Joystick division: Arcooda managing director Steve Josifovski in his Mayfield manufacturing base. Picture: Penelope Green VETERAN Newcastle arcade and pinball machine distributor Highway’s newmanufacturing arm Arcoodais taking its high-end,retro-cool nous to the world.
Founder Steve Josifovski, a respected industry player who spearheads the company’sinnovation, will travel to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions trade show in Orlando, Florida, in mid-November to show Arcooda’s growing platform of products to a clientele based in the US, Europe and Asia.
The Mayfield manufacturer’srangehinges on its development of a control board thatallowusers to plug their XBox360, XBox1, Play Station or PC into a pinballor arcade machinefor full-scale fun in their loungeroom.
Mr Josifovski says he believes Arcooda’s arcade machines are the most advanced of their type on the market.
“We’re the first [company] to introduce full hybrid plug and play gaming: taking an arcade game of Japanese quality, mixing it with inexpensive parts like your Xbox or Play Station and giving the user ahigh-end arcade experience at home,” he said.
“Our philosophy is that the owner buys the machine once and continues adding software titles for unlimited gaming options, and they have a variety of playing options, whether it’s our video pinball machine or our joystick and touchscreen arcade machines.
Mr Josifovski said the move to the home market was inevitable given the slow death of what he simply refers to as “arcade”.
“It’ll never come back because that generation is gone, and the current generation has never been to an arcade, preferring to play games at home,” he says.
“But there are a lot of people of my [40-something] generation who still enjoy gaming but don’t have the opportunity to go to a gaming centre.”
Mr Josifovski’s first taste of arcades was begging his mum to visit “pinnie parlours”in his childhood.
He studied economics and marketing at the University of Newcastle in the 80s, when arcade mania was at its peak, and worked for renowned Newcastlearcade game manufacturer A Hankin & Co in Newcastle and Sydney.
Around 1995, he set up his own machine distribution company, initially supplying to take-away stores and cinemas and moving into consultancy work, setting up arcades around the world –at last count, he’s set up 300 stores, including an arcadein the $2 billion revamp of Macau Casino Galaxy.
Mr Josifovski looks sheepish when he admits he has six machines at home.
“People come over and I guarantee they will disappear, you think they are going to the bathroom but they are going to play,” he laughs.