One development that I have always kept an eye out for in the coin-op arcade sector is the creation of new kinds of experiences that are extremely difficult to reproduce at home and aren’t intended solely for huge FECs. This would include the creation of player-controller robot games, the likes of which we have seen previously with games like Slambot and Robo-Basho.
A new company out of Korea has thrown their hat into the ring for the development of arcade machines involving robots and that company is called IR Robot or Intelligent Recreational Robot. Their first product is called MaruBot Football League, a game that they say has the potential to “…replace world-wide popular table [air] hockey game[s] in the future.” I don’t know about that yet but I do believe that the potential for robotic games like this in arcades is huge because it does give us an advantage over home games and it’s the kind of thing that could attract people to come out and play on it’s own.
MaruBot Football comes in two flavors, a 2 player and a 4 player cabinet that is quite attractive and the game is simple enough for anyone to come along and play. They do state on their website that they intend to distribute these games all over the world but I do not know if they are planning on direct selling or if they intend to setup deals with various distributors in different countries. There is no price on it yet either so we will have to wait and see how that turns out – I know with Slambot they had a version that was reasonably priced so perhaps this will be too. IRRobot has even created a redemption game called Golden Dozer that uses similar robots in a different kind of game than MaruBot Football. To top it off they are working on a very cool concept that combines real robot tanks with a virtual playing field called Battle Tank Robot. While they say that this is the first of it’s kind, I have seen something like that before in a video that was on Tom’s Hardware a long time ago although I do not know if what I saw there was intended for commerical use – this would be and it would be ready to go for arcades so we will keep an eye on that as if it’s done right it could be very cool.
In the meantime, check out their website for more.