JunkFood Custom Arcades has solidified itself as one of the most sturdy and aesthetically appealing custom fighting game accessories on the planet. They have an incredible design that is not only fashionable but is also minimal and accessible. They have succeeded in creating a strong product that gets the job done and is built to last - swapping plastic for what seems like luxurious wood finish. Check out our conversation, where I discover what inspires their process and the work they do.
Him - Hey, how’s it going?
JunkFood - It's going great! Glad I took some time to do this with you.
Him - Your work is pretty incredible, is it a team or a solo show?
JunkFood - We are a family business, it involves the whole family. I handle the carving and mechanical design. My wife handles the customization designs/staining/creative work. My son handles the wiring and assembly, and my daughter handles some of the social media and back-office work. All of our products are built in our garage and sourced locally here in Georgia.
Him - Can you tell us about the story behind the name Junk Food Customs?
JunkFood - We wanted a name that inspired a certain vibe, something indulgent, a little frivolous but a little fun. Junk Food is something everyone wants to treat themselves with.
Him - I love the minimal and sleek design of your controllers, what inspired the design direction?
JunkFood - I spent a LOT of time trying to avoid the square corner “box” shape. I knew we wanted a truly sturdy product and a premium feel with real hardwood and leather incorporated – as an upscale car would have. What we came up with was possible because of the multifunction sides. There's a leather-wrapped multifunction “spine” of the case and a half-inch thick solid hardwood top and bottom.
Him - Why choose wood as the material for some of your premium products?
JunkFood - FGC players are marathon players. The vast majority of them are using their controllers for hours a day. Popular fight sticks offer a plastic feel and an unpleasant sound. We knew we could do better. Our sticks really do play and sound different since the wood absorbs the vibrations.
Sourcing wood is done by visiting the local lumber yards, picking out what they have, and getting just what we want to build on. We then begin the process of planning, carving, staining, finishing, and curing the builds.
While we offer competitive pricing on our wood sticks, we knew there were people who wanted a solid smash-proof build for less. So recently, we have added the “Snack Box” built from half-inch thick HDPE in a variety of colors.
The Snack Box is a fully modular case where you can swap tops from all buttons, to stick, to keycap, and more. In fact, you can swap any part and add plexiglass and artwork to the top.
Him - How accepting has the FGC been of JunkFood and Snack Box?
JunkFood - These have sold extremely well, and we are adding more features and configurations each week. Keycap versions are coming soon with a full keycap only version we call the “Kenji”. We are also working to bring new colors and artist partnerships to the Snack Box platform.
Him - What are the greatest rewards and accomplishments you got from your work?
JunkFood - Seeing people show up to locals for the first time and ask an existing owner, “where did you get that?” was great! Supporting locals across the country has been great, as well!
Him - So dope... What about the biggest challenges?
JunkFood - Our biggest challenge has been getting the word out. The vast amount of stick buyers don’t even know we exist, so we want to find ways to connect with them at events and online. We want them to consider buying from “the little guy” with the cool products.
Him - Advice for others looking to get started?
JunkFood - Just get started. We began by making Arcade cabinets, then moved to making fight stick cases for friends. Eventually, we shared some products at events, and things kept growing from there. Set a goal and work to achieve it and then set further goals and keep going. You will be surprised at what you can accomplish.