Arcade was the only son of an incredibly wealthy man. His father despised him for his childish fixation on toys, resulting in an abusive childhood. Fed up with Arcade's continued self-indulgence, his father cut off his trust fund on his twenty-first birthday. In retaliation, Arcade planted a bomb in his father's car and killed him, setting him on a path of murder and villainy by becoming an assassin, adding to his already vast inheritance. In time he became bored with the methods he used for his craft and decided to come up other ways of killing the people he was hired to kill. Combining two of his favorite past-times, Arcade began designing facilities catered to specific weaknesses and fears of his victims, charging one million dollars as his fee and becoming the most sought after assassin in the world. Naming these creations Murderworld, Arcade hired Miss Locke, a martial arts expert and Mr. Chambers, an engineer, to be his assistants and referred to himself as Arcade from then on.
Arcade is a super-villain character created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, first appearing in Marvel Team-Up vol.1 #65.
Arcade was an incredibly spoiled and selfish child, traits that remained with him throughout his life. The abuse his father inflicted on him created a deep hatred, resulting in Arcade killing his father with no remorse and a taste for murder. A genius with above average understanding of technology, Arcade was mostly self taught and was solely responsible for the creation and outfitting of each Murderworld he created. Deriving an intense enjoyment of viewing his victims suffer, he would remain in his control room and taunt them, considering it sporting of him to give people he abducted a chance -- albeit a tiny one - to escape. Arrogant and conspicuous, he especially enjoyed creating facilities with the look of fun houses and viewing his victims attempts at escaoe. Although he was well known in the Marvel Universe having come into contact with many superheroes, he never succeeded in killing any of them and in turn, he always managed to avoid capture.
Major Story Arcs
Spider-man and Captain Britain
With his own theme and entertaining way of killing people, it wasn't long until Arcade grew bored again. It was when he had a contract on Brian Braddock who was also known as Captain Britain, he found the entertainment that he had craved for so long. Capturing both Captain Britain and Spider-Man and placing them into his Murderworld, they both evaded the deathtraps and ended up escaping. The first people to ever escape Murderworld, Arcade has found the challenge that he wanted by capturing and killing superheroes.
A New Career
With his new goal on attempting to kill heroes of the Marvel Universe, Arcade led a very unsuccessful career. Arcade ended up becoming a primary enemy towards the mutant teams the X-Men, X-Factor, and Excalibur. One time he managed to turn Doctor Doom's castle into a Murderworld and sold it to the mutant known as Toad, it was this that made Doctor Doom capture Arcade after retaking his castle and thanks to the X-men Arcade was forced to apologize to Doctor Doom. Then Arcade decided to change in capturing minor heroes such as Ghost Rider, Alpha Flight member, Puck, and even the Green Goblin (Phil Uric). Still, Arcade never could accomplish the goal of killing a costumed hero within Murderworld. Teaming up with various villains of the Marvel Universe to help him on his goals, still has proven unsuccessful. Even though Arcade's reputation as an assassin is poor, he is still a serious threat towards the heroes of the Marvel Universe.
Many attempts on Arcade's life by Miss Locke on her birthday as agreed between them failed, highlighting his eccentric behavior and mindset. But one day, she came very close into killing him, causing the left side of his whole face to scar. Arcade killed Miss Locke in a furious rage but realized he still needed someone like her so he began creating duplicates of Miss Locke in Robot form. Later, with facial surgery, Arcade regained his original looks with no sign of a scar anywhere on his face.
As Deadpool swiftly became the world's greatest mercenary, Arcade realized he had lost most of his clients and was becoming poor and weak. One day the demon Nightmare approached him with a proposition: The two team up to take down their mutual foes. Nightmare had found a way to use his magical powers to allow Arcade to create his vicious games with a combination of machines and sorcery. Arcade accepted, and it appeared all he had to pay in return was to help Nightmare take down Hercules. However Arcade could have been kept unaware of any additional cost his new-found power would cost him but he went forward with the plan, both deciding to execute their foes in one vicious trap.
Nightmare entered Hercules and Deadpool's dreams and lured them into a large building where Arcade had built his latest Murder-world. Entering a labyrinth with seemingly no escape, the victims encountered terrors from the depths of their hearts. Hercules saw himself facing a legion of every one he had ever killed (including his own sons), while Deadpool faced his many personalities. The villains nearly mentally killed the heroes until Deadpool managed to gain control of himself and show Hercules a way to break out. Nightmare than fizzled away while Arcade was left to face the two heroes. Swiftly defeated, the duo left Arcade tied up for the police. It is unclear what country he was in, but it is likely he got arrested, unless he cut a deal with Norman Osborn, who was in control of thew US super-troops at that time.
It is unlikely Arcade and his machines kept magical powers after the incident (and later still after Nightmare's defeat at the hands of the Initiative), but not impossible. It is also unknown what debts he may still owe to Nightmare.
Arcade recently abducted 16 teenage superheroes, including students from the Avengers Academy and Braddock Academy in addition to lone teenagers like the Runaways, and took the to a new Murder World that he built in the Antarctic. Once there he announced that they would be taking part in a death match, with a single survivor at the conclusion of 30 days. Some of the teenagers then attacked Arcade in an attempt to stop the game before anyone can get hurt. Arcade easily defeats the teens using powers he never before displayed. He then offers to make the first kill of the game and asks the assembled teens, minus Hazmat, who he blasted away from the group, and Mettle, who had gone after her, to pick who they thought was the weakest. Not willing to give up so easily, Hazmat attacked Arcade again, which angered him. He decided to make an example out of her and began killing her. Mettle interrupted him before he could do any permanent damage and offered to take her place. Arcade accepted and killed Mettle before anyone else could react, much to Hazmat's horror.
Red Raven (Dania), afraid for her own safety, took flight and tried to escape Arcade's death trap. Unfortunately, there is a barrier surrounding the island that prevents anyone from leaving and Dania flies into it, breaking her neck and dying. Arcade then apologizes for not mentioning the barrier and allows the game to continue.
After an unspecified amount of time, following Reptil's attack at the hands of the night attacker, Arcade decides to change up the game by artificially manipulating the environment of Murder World. He begins causing avalanches, earthquakes, and floods in order to drive the teens to one of 4 safe zones. At one of these safe zones he has placed a supply crate, loaded with food, medicine, and weapons, and watches as the combatants make there way towards it.
When the Braddock alliance, comprised of Academy students Anachronism, Apex, Bloodstone, Kid Briton, and Nara and outsider Death Locket, become separated, due to the machinations of Apex, Arcade intervenes. He teleports Aiden, Cullen, and Nara to the supply crate just before Brian, Katy and Rebecca arrive and a fight breaks out between Nara and Katy, who was responsible for split to begin with. The fight quickly escalated, with Brian stepping in to help his girlfriend Katy, despite his affair with Nara. Brian attacked Nara with his sword and was about to kill her before Aiden intervened on her behalf. Aiden decapitated Brian, marking the first real kill of the game and stripping Katy of her protection. Arcade watched these events unfold, drinking wine and smiling.
A flashback that reveals how Murder World came to be and how Arcade got his new powers shows that Arcade celebrating a birthday party. During the evening he ejects Constrictor from the party for attacking him, and overhears the other villains making fun of him behind his back. His newest assistant, Miss Coriander, then attempts to kill him with a flamethrower, as per his instructions, and Arcade is hospitalized. While there, Arcade resolves to give up villainy and goes to a bar of his in Bagalia to drown his sorrows. An attack and attempted robbery by Constrictor, which left the latter in tremendous pain from a giant hammer, convinced Arcade to get back into the game. He enlists Miss Coriander in helping him build the latest Murder World, using a variety of technology including hard light and force fields. She also develops a suit for him that gives him enough raw power to go toe to toe with Thor, but only within Murder World itself. Arcade then tries to kill her for getting to close to him, but she outsmarts him and teleports away, using a teleporter which she set up to steal the kids.
Back in Murder World, it is revealed that Katy has been playing the game all along, and was responsible for the night attacks. The teens capture her and tie up her twin brother Tim, with whom she shares a body. Sadly, she escapes, using her technopathy on Death Locket, and kills Juston Seyfert, taking his Sentinel Mark IV for her own. He watches as she kills Nico Minoru with her close friend Chase Stein, now in possession of the Darkhawk Amulet. Luckily, Nico was able to cast a spell that resurrected herself prior to death and she immediately tracked down Apex.
As the two fought a pitched back-and-forth battle, Arcade eats popcorn and discusses the effects of Nico's resurrection spell on her mind with a robotic companion, whom he named after his late companion Miss Locke. After Nico defeats and buries both Apex and Death Locket with a spell, the two wind up outside of a morgue where Arcade has been keeping the bodies of the fallen teens, including Darkhawk who had vanished on Day 8 and hadn't been seen since.
With 25 days having passed, the disappearance of some of the teens was being felt, mainly by Molly Hayes of the close-knit Runaways, who then alerted Hank Pym during one of their check-ins. When he realized that the disappearance of some of his students coincided with that of Nico and Chase, Hank began to investigate. Arcade, monitoring for this exact problem, was forced to use his trump card to dissuade Hank from digging any further: a robot wearing Mettle's skin. This, along with some coaching from Tigra, convinced Hank that the missing kids weren't actually missing, and he dropped his investigation.
In order to mess with the surviving teens and splinter the alliance they had formed, Arcade began manipulating the environment again, albeit, in subtler ways such as shifting the position of the artificial sun. He also drew Hazmat and X-23 away from the group with the Mettle robot. When the two caught up with it, it doused Hazmat in Trigger Scent, which sent Laura into a frenzy. Cullen, Aiden, Nara, and former Drax the Destroyer sidekick, Cammi, were also doused in trigger scent and Laura attacked them, nearly killing Aiden and Nara. To stop them from dying, Cullen unleashed his monster half, a mystical parasite called a Glartrox which was only kept under control by his Bloodstone Ring. He thwarted Laura's assault, and the teens were able to supress the Glartrox with the ring, but not before it killed Nara.
With her death, Aiden began attacking his best friend and was only stopped from killing him because of Cammi's intervention. As things begin to fall apart for the kids, Arcade has to deal with some problems of his own. Death Locket and Apex survived their battle with Nico, and had been hiding in the vents in Arcade's secret bunker below Murder World. The trio hatch a plan to stop the game and escape, but first they need to get Arcade away from the main console. Death Locket releases some of his animals in order to distract him, but this doesn't work. Rebecca then smashes the glass on Kid Briton's pod and kills the robot which comes to investigate. The blast sends her flying across the room and into the tank holding Chris Powell, who awakens. This causes her to scream which finally draws him away from the console.
Apex then drops down and starts hacking his console. Unfortunately, it requires voice and fingerprint verification in order to make out going calls, and Arcade catches them. He congratulates them on surviving for so long and lets them watch as X-23 is about to kill Hazmat. At that same moment, Arcade is hit in the back of the head with a metal pipe by Chris Powell, who was revealed to have never been killed, only de-powered when his amulet was taken. Chris then demands that Arcade stop the game, but stops when he begins throwing up fluid from the tank he was held in. During the distraction, Arcade manages to teleport away to safety, leaving Katy as the only one who can shut down Murder World.
After Rebecca takes Chris out of the main control room, Arcade calls Katy and convinces her to let the game play out by offering her control of Murder World and the chance to survive it. When Tim protests this, Katy squelches him and retakes control of their shared body. Arcade offers to edit the footage of Murder World to make her the 'star' of the ordeal and remove any trace of her murders of Nico and Juston. Katy accepts and uses Death Locket to shoot Chris, thereby preventing him from stopping her.
One week after Death Locket killed Apex, with Tim in control, and stopped the events of Murder World, Arcade was seen in a bathrobe popping open a bottle of champagne in an undisclosed safe house as he uploaded the footage of what happened in Murder World to the internet.
After the world finds out exactly what he did, Arcade flees to Bagalia and Baron Helmut Zemo's Masters of Evil for protection from the superheroes and repercussions of his actions. Some of all the survivors, including Anachronism, Bloodstone, Cammi, Death Locket and Hazmat, decide to hunt down Arcade and join the Masters in order to find him.
Powers and Abilities
Self-taught and formally trained, Arcade is an expert in robotics, electronics, engineering, and technology based fields. Proficient in the use of alien Shi'ar technology, Arcade is also an expert computer hacker which assists him in creating environments matched to the fears of his victims. Although capable of hand to hand combat, Arcade makes it a point to avoid physical altercations.
Arcade does not have any extraordinary physical abilities or powers beyond that of an average man. However, when Nightmare teamed up with Arcade, a residue of the demon's fear-creating powers and magic may have remained. Arcade's ability to create Murderworlds tailored to his victims vulnerabilities were what made him most formidable, the environments designed for the express purpose of killing it's inhabitant (s). They can range in size considerably, from the size of a semi-truck to the size of an island and through the use of Shi'ar technology, Arcade was also able to place his victims within video game like worlds.
Arcade utilizes personal weapons and various modes of transportation to defend himself and to capture his victims. His intense need for entertainment has put him in many life threatening situations, making him lose focus and careless.
Weight: 140 lbs.
Earth-295: Age of Apocalypse
In this alternate reality, Arcade was a member of the Marauders (Human terrorists enhanced by Apocalypse), along with teammates Dirigible (Kingpin), Owl, and Red (Norman Osborn). The four villains were sent by Apocalypse to destroy the land of Wakanda. Though he was able to murder Black Panther and destroy much of the land, Arcade's life was cut short by Hawkeye and Iron Man, who piloted a large ship, in the shape of a spider, right on top of the villain. He was equipped with wrist weapons and "air-steppers", boot attachments that allowed him near-flight.
Ultimate Arcade is a stronger, fitter version who is a gaming prodigy. He made the game 'Murder World' which is the very first "first person shooter". Since his sister was killed by an explosion that Magneto triggered, Arcade developed a hatred towards mutants. He joined a reality TV show in which hunters hunt criminal mutants. When he is sent to kill Longshot, he runs into the X-Men. He subdues and almost kills Nightcrawler, when Longshot stopped him. He was last seen getting tied to a tree by Colossus.
This reality has Arcade owning a real amusement park for children, taking on the likes of Mister Fantastic and student Flash Thompson. Spider-Man arrives to save his friend however and Arcade's plans are foiled.
Age of X
Arcade was depicted in this universe as commander of the mutant prison and ended up responsible for the death of Havok at the hands of his brother Basilisk (Cyclops). Basilisk managed to escape incarceration and killed Arcade.
- In X-Men: Evolution, Arcade is a teenage gamer named Webber Torque who stumbled across the controls for the X-Men's Danger Room during a party at the Xavier Institute. Believing it all to be an elaborate video game with the costumed X-Men as characters, Arcade nearly destroyed the students until Rogue was able to knock him out. Arcade wound up leaving the Institute, never to know the truth of what had happened that night.
- Arcade appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Game Over," voiced by Eric Bauza. In the cartoon, Arcade is an Asian teenager who possesses the ability to communicate with and control machines and computers. He hijacks S.H.I.E.L.D.'s missile system in order to start a global war, but is stopped by Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine.
Arcade appears in the following video games:
- In Marvel Ultimate Alliance he was the boss in the Murderworld levels, even providing an achievement for defeating him.
- X-Men: Madness in Murderworld
- Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade's revenge
- Spider-Man: Edge of Time