Digital scholarship blog

04 September 2015

What makes the Crowdsourcing Arcade Machine tick?

2015-09-02 16.31.43

Can crowdsourcing be done in public? I've spent a few days building a large arcade-style cabinet that is tough and rugged and that the general public can interact with. There is no external keyboard or mouse to this, but you can think of it as a normal computer.

The joystick and two buttons are a constraint, intended to encourage more casual applications and use. Can a machine that looks like it has come from the 1980s, help with crowdsourcing applications? Are there any games that can both run with these constraints AND provide data about cultural collections?

To start this conversation properly, we have just launched a Game Jam: This is open to anyone who wants to write something that fits with this machine. We are interested in prototypes, full functioning games or even just ideas of what might make for a fun game. The only key point is that there is some aspect to the game which might tell us something interesting and new about our collections. 


  • Raspberry Pi 2 - Quad core 700MHz by default, but can be overclocked if necessary.
    • Running Raspian by default, but will run whatever flavour of OS needed for a game.
  • 4:3 LCD screen, up to 1280x1024 screen resolution.
  • It should have a wifi connection in most locations (however, as you might expect with wifi, it may not work all the time!)
  • Illuminated marquee
  • Stereo sound (Speakers above the screen)
  • Joystick - movement is mapped to the up,down, left, and right cursor keys
  • Two input buttons - also mapped to key presses, Left Ctrl and Left Alt by default, but can be changed if necessary.
  • Up to two auxiliary buttons - on the front of the cabinet, also mapped to key presses.

2015-09-02 16.33.19

From top to bottom: Raspberry Pi 2, Amplifier and Power source (5v and 12v)

2015-09-02 16.33.34

The underside of the control panel and the bottom of the mounted LCD. Uses standard arcade controls (Happ brand in this case) and an I-PAC2 to map these onto keyboard presses for convenience. 


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