Arcade game with collectible cards

Imagine you’re visiting an event for computer enthusiasts (e.g. the Chaos Communication Congress) and find a computer with a gamepad like in the amusement arcades. Before starting you’re first round, you get a collectible card with a character. The character can be levelled up and reused the next time you play. The reward for winning a round can be another collectible card.

Before playing the next time, you place the character cards you wish to use on a table. Their unique QR code gets scanned by a camera to load them into the game.


My visit to Japan and playing KanColle Arcade inspired me to start my own game with collectible cards.

The creative input devices of arcade machines are cool and make each game series unique. KanColle Arcade has a steering wheel, a fire button, a 6-step speed gauge and a touch display.

I also liked the fact that you have to actively go to a game to play it. There’s no way to continue playing at home which makes each visit a bit special. If that’s not enough, you get to take the collectible cards to take home to serve as a reminder or to trade with others.


The cards you wish to use get placed in a slot on the left side of the machine. On the right side the machine, new cards get ejected. The machine has a high-quality printer built-in.


Each card costs around €0.65 which is equal to a round of playing the game for about 25 minutes. The cards have a common format, and you can put them into regular protective covers.

One thing I want to change is that all cards of one character are the same for KanColle. I would find it more exciting if a character’s progress was associated with an individual collectible card instead of saving the progress on a separate Aime card that belongs to the player.

Test with QR codes


I printed out some QR codes to experiment with the concept. For events like Congress I would buy a good, external webcam to scan the table from above for reliable scans.

Currently, I’m using UUIDs and only upper-case letters because encoded it results in small QR codes of a predictable size.


Web browsers are implementing BarcodeDetector, however, it’s not available on Linux Desktop yet. In my test, a WASM-based polyfill runs well at 20 scans per second. The individual scans are quite flaky which can be improved with a stationary camera, good lighting and a cache that remembers successful scans for a few seconds.

For events, I imagine my game to be free or very cheap (for the arcade feeling).

However, depending on the printing costs of the collectible cards, I may ask for some money. A cheap option would be to print business cards, but the format of collectible cards with high-quality prints sounds like a much nicer experience.

Cycling game idea

As for the game, I’m considering to make it about cycling or bike races. The cover image of cards could be fictional cyclists and / or bicycles - maybe even components like wheels.


The player “cycles” with a gamepad’s analog shoulder triggers. If left and right are pressed at the same time, it counts as a misstep and blocks new inputs for a short while. Additionally, quick time events may occur to challenge the player.

I’m still experimenting with inclines, varying road surfaces and gears.

Geographically, the game might be placed in Taiwan. Photos of popular bike paths could appear in the background like a picture book.

The gameplay should feel snappy and resemble arcade games whenever feasible, instead of being an accurate racing simulation. To support this theme, I’m imagining it as a 2D side scroller using pixel art. It may use vector graphics and transform them to pixel art on the fly to render GPX tracks or inclines properly.