Equipped with an amoral attitude, technological genius, and a killer instinct, Arcade is a crazed gamesman with a colorful career creating death-themed carnivals of carnage.
The son of one of the world’s wealthier men, Arcade is raised without a mother and apparently no siblings, and has a solitary and self-centered childhood. Arcade’s father disapproves of the young boy’s playing with toys, and becomes highly abusive to his son. On his 21st birthday, Arcade’s father cuts off his trust fund and insists that he get a job; Arcade responds by planting a bomb in his father’s car, killing him.
Inheritance in hand, Arcade discovers he has a gift for killing and becomes a paid assassin, but finds the work boring. Seeking to make killing more entertaining, he begins using toys and technological gadgets, eventually designing his own Murderworld—a death-dealing amusement park located beneath the North Beach Landfill Project in New York City. Arcade conceals the project with various holographic disguises and neither the neighborhood nor even the laborers are aware of the nature and location of the construction.
A Whole Bag of Tricks
A technological genius, Arcade can design and adapt most physical technologies to serve his ends. He owns multiple internationally located Murderworlds—giant parks filled with physical and holographic deathtraps, complex robots, and vast control and communications systems. The smallest Murderworlds have been semi-truck sized and the largest is Murderland, but permanent Murderworlds exist in New York City, San Francisco, London, and Paris, among other places; Donyell Taylor, AKA Night Thrasher’s New Warriors have occupied a New York Murderworld. Each Murderworld is disguised and hidden both physically and with the latest in holographic distractions; police led directly to a Murderworld’s known location have been unable to detect them. Arguably the world’s most creative assassin, Arcade also trains anyone willing to risk death in his facilities, and avidly seeks to acquire new technology by means both foul and fair.
Arcade’s known technology includes headset-sized virtual reality devices, Shi’ar holographic “Danger Room” systems, transmutational devices capable of transforming living beings into computer programs (and back), sophisticated robots capable of duplicating the appearance, sound, and smell of those they’re modeled on, and his own stylized 747 jet.
Arcade possesses myriad weapons and drugs capable of killing or incapacitating instantly, but he rarely uses these save to set up more interesting deathtraps. Notable among these are garbage trucks, which engulf their victims and instantly drug them unconscious, and Arcade’s boutonnière, his personal weapon of last resort, which projects an instant-unconsciousness gas.
He has tapped large portions of Earth’s secure (and public) information networks, and has access to large quantities of privileged information which he generally uses to create psychologically disturbing death scenarios tailored to individuals’ personal histories.
Arcade employs any number of henchmen, but only two generally see the inner workings of Murderworld: Mr. Chambers, a Scots electrician/engineer, and Miss Locke, a martial arts expert, master of disguise, and Arcade’s second. Each is capable of running Murderworld in Arcade’s absence. Since Miss Locke’s death, she has been replaced by a robotic duplicate.
Home Court Advantage
By the time Murderworld opens, Arcade acquires two trusted associates: Asian martial arts expert Miss Locke, and Scottish engineer Mr. Chambers. Arcade soon gives the likeminded Locke a birthday gift, which she accepts—once a year she can attempt to assassinate him, and if she succeeds, all his resources would be hers. Arcade also makes annual attempts on certain other people’s lives, such as the mutant mercenary Neena Thurman, AKA Domino.
As an assassin-for-hire, Arcade works for Super Villains, such as Tom Cassidy, AKA Black Tom, and Cain Marko, AKA Juggernaut, who hire him to kill the X-Men. Though he fails, he keeps trying and targets other teams as well, such as X-Factor and Excalibur.
Fun and Games
Arcade again grew bored when Murderworld proved too powerful for his victims, but that changed when the European Maggia hired him to kill Brian Braddock, one of several men they suspected to be Captain Britain. Locating Captain Britain himself, Arcade employed a specially prepared garbage truck to capture him and accidentally pulled in Peter-Parker, AKA Spider-Man, as well. Taken to Murderworld, the pair eventually escaped when Spider-Man broke into the behind-the-scenes access panels and disrupted the equipment, but Arcade had more fun with the game than he’d had in ages.
He began rebuilding for a rematch, and put the word out that he wanted to take on superhumans; he was rewarded when Black Tom Cassidy and the Juggernaut hired him to kill the X-Men. The X-Men ultimately beat all his available traps, and Arcade ejected them from his park, vowing to try again later. One of Arcade’s more notable missteps came when he sold equipment to Mortimer Toynbee, AKA the Toad, who wished to create his own “Murderworld” in an upstate New York castle. Benjamin Grimm, AKA The Thing, and Warren Worthington III, AKA Angel, intervened, and Angel took pity on the Toad and paid off his debt (unaware he was paying Arcade) in exchange for Toad’s converting the castle into a mainstream amusement park, Toadworld. Unfortunately, the castle belonged to Victor von Doom, AAK Doctor Doom, who evicted the Toad and sought revenge on Arcade. Arcade convinced Doom not to kill him, while Miss Locke kidnapped the X-Men’s friends and forced the team to rescue Arcade. Half of the X-Men rescued the hostages, but the other X-Men were captured by Doom before freeing themselves; they forced Arcade to apologize to Doom (actually a Doombot) to resolve the situation.
Returning to Murderworld, Arcade began using the facility to train assassins and villains who wanted to test themselves against robotic and holographic facsimiles of various heroes. Arcade did this for the fun of the game and a reasonable fee, with the codicil that one of the robotic opponents would be programmed not to stun but to kill the trainee. Among the trainees were Slaymaster and Raven Darkholme, AKA Mystique, and her Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. At some point, presumably after his initial interaction with the X-Men, Arcade hacked into the X-Men’s systems and copied their Shi’ar “Danger Room” technology, incorporating it into his systems. He also acquired other alien technology from unrevealed sources, including equipment capable of transforming living beings into electronic energy (and back), allowing him to place them into computer games; he briefly used this against the Micronauts. Arcade repeatedly pulled the X-Men (or their successor teams, X-Factor and Excalibur) into his Murderworlds, once recruiting Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin, AKA Colossus, to defend him against Miss Locke on one of their annual murderdays, but the games lost some of their enjoyability when Excalibur captured Arcade (Kitty Pryde having reprogrammed Murderworld and pulled Arcade into it with them), sending him to Britain’s Darkmoor Prison, his first time in jail.
Miss Locke and Mr. Chambers used robotic duplicates to keep Murderworld going and helped Arcade acquire Shi’ar virtual reality devices, which he tested on Spider-Man and Captain Britain; the pair soon beat the devices. Locke and Chambers used Arcade’s holographic technology to manipulate the evidence against him, and when he finally came to trial, the prosecutors were unable to prove guilt. Free, Arcade put the major X-teams behind him, taking on lesser targets like Eugene Judd, AKA Puck, Jean-Paul Beaubier, AKA Northstar, Johnny Blaze, AKA Ghost Rider, and Gaveedra Seven, AKA Shatterstar. He also further developed his machinery and investigated other technologies during this time, developing a traveling Murderama, a mechanically transforming semitruck with Murderworld capabilities.
On one of their annual murderdays, Miss Locke came too close for comfort, stabbing Arcade viciously across the side of his face. Reacting instinctively and in incredible pain, Arcade killed Miss Locke, his closest confidante. This drove him over the edge and he tried to place the blame on James Howlett/Logan, AKA Wolverine, killing a half dozen other women in similar manners and hiding Miss Locke’s body among theirs in London. Arcade contacted Martinique Wyngarde, AKA Mastermind, and she agreed to help him stop Wolverine, but one of those victims was a friend of Remy LeBeau, AKA Gambit, who came to investigate. Arcade’s virtual reality headsets worked with Mastermind’s powers to nearly convince Wolverine of his own guilt, but he and Gambit eventually realized the truth and Mastermind joined them to see Arcade institutionalized.
Arcade eventually recovered his sanity, though he retained the facial scarring for many months before finally having it covered with plastic surgery. He created robotic duplicates of Miss Locke, programmed with her personality to work with him, and again resumed his assassinations, chasing X-Force out of an unused Murderworld which they had occupied. He went after Wolverine (and the Ultraverse’s Night Man, who stumbled into the fight) at a Murderworld beneath San Francisco’s Arcadia Amusements, and was hired to kill the vigilante Phil Urich, AKA Green Goblin, who escaped. He hired himself out to Britain’s secretive Black Air agency, but they refused to let him leave their employ; Arcade conspired with Excalibur’s Colossus to fake his death and escape, though in the end he flirted with danger by allowing Black Air the opportunity to learn he still lived.
Crimelord Etienne Rousseau hired Arcade to test new bodyguards, including Domino. Knowing Domino intended to arrest Rousseau, Arcade combined the test with another commission by forcing her to fight Shatterstar (whom Mojo had hired Arcade to evaluate), but when Domino won out, Arcade allowed Etienne’s arrest. Arcade attended Meggan and Captain Britain’s wedding before resuming work assassinating drug dealers for their New York rivals; this brought him into conflict with Spider-Man and Felicia Hardy, AKA Black Cat. He rebuilt the Alpine Amusement Park (in a nonfatal manner) for Nijo, AKA Agent X, and hired out his London Murderworld to the Viper for use against the X-Men.
Meanwhile, he built his biggest park: Murderland, formerly Mordillo Island, a South China Seas island that he converted into the deadliest place on Earth. Arcade began a romantic relationship with the White Rabbit, the pair trapped Wolverine and the Black Cat on the island and pitted them against hero-hunting sportsmen. The Cat and Logan escaped Murderland when Arcade faked the island’s destruction but they tracked Arcade down and trapped him in the Savage Land.
With the willing service of Brynocki, a holorobotic inhabitant of Mordillo’s Island, Arcade brought society’s most prominent to Murderland; this included Iron Man, AKA Tony Stark, Kyle Richmond, AKA Nighthawk, Frank Payne, AKA Constrictor, the Thing. They ultimately succeeded in winning their game and freeing themselves, though Arcade was sorely tempted to cheat when Tony Stark began reprogramming Arcade’s toys—including Brynocki, who abandoned Arcade for his new master.