its long-awaited return to 42nd Street via Babycastles Manhattan. Many to this very day are still talking about what went down on November 4th, 2010, which was the opening of the Attract Mode extravaganza, aka Heavenly Symphony, and how it shook the foundations of game culture here in the Big Apple, down to its very core. But if a refresher is in order, part one of my three-part rundown begins here.

Anyhow, in addition to all the amazing games, chiptunes performance, and absurdly exquisite artwork that filled the space, two definite highlights were without a doubt the custom decorated cabinets by Dave Mauro and Hilary Florido

And guess what? They’re looking for a new home. Maybe yours? As noted in my last update, their cabinets are for sale! Let’s take a closer look shall we (and apologizes in advance for having less than optimal pictures; I’m by no means a professional photographer)…

Some Background

Each were originally photo booth cabinets, or something of the like, that both Dave and Hilary treated with primarily acrylic paints. Hilary began hers on December 1st, and Dave the day after; most of the work was done during the final 48 hours before the opening. Fun-fact: Dave actually stayed at the space overnight by creating a bed out of newspapers on the floor!

In the end, the level of dedication, as well as craftsmanship, is clearly evident and absolutely unquestionable…

“Babycastles no Fukushuu: Manhattan Fury”

… is the name of Dave’s cabinet. In his own words:

The style for this cabinet was inspired by a mixture of the popular video game genres of the beat ‘em up side-scroller (think Double Dragon, 1987) and horror platformers (Ghosts and Goblins, 1985). I tried to capture the ominous looming from the horror games and the urban dystopia often popular in beat ‘em ups. The Manhattan setting is in honor of Babycastles having a temporary space in Manhattan, instead of its usual Queens setting. The title, which literally translates to “Babycastles’ Revenge”, grew out of that Manhattan setting as I imagined a sequel to a game in which the players square off against an evil Dr. Babycastles. This time he’s out for Revenge and he’ll destroy all of Manhattan if the players don’t stop him.

As an arcade cabinet owner, and an avid player of video games and watcher of films, I love exploring these recurring themes and how they pervade through various mediums and end up portrayed in places as unlikely as the side of an arcade cabinet.

“Codependent No Moe”

… is the name of Hilary’s cabinet. She explains:

This cabinet is a refection on the depiction of women in the Japanese shoujo manga (comics aimed at girls) of the 70′s and 80′s and the current trend of the of women shown in Japanese comics today. The prior of these focused on the an almost hyper sense of the lovely and feminine, while many of today’s women characters epitomize naive preadolescence figure. Moe, a popular slang word in Japanese, characterizes this current focus on young girl characters in comics and anime that and helplessly sweet and elicit the need to be protected.

As a comic creator, manga reader, and woman, I often find myself at odds with these depictions. I am attracted to the intricate beauty in the detailed illustrations of the ’70′s and 80′s comics and charmed with sugary sweetness of the characters of today. However, I also long for these female characters to have more agency and to be more proactive.

In painting this cabinet, I sought to approach this issue by employing my own take on the traditional shoujo illustration style of the 70′s and 80′s, while giving each character a piece of empowering/self help reading material both as an act of irony and a hope for future change.

Additional Information

Both cabinets seem identical, but there are some very minor yet significant differences:

Babycastles no Fukushuu: Manhattan Fury is 64 and 1/2 inches tall. It is also both 24 inches wide and 24 inches deep. A piece of plexiglass was added to the final piece, to better house the monitor, and the window has a view angle of 17 and 3/4 inches

Codependent No Moe is slightly shorter, coming in at 61 and 3/4 inches tall. But it too is 24 inches wide and 24 inches deep, just like Babycastles no Fukushuu. The original display was also smaller than the one inside Dave’s cabinet, thus a viewing angle of 14 and 3/4 inches.

Otherwise, they’re exactly alike. The fronts and the sides have been customized by the artists, obviously, and the overall condition is fairly excellent, considering that they each was in a public space for approximately three months, so they do exhibit some wear and tear. Much of this can be easily repaired by even the buyer his or herself.

Neither cabinet has a back. Instead you’ll find wooden shelves that will accommodate a monitor and whatever game playing machine of your choosing. Openings up front allow for controllers and their wires to be easily accommodated, up to four, even a switch box for those who wish to run multiple game machines.

Unfortunately I was not able to accurately weight each cabinet, but given how each is made of wooden, and the construction is solid, I’d wager to say that each is about 100+ pounds.

They are currently being stored in Williamsburg, at Babycastles’ upcoming gallery space to be more precise. Any interest buyers are more than welcome to swing by and check them out, though an appointment in advance is necessary. Though onto the most important part…

Asking Price For Each: $1,200

Please note that the figure is entirely negotiable, but ultimately subject to the approval of the artists. Who btw will be taking a significant portion of the final amount (far so than in more traditional circumstances; it goes without saying that their efforts deserve to be rewarded as handsomely as possible). It’s also important to note that the mentioned price is also for those who are able to come and pick up the cabinets themselves. Shipping and handling is an option, but again must be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Not only are these beautiful works of art, they’re centerpieces from a watershed moment in New York City’s game-oriented history, plain and simple. One that is only now beginning to gather some steam, so their significance (along with their more obvious qualities) cannot be overstated. Myself, along with the artists, plus everyone else within Attract Mode and Babycastles would be honored to have you, the potential buyer, give it a new home.

Any interested parties can contact me direct for any questions or additional information, as well as schedule an appointment to see them first hand as previously noted. And the best means of getting the ball rolling is by sending me an email; at either matt @ fort90.com or matt @ attractmo.de. Thank you very much in advance!

About The Artists

David Mauro is an artist, designer, and web developer currently hard at work on Canvas. When he’s not designing web sites, he can be found drawing and painting in his Brooklyn apartment. http://www.dmauro.com | http://dmauro.tumblr.com/

Hilary Florido graduated SVA in 2007 with a BFA in Cartooning. While living and working in Queens she has finished her first graphic novel, The Third Horseman, with First Second and been short listed in the 2009 and 2010 America’s Best Comics series for her self published mini comics. You can follow her comic and illustration activities on her upcoming website hilaryflorido.com

Previous post:

Next post: