OhHeckYeah to Debut “Immersive Street Arcade” as Startup Week Closes

9/20/13Follow @MichaelXBD

Is there one last startup, one last demo, one last party you should check out before Denver Startup Week wraps up?

OhHeckYeah.

That’s the name of the giant “arts and technology urban intervention” Brian Corrigan, a local “creative strategist,” and local “creative coders” Mode Set and Legwork Studio are planning for next year.

Sound too art-jargony? Another way of saying it is they want to turn the arts district in downtown Denver “into an immersive street arcade” next June and July.

Here’s a clip of a project called KacheOut the group put together last year for Create Denver Week. KacheOut is the prototype for the games OhHeckYeah will create.

KacheOut @ Create Denver Week 2012 from Mode Set on Vimeo.

Corrigan was showing off the KacheOut demo Wednesday at Galvanize’s event at the Denver Beer Company, and the team also gave the New Tech Meetup crowd a preview at the Paramount Theatre. On Friday, OhHeckYeah will launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000 to pay for next year’s project.

There will be an open-to-all launch party in the theater district Friday night to celebrate. It will be at the corner of 14th and Champa streets, which are overlooked by huge video screens. OhHeckYeah will take over the screens at 7 p.m. sharp.

What OhHeckYeah has shown so far looks pretty cool. KacheOut blends elements of Breakout and Pong. But instead of being on an ancient TV set or arcade cabinet, the game was projected on the side of the old building on Platte Street that Galvanize will demolish soon to make way for Galvanize 2.0.

There weren’t any paddle controllers or trackballs, either. The game used Microsoft Kinect motion tracking technology to follow players as they controlled their on-screen player by moving side to side.

It’s just one small part of what OhHeckYeah is trying to cook up for next summer. The vision is to use the theater district’s huge LED screens, projectors, street art, social media, local media, and a website to complete an immersive, interactive experience “that transports players into the video game’s story.”

To keep the game going when players are away from the video boards, Corrigan said OhHeckYeah will have characters who have their own social media accounts. Members of a local improv comedy group will run the accounts.

Corrigan said the entire project will cost about $750,000. Along with what OhHeckYeah hopes to raise on Kickstarter, it has received a $200,000 grant from ArtPlace America and $250,000 worth of in-kind donations. A source for the remaining $200,000 is to be determined.

Corrigan has lots of interesting ideas about urban transformation, creative placemaking, and democratizing art. But the ultimate reason for OhHeckYeah comes down to an idea any entrepreneur who finds the occasional game of table tennis in the office would get.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun, and it’s no coincidence all of the most innovative companies have places to play,” Corrigan said. “Why keep them in the office? Why not put it in the street?”

Corrigan, Mode Set, and Legwork Studios are veterans of Create Denver Week, which for the past two years tried to spur on the community of artists the way Startup Week does for tech.

Organizers decided not to bring back the week-long event, and instead they will have the Create Denver Expo this Saturday at the McNichols Civic Center Building, at 144 W. Colfax Ave. It is being held in conjunction with Denver Startup Week.

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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