Adam Carroll and Owen Tingle grew up in the good ol' days — you know, back when kids shelled out stacks of quarters to play their video games in the dark, cozy depths of an arcade.
The North Carolina duo is all grown up now and, not surprisingly, one of their favorite pastimes is a bit more grown up too — drinking beer. But in what can only be described as a flash of genius, they have come up with a way to combine their childhood love of arcade gaming with their adult love of a good micro brew.
Meet the "The Last Barfighter" — an arcade fighting game that dispenses samples of beer to the winner.
Carroll and Tingle work at ad agency McKinney and were taking part in the company's Ten Percent program — an incubator that encourages employees to take ten percent of their time to work on personal creative/technology-related ideas.
The two got talking about their love of old-school arcade games and about finding a way to give them new life when they struck upon the idea of a beer-dispensing arcade machine — or a "beercade" if you will.
"Gaming is very social, but these days its all very digital and online and separated, and it doesn't have the face-to-face competition that it used to," Carroll old NBC News. "We miss going to the arcade and putting down a stack of quarters."
They approached the folks at Raleigh-based brewery Big Boss Brewing Company with the idea and so began work on what they call "the world's first beer-dispensing arcade game."
The familiar arcade cabinet has had its coin slots replaced by drip trays, cupholders and motion sensors to detect cups in place of quarters. Meanwhile, "The Last Barfighter" game was made to be reminiscent of fighting games like "Mortal Kombat" and "Street Fighter" — favorites of Carroll and Tingle.
Thirsty players choose from five characters, each of which represent the five main Big Boss brews. There's Hell’s Belle, Bad Penny, Angry Angel, Blanco Diablo and High Roller — characters who not only have standard punches and kicks, but also their own signature moves such as fire throwing and unicorn-horn-impaling.
Players duke it out in three rounds, with the beercade automatically dispensing the winner a sample of brew.
"What we really liked the most is that we could figure out a way to capitalize on this for a local microbrewery," Tingle says, explaining that he hopes the machine will help Big Boss stand out in the ever-growing crowd of breweries.
Alas, there is only one "The Last Barfighter" machine at the moment, and while Big Boss has it on display in their Taproom, they primarily plan to fire it up at beer festivals and other special events. But Carroll and Tingle say they are looking at ways to expand on the idea.
While you wait for the beercade to appear at your local watering hole, check out this tempting trailer introducing "The Last Barfighter."
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.