The year is 1980-something. Terminator is smashing the box office. Or maybe it’s Aliens. Die Hard? Anyway that’s not important. What is important is you’re a disillusioned teenager and the arcade is your only outlet. This is the fantasy Swedish developers Hi-Bit Studios want to bring to life in video game form with 198X.

198X promises to provide an 80’s arcade experience, offering a variety of different games inspired by arcade titles of the decade, while also featuring the narrative of our teenage protagonist dealing with life and trying to find relevance in the arcade.

As previously mentioned 198X will feature five sub-games all inspired by classic arcade games: The Beat ’em Up, The Shoot ’em Up, The Racing Game, The Ninja Game and The RPG. Personally, I don’t really recall playing an RPG in the arcade, but whatever. I also get a strong Genesis vibe from some of these games, being reminded of such titles as Streets of Rage, Outrun and Shinobi. Hi-Bit Studios claims each game will be well fleshed out with multiple levels and gameplay on par with their inspirations. Exactly how they work alongside the more story driven elements is not made clear.

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Hi-Bit Studio is a team based in Stockholm, Sweden with contributors from all around the world brought together by their love of classic gaming and pixel art. 198X might be the studio’s first project but many of its members have experience working on other games both indie and otherwise, although the Kickstarter page does not list the names of these titles. Other members have worked extensively covering and preserving gaming culture, including books, magazines, and even the Stockholm Museum Of Video Games, a museum dedicated to immortalizing the history of gaming. Furthermore the art team is made up of accomplished pixel artists. You can sample some of their work on the following pages:

Alexis ”Mr HK” Morille

Catherine ”Einzbern” Menabde

Paul ”Doomcube” Conway

The reward tiers are as follows:

  • The Game ($19) – A digital copy on your choice of platform.
  • Mega Pack ($24) – A digital copy plus additional digital content such as the soundtrack and artbook as well as your name in the credits.
  • Super Pack ($34) – All previous rewards as well a poster and badge.
  • Ultra Pack ($59) –  All previous rewards and a T-shirt.
  • Vinyl Pack ($94) – All previous rewards and a limited edition 12″ vinyl record of the games soundtrack. It should be noted that this tier is limited to 100 backers only.

Finally there is one last tier available. That being the $5,111 Arcade Version tier! This of course includes all previous tiers, including the Vinyl Pack, and also includes a custom built arcade cabinet with the game pre-installed. This too is limited but only to 3 backers! Currently there are still 2 spots open as of writing this article so if you have some expendable income, and you want to play 198X on an actual arcade cabinet, here’s your chance.

Hi-Bit Studios is looking at a March 2019 release for 198X and will be released on all current platforms including PlayStation 4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch and of course PC. They have already designed several Unity based engines and are have begun designing stages and other gameplay elements. They hope to generate at least $56,816 and have so far brought in $33,115 with 26 days remaining the campaign. Of course that means nothing if they don’t reach their goal, so if you think this looks cool consider backing the Kickstarter.

Aaron Evangelisti
Aaron is a lifelong video games enthusiast who's been playing since the days of the NES. He enjoys just about all types of games from RPGs, to platformers, to strategy. He also fancies himself a bit of a writer so writing about video games makes sense, right?