Here at PopLurker, we think video games are pretty cool. And when a tiny twelve inch Centipede arcade machine showed up on top of my Megazord glass case, I immediately fell in love. I recalled the Kickstarter that successfully allowed New Wave Toys to create high quality RepliCade machines, but when I saw the little beauty in person, I knew I needed more.
So, I reached out to New Wave Toys and asked the man behind it all, Shilo Prychak, for an interview. And he said yes, which was especially exciting because we got to be the first interview published since the actual release of the Centipede RepliCade!
Hi Shilo Prychak and everyone at New Wave Toys! Thank you so much for taking the time to give PopLurker this interview. We’re super excited to get to pick your mind. RepliCade machine enthusiasm power over here!
Prychak: Thank you!
Your Centipede machine has officially been released! I have one on my shelf- congratulations! It’s absolutely stunning.
Prychak: Really nice to hear you dig it, and thanks for your support. We make these machines with a goal of putting a smile on your face especially if you’re having a crappy day at work.
How did the New Wave Toys team feel when you set that machine out into the wild? Was it a relief, closer to fear, or something else entirely?
Prychak: We had lots of challenges to overcome with this project. It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Everything from countless revisions and factory let-downs, to a two-week delay with Long Beach customs to cap it off. Unloading the container and finally being able to ship product to our community was probably the best day of my life.
Let’s go back to that Kickstarter. It was probably an amazing moment when the gaming community shared and supported your vision.
Prychak: It’s beyond amazing how many of our backers are from the gaming industry. We know this not only because they tell in messages on Kickstarter and Facebook, but also because we meet them all the time at conventions and around LA. In fact, the day we unloaded the Centipede container we ran into the crew from Starbreeze Studios at the Outback Steakhouse in Chatsworth, California. They recognized us from our videos and turns out they’re big supporters and fans.
What were the steps leading up to making the decision to crowd fund? Were you looking for investors first? Had you secured the game licenses yet? Was crowdfunding the plan from the start? We’d love to know a little more background abut that part of the process.
Prychak: The first step was to quit my job of over 13 years to chase a lifelong dream of starting a company dedicated to making the products I wish I had growing up.
It took 6 months to vet, concept, spec and build prototypes, secure license and create the collateral for the Kickstarter campaign. I used every penny I had to get to this point so crowdfunding was really the only option at that time.
Thankfully I had help from my friends that have now become co-founders of the company.
I’d like to discuss the minds behind New Wave Toys and what some of your business, personal, and/or gaming backgrounds are. How did you all come together and what did each of you bring to New Wave Toys?
Prychak: I’m most thankful for my partners that have come on board because we would not be here today without them. Starting with Peter who came on first and has helped with everything from writing the business plan, to creating our videos and pretty much everything in between. Dre joined us next and brought a ton of technical, logistical and sourcing knowledge. And of course our boy, AAAron, who’s been a tremendous help with social media to customer service and product development.
We are all different ages, but we have a few things in common: we all come from different aspects of the video game industry. We all worked for the same company previously, we all love video games (old and new) and collectibles. We all share a passion to deliver the absolute best product experience possible.
In a perfect world, what game would you completely freak out on seeing inside one of your machines? Licensing and rights aside, what would be your holy grail of mini RepliCade machines?
Prychak: A fully functional hydraulic After Burner would be rad!
Where do you want New Wave Toys to go in the not too distant future?
Prychak: We have a lot of projects in the pipeline, but they all take a lot of time and effort to develop. We take the time to let ideas percolate and mature, but definitely stay tuned! We will be announcing new RepliCade cabinets shortly, with new product line announcements coming in 2019.
Do you have any plans to set up machines in a convention gaming room or anything?
Prychak: We will be at Indiecade this month in Los Angeles, and we expect to be back at E3 in 2019 as well. There may be others, but we have yet to set our show calendar beyond that.
Have you received any strange emails or messages from the gaming community as a result of your machines coming out? Any fan stories, good or bad, to share with us?
Prychak: We are getting a ton of folks from our community posting amazing pictures posing their 12-inch action figures with their RepliCade. We’re looking forward to see how creative things get once they build out a larger collection of our cabinets. We are definitely going to create a club or a place for people to share these amazing photos.
On PopLurker, we like to talk about fandoms. Moving away from the arcade machines for a moment, what are some things you guys are big fans of over at New Wave Toys? Is anyone into a show/book series/franchise/hobby that no one would ever expect?
Prychak: We’re all into a bunch of different things. I love my dog, and collecting vintage BMX cruisers, hardcore punk and metal vinyl. Dre’s into surfing, skating, chilling and being the world’s greatest dad. Peter loves all things DIY: painting, building, photography, cooking, and his lazy white dog, Bailey. AAAron’s into tech, all things millennial pop culture, and knows everything about every sport ever.
I’m very excited for the Street Fighter II machine to come out. Are Capcom licenses any different or more difficult to secure than Atari?
Prychak: The process is pretty similar between the different licensors. It helps that our team has a long history in licensing, so we know most of the players, and we understand how to work with them. That goes a long way.
How does the actual handling of a fighting game on a tiny machine differ from the Centipede experience?
Prychak: We’ve been working on SFII/CE for about 12 months. I’d say the controller configuration and hardware is the main difference. We developed a custom mini joystick and it uses mini micro switch buttons to get that authentic clicky feel. Street Fighter needs to be an enjoyable two-player experience, so we added a second mini fight stick that plugs into the back of the cabinet for two player games. Other notable changes include stereo sound (Centipede has amplified mono), additional dip switch settings, and of course all the details of the factory Dynamo cabinet. Plus, some other goodies you’ll have to wait to see.
Where can we find you across the internet and social media?
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