The Plywood Arcade

In April 2022, at Soho House Hong Kong, Elle Bracket Industries presented a series of handmade arcade games hoping to foster nostalgia amongst the audience as well as reacquaint people with the art of mechanical gaming.

Historically, amusement arcades have been social hubs for entertainment and intrigue. From wooden, penny arcade games as early as the 1910’s, through the golden age of the 1980’s iconic arcade games and into the 1990’s where, eventually technology became compact enough to migrate into home consoles. Our relationship to mechanical games during this time changed, as society becomes increasingly computerised. So while we encourage kids to build, break and create with real objects, our work and entertainment lives are rather digitally dependent.

The Plywood Arcade is proudly and pointedly the opposite of the metaverse. A celebration of real- world DIY objects, relying mostly on simple mechanics of plywood, bolts, springs and rubber bands packaged in familiar childish forms. Facilitating a sentimental re-connection with our inner child’s sense of discovery and light hearted competition.

Counter Productive

The Plywood Arcade Exhibition was made up of six machines, each varying in sizes and complexity, with various levels of competition and discovery.

Amongst the games in this catalogue, the show will also showcase some retrospective work from Elle Bracket Industries, representing their creative attitude to mechanical bricolage over much of the last decade, providing a visual and sensory throughline to their current work.

Tour De Boulle
Workshop wisdom

The Pinball Machine (above) is a corner stone of any arcade, ours has no flashing lights, no score, and no power cable (and no coin slot either). Instead, it has a direct relationship to the mechanics, the sound of the ball hitting the bell , springs, ramps, spin wheels etc. The goal is to keep the ball on the table using the plywood flappers powered by a dowel button and a series of rubber bands and leavers which transfer the movement to the top of the table.