ALL EYES ON THIS TRAVELING ARCADE: 7 Questions with PSYCHIC DRIVE
Psychic Drive is reviving American Arcade Culture.
I’ve recently had the great pleasure to catch up with the very busy Dave of Psychic Drive. Psychic Drive is easily one of my favorite arcade-related brands in the world. It’s a traveling arcade collective that brings the best Japanese cabinets to some gaming enthusiasts that may have only seen them in photos. PD has some of the best merch in the game, including skateboard decks— and their attention to detail matches their passion for arcade culture. Psychic Drive is one of the most important players in today’s FGC and arcade landscape.
Check out our conversation with Dave in “7 Question” below:
AP: Hey Dave, how’s it going?
DAVE of PSYCHIC DRIVE: It’s going well, I’ve never been busier but that’s a good problem to have!
AP: Can you introduce Psychic Drive to our audience? What is it?
Psychic Drive started as a traveling arcade, but it is also so much more. Our primary function is to share genuine arcade hardware with as many people as possible. Right now we are focused on the Japanese style of cabinets that are not commonly seen in America. We pack up our collection and install it for the weekend at various conventions in the Midwest (and beyond). New last year there is a location in Detroit, MI (Replay Cafe) where people can play these games between events! From the beginning we wanted to incorporate art in some shape or form, we have worked with some amazing artists to create unique arcade-related items so far.
With our traveling arcade and original artworks, we spread righteous play wherever we go. We are based in Michigan but there is no limit to how far we are willing to travel…
AP: Where did the inspiration for the name Psychic Drive come from?
I’m not going to comment much on this, it was the product of brainstorming that took place on a long road trip with the logo designer (@azaxxii) to pick up an arcade machine. I will say that we wanted a name that stood out and looking at names of other arcades they can blur together due to using the same terminology.
AP: How did you get into this line of work? in short, What your Arcade origin story?
Psychic Drive would not exist if I didn’t have a SEGA Dreamcast in 1999 and there were several moments after that which were important. I’ve always been interested in arcade machines but I didn’t connect them with events until MAGFest 2016. I volunteered to help the arcade department and fell in love with the event. After volunteering to staff at several more events that year I knew I wanted to keep doing arcade work and that meant growing my collection. I wouldn’t have been able to learn arcade repair without friends and forum searches.
AP: What does Psychic Drive offer to the gaming industry that might be lacking?
With the focus on Japanese imported cabinets, we are providing a different style of gaming. For example, people that play at Replay Cafe— it is often their first time seeing a Blast City or Chunithm. We’ve always supported the indie arcade scene as well - we’ll be adding games like StepManiaX to our lineup this year. We have also made several PCB adapters that others now have installed in their arcade machines. There’s more we can do in the future but I won’t comment on that as these things take time.
AP: We noticed the Psychic brand is into skate culture, how did that intersection come about?
Many members of Psychic Drive grew up interested in skateboarding and punk music. Playing Crazy Taxi, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and Jet Grind Radio on the Dreamcast was formative for me. SEGA games such as Top Skater and Ollie King already intersected arcade and skate culture with their unique controllers. We’ve always seen skateboard decks as art pieces so it seemed like a natural fit to design some decks and grip tape.
AP: How can people support the PD project?
Events are what allow the project to grow as they fund additions to the arcade lineup and other projects. The best way people can support Psychic Drive is by filling out feedback at their local event that they would like an arcade next year. Send them our information. Sharing our posts on Instagram and Twitter is helpful as well as we are constantly working on new projects.
Psychic Drive is an arcade company focused on making authentic arcade hardware available for people to enjoy. Most of our machines are Japanese, with a focus on niche and unique games. Based in Detroit, Michigan we have been traveling the country making events special with our collection for years!