The Next Stage: An Inside Look At The Arcade Gaming Industry With LAI Games

You’ve got to admit, there are some things in an arcade that your adrenaline feeds on — the addictive 8-bit soundtrack running in the background when you’re having a Tokyo Drift moment in the race, the continuous dings when you hit the jackpot on the ticket machine, and of course, the satisfying crescendo that declares you a winner.

The golden age of arcade gaming may have started in the early 70’s, but as our culture evolves, so has arcade gaming.

Back then, arcade gaming involved dipping in a week’s allowance worth of coins and feverishly pushing buttons and yanking on the joystick as your excitement builds because we were sure today’s the day we would finally beat the high score on that leaderboard.

But fast forward to the 21st century, today’s arcades are all-encompassing entertainment destinations: Leveraging cutting edge technologies to deliver innovative and rewarding games and experiences in a range of formats that cannot be replicated at home.

But do you know what goes into producing an arcade game?

Cue LAI Games, a leading developer and manufacturer of arcade games with over 50 years of experience in the amusement industry. From video games, virtual reality experiences, mobile applications, ticket redemption games, and photo booths, LAI Games is a jack of all trades.

From Dream to Reality

Great ideas are difficult to identify — On top of having the basic fundamentals of “what, why, when, where, who, and how”, a great idea should include a challenge, a vision, and motivation. This is how good ideas become better and a better idea becomes great.

Shannon Perell, Vice President of Research and Development of LAI Games, explained new game ideas are pitched quite informally via their #GameIdeas channel on Slack. From there, the most exciting ideas are rapidly prototyped for evaluation.

“We are building a team and workspace that facilitates the speedy evaluation of new game ideas, allowing us to promote high-potential games and mechanics, while killing less successful ones early in the development process.”

Senior Game Developer, Liam Cary, further chimed in, “We have a few criteria that an idea must meet, such as being a unique and innovative concept. If a prototype gets the green light, the next move would involve processes like integrating the physical hardware that will power the game, or perhaps developing a vertical slice of gameplay.”

When asked about the ahem rejects ahem less successful prototypes, Liam was surprisingly not too hung up about them. “Sometimes, the prototype doesn’t end up as fun as we expected. That’s great because we want to be prototyping as many games as possible so that we can take the best of the best ideas for production.”

Talk about hardcore commitment.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

It’s shared values that bind effective team members, and for LAI Games, it boils down to having passion, being collaborative and driven by innovation. It does not matter how long team members have known each other for; the most important thing is that each member of the LAI Games team is genuinely invested in what they do and they do it together.

Shannon shared how the workplace is made up of developers and engineers from various disciplines, all working together to deliver unique and innovative products to millions of players around the world.

Given the dynamic environment and highly rewarding industry, the team is continuously evaluating and experimenting with new technologies, picking up exciting challenges, and developing games and experiences that people cannot get anywhere else.

Not to mention, the team takes their Fridays very seriously. At 4.30pm sharp, everyone stops working and get together over snacks, drinks and of course, games.

“It’s our take on ‘Happy Hour’ where we get to unwind and spend some fun time with everyone. Sometimes we play games, sometimes we talk, but it’s always the perfect way to end the work week,” shared Kim Sicotte, Technical Artist at LAI Games.

Currently, the LAI team has started regular off-site group activities such as visiting various entertainment offerings around Singapore. Last week, it was axe throwing! Next week, who knows?

Shannon believes in the value of these team activities, “Besides being a fun get-together for the team, it gives us the opportunity to experience the various activities available for people looking for rich social experiences in an out-of-home environment. This is our industry, after all, and it is important that we understand it and that we’re a part of it.”

Who says you can’t have fun at work?

Dream Big. Work Hard. Make It Happen.

When asked about his proudest achievement at LAI Games, Chief Supply Chain Officer of LAI Games, Darren Chia, couldn’t contain his excitement.

“Finding more alignment with the manufacturing team,” recounted Darren.

“Over the past year, we’ve built a good deal of arcade machines and have consistently met all our timelines. Given such tight timelines, we’ve learned to not shift neither the blame nor responsibilities around. Instead, empowering one another and understanding how each of us plays a role in this process.”

“Ultimately, we learn and grow as a team,” emphasised Darren Chia, Chief Supply Chain Officer of LAI Games.

Software Development Manager, Mindy Rosenfelder added, “Each and every one of us has a clear vision of what the team has to do and we work together towards that common goal.”

Mindy went on to relate that every game the LAI Team pushes out is a massive achievement for everyone on the team: Not just workforce-relevant credentials but social values as well.

“Here at LAI Games, it’s ingrained in our team culture to understand the importance of getting things done, making a decision and going ahead with it. Because not making a decision is even worse,” advised Shannon.

In a nutshell, never sit on the fence: Pick on one side or the other.

Bring your ‘A’ Game

Interested in learning more about this fun and rewarding section of the games industry? Curious about the development process behind some of the world’s most innovative arcade games?

You’ve come to the right place. LAI Games is hosting an exclusive event you won’t want to miss!

Join them for an evening of exploration and excitement as they deep-dive into the evolution of arcade games, and what it takes to be successful in the arcade game development industry. Not to mention, they are looking to expand their team!

So, what do you say? Put your game face on and take your career to the next level!