Screenburn Arcade Finds Its Audience

And it’s roughly 14 years old

Two aspiring game developers get started early.
Two aspiring game developers get started early.

If you’ve brought yourself or your kids to the SXSW Screenburn Arcade in past years and been unimpressed, this is the year to try again. The free and public showcase of gaming at its eye-frying best is having its last day today from noon to 7pm. Here are a few reasons you need to go, and bring the kids.

Previous years at Screenburn have always awkwardly split the difference between gamer paradise and convention stodginess. This year, to their credit, they decided to go make a jaw-dropping spectacle and leave it at that. I watched many kids walk through the doors, stop, and look around with wide-eyes as they try to decide where to start their over-stimulation. There are tons of screens and tournaments to get in on including many big name releases like Street Fighter x Tekken, Firefall, and the locally developed Starhawk. Walk all the way to the big screen in the back and join the audience watching the pros earning their money schooling people in games like Starcraft II.

If the influx of flashing lights isn’t enough to inspire you or your offspring both GameSalad and E-Line Media have booths that help get amateur programmers into the game-making biz. The E-Line Media booth was filled with grade-schoolers choosing not to play but create, and that’s no mean feat.

All in all, SXSW has finally turned the arcade into what it should be, a daylong escape into a gaming Valhalla. Something that when you walk back out to the real world you take a deep breath and try to figure out how you can get that overwhelming feeling of joy again. Or maybe that was just me.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

<i>Fear the Walking Dead</i> Hits Big After Move to Austin
Fear the Walking Dead Hits Big After Move to Austin
Plus more local production updates

Richard Whittaker, April 27, 2018

SXSW Film Review: <i>Upgrade</i>
Review: Upgrade
Cyberpunk action thriller has a few hidden features

Richard Whittaker, March 19, 2018

More by James Renovitch
Hot Luck Offers Discount for <i>Chronicle</i> Readers
Hot Luck Offers Discount for Chronicle Readers
Get tickets this weekend and save some money on all the food and fun

April 19, 2018

SXSW Announces Gaming Awards Winners
SXSW Announces Gaming Awards Winners
From Nintendo blockbusters to local faves

March 17, 2018


Gaming, SXSW, screenburn arcade

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle