We’ve known about the next installment of Golden Tee for a while now – not that it’s hard to guess about since Incredible Technologies has kept pace with releasing a new version of the game every year with no plans to let up on that strategy anytime soon. But beyond the trailer videos and still pictures finally come the details as to what it is that will make 2012 stand out from previous versions of the game. As expected, there are five new courses to play, which brings the total playable courses(of 18 holes each) to 35, all crafted by Jim Zielinski who IT notes has “designed more golf courses than anyone in history.” There are new costumes for your game avatar, more golf clubs and balls and then there are some new features. From the sounds of it, IT is looking to make 2012 more friendly to casual GT players with some new options – options being key here so fans won’t feel like they will be sacrificing anything. A new “BITE” option has been added to the Spin of the ball the player can choose; there is a Straight-only-shots option which is made with casual players in mind; a new casual “Player of the Week” option is built into the game to be used at the operator’s discretion; the game will have online World Ranking leaderboards for the first time and they have enhanced the Youtube Great Shots feature to include footage from the top five shots of the week into the game’s attract mode – which is a neat way for players to hopefully get some great recognition beyond just a high score.
All in all it sounds like it’s going to be the ultimate version of Golden Tee and with the upgrade beginning to ship next month in September, I imagine that if you want to locate a 2012 model to check it out, they won’t be too difficult to come across. What also impresses me with their efforts is despite not really having any competition when it comes to golf video games, they also keep trying to outdo themselves with innovative ideas. Using the Youtube shots as a way to show off not just on Youtube (where the video can get lost in the shuffle) but in the attract mode of the game is a great idea; as is the Player of The Week, as way to reward the players who come into the venue. I’m sure if more coin-op games used such features it would be a huge plus to a venue to have those games on hand as it’s similar to the concept of the High Score with initials were back when that was first introduced – players paid a lot more attention to high scores then and a record breaking score would cause a bit of sensation, gaining some notoriety for the person who achieved that. As the idea became commonplace, the achievement of the high score is still important although it doesn’t always attract the same amount of attention – tying that with video evidence for all to see on a game every week gives people something to aim for when it comes to showing off in public. The idea doesn’t necessarily have to be an online one either, although it certainly gets a boost out of that.
Anyways enough of my ranting, to read about the new GT2012 features in glorious detail, hit the break:
Golden Tee LIVE 2012 Delivers More Value to Players and Operators
New Courses Update to Ship End of September
Jim Zielinski, the award-winning senior video game designer at Incredible Technologies, belongs in the record books. He’s designed more golf courses than anyone else in history. The fact that his courses are of the virtual kind rather than the tangible makes little difference. Every year he conceptualizes every tee box, sand trap, water hazard and pin placement for 18 holes over 5 courses. Then he must explain to his team how the natural topography and foliage must interact with the man-made objects that golfers will need to navigate. It’s no wonder that he vacations every fall after the new courses ship and before the process starts all over again.
Zielinski’s baby, Golden Tee LIVE 2012, debuts in late September in bars and pubs across the country.
“We’re mandated to keep Golden Tee fresh and vibrant,” Zielinski said. “Players expect something new every year and we can’t let them down. We think the 2012 courses are truly exceptional. The players will love them.”
5 NEW COURSES – Absolutely the Best Ever!
The superstars of any Golden Tee LIVE update are always the new courses, and Zielinski and his team pulled out all the stops this year. Their goal was to keep players mesmerized, amazed and entertained – and this star-studded lineup really delivers!
Royal Cove Half Moon Bay, Antigua
Feel the island breeze as you golf through the twists and turns of the Royal Cove golf course. Meander through tropical mountains, islets and sandy beaches. Ancient relics from a buccaneer past greet you as you take on one of the Caribbean’s most picturesque courses.
Grand Canyon Tusayan, Arizona
Take a golfing journey from the first tee at the top of the north rim, all the way down to the finishing hole at the bottom of the great chasm. Along the way you’ll encounter elevation drops, cliffs, waterfalls and many challenging shots and shortcuts.
Tundra Peak Mt Everest, Nepal
The highest course in the world! Tundra Peak is a true survivalist’s course. Though mostly devoid of vegetation, the rocky cliffs, mountains, snow banks, and glaciers create a true golfing expedition. Grab your Sherpa, and golf your way to the summit.
Auburn Glen Granville, Vermont
Set deep in the Green Mountains of Vermont, the placid setting of Auburn Glen can lull the unwary golfer. Stay clear of the ubiquitous sand and water or this sleeping giant will awake. With winding streams, covered bridges, and sparkling lakes, the hills and valleys of Auburn Glen create a challenging and picturesque golf experience.
Dusty Bend Sayre, Oklahoma
Built along Route 66, the Dusty Bend course seems like a step back in time. You’ll never know what roadside attractions you’ll encounter as you golf along “the mother road.” Trees are scarce, but the farm buildings and tourist traps replace them with a landscape of pure Americana. Venture too far off the fairway and the dusty Oklahoma dirt will make its presence known. It’s a fun road-trip for any golfer.
Exciting New Features for 2012
The 2012 update is loaded with new features all designed to enhance the player’s entertainment experience. The goal is to give the Golden Tee player more value for his dollar, and this year the update really delivers. Whether you’re a veteran or a rookie – there’s something new for everyone! Incredible Technologies has packed more new features into 2012 than any update that they’ve ever produced before.
NEW! All 35 Courses Available!
With Golden Tee LIVE 2012 all 30 previously released Golden Tee LIVE courses as well as the 5 new courses can be selected for play at any time.
“Players who have been introduced to Golden Tee in the years after LIVE was released in 2005 have never seen some of these courses,” said Zielinski. “It’s a simple equation: more courses and more choices equals more play, and 35 courses also provide operators with more tournament and contest options as FACTS LIVE is enabled on all of them.”
NEW! More Golf Clubs and Balls!
Golden Tee LIVE 2012 will feature 3 new sets of clubs (including one set with a new flop-style wedge!) and 3 new styles of balls. “With so many different topography changes from course-to-course, we expect players to purchase all three new sets,” Zielinski said. “And the balls all react differently too. No matter your style of play – there’s a set of clubs and a ball for you.”
NEW! More Crazy Clothing!
“Players love to dress their golfers in wacky stuff – and the crazier it is, the more they love it!” exclaimed Zielinski. “This year we pulled out all the stops. We can’t wait to hear from players who are awarded the jockey uniform, the gorilla shirt or the dirt bike outfit!”
NEW: Additional Spin Option: BITE!
Players have been able to control the spin of their golf ball – forward or backward – by pressing the SPIN button before taking a shot. Now they’ll have a third option: BITE. “Bite allows the ball to check up instead of spin,” Zielinski said. “BITE will make it a bit easier for players to keep their ball on the green. It’s a nifty feature that gives players a little more control.”
NEW! Casual Golf Straight-Shots-Only Option!
Making Golden Tee accessible to new players is a top priority for Zielinski and his team.
The trackball shot-shaping function, which provides the real depth of Golden Tee, can sometimes become a challenge to new or poorly skilled players. “We’ve studied new players and found that many of them make unintended hooks and slices resulting in bad shots,” he said. “Just like real golf, it can be frustrating. The new ‘straight-shots-only’ option allows us to set the Golden Tee entry level a little lower. Now players who have never played before can get their feet wet with an even easier mode of play. It works just like putting. No curves. Just aim and shoot!”
NEW! Casual “Player of the Week” Drawings!
Along those same lines, Golden Tee 2012 features a new surprise for casual players. If enabled by the operator, on the 18th tee the player will be asked if he’d like to be included in a weekly drawing. If the player opts in, he’ll enter his name into the game. At the end of the week, the game will automatically conduct a local drawing and announce the winner. Operators and locations have the option of providing a prize or just displaying the player’s name as “Player of the Week.”
“We’re providing operators with the means of rewarding casual Golden Tee players. Up until now these players have not had the opportunity to experience the fun and excitement of winning a prize,” Zielinski said. “The operator and location can work together to supply a prize that will be given away each week. The prize can be anything – maybe a GT gift card or a menu item from the location. Operators can even get creative and advertise big prizes by collecting weekly winners for a final drawing at the end of the year. The system is flexible and operators can customize the on-screen message to display whatever prize they decide on. We think this new feature will bring a smile to the casual player’s face with the realization that now anyone can win playing Golden Tee.”
NEW! World Rankings!
For the first time in Golden Tee’s 23-year-history, players will be ranked according to their skill level. Each player’s ranking will appear on the game screen after they identify themselves, and the world ranking leaderboard will appear on the front page of Goldentee.com.
“We’re very pleased to offer this new feature for our players across the globe,” Zielinski said. “Everyone wants to know where they stand in the Golden Tee universe and now we’re giving them the opportunity to shine. Operators will be pleased to know that players must play at least 5 games during the month to be ranked, so we expect a boost in play from those thousands of players on the cusp as they add one or two games to make the leaderboard.”
NEW! YouTube Shots of the Week!
According to Zielinski, YouTube Great Shots has been one of the most successful features introduced since the launch of Golden Tee LIVE. Over 200,000 videos have been uploaded to YouTube and they’ve garnered nearly 2 million views. “We want to expand on the success of our YouTube feature so we’re actually going to put the top 5 YouTube shots of the week in the 2012 attract mode,” he said. “Players will be wishing, hoping and praying that their shot is one that’s selected. Along with our World Ranking Leaderboard, this feature will make players feel like superstars.”
Golden Tee LIVE 2012 Isn’t Just About the Player
With so few new products being developed for the street market today, operators have come to depend on Golden Tee more than ever for the revenue it produces and to keep relationships with bar owners strong.
“We know operators are still having a difficult time in this economy. That’s why we’re developing features that will both attract new players and keep the veteran players happy. We think we have the perfect mix with Golden Tee LIVE 2012,” Zielinski said.
But focusing on the player is only part of the equation for Incredible Technologies. Making sure that operators stay profitable with their games is the number-one goal of the company.
“Of course it starts with the player,” said Don Pesceone, senior VP of sales. “But the needs of our operators are just as important.”
IT’s Pledge: No New Platform
In that regard the company has promised to not introduce a new Golden Tee platform for at least three more years.
“We want to give our operators the confidence to buy and to continue to leverage the hardware they have in the field. They can be assured that their games will be current for years to come,” Pesceone said.
NEW! AD WIZ LIVE!
Besides FACTS LIVE, AD WIZ LIVE is the most valuable tool operators can use to communicate with their players. Whether it’s promoting an upcoming contest or tournament, or advertising a location’s happy hour specials, AD WIZ LIVE allows operators create the ads in the convenience of their office, they can send the ads to their games via ITNet.
“Operators will save time and money with AD WIZ LIVE,” Pesecone said. “No more running from location to location. No more waiting for the ad to load from a thumb drive. We believe AD WIZ LIVE is a front-runner for an AMOA Innovator Award next spring.”
Golden Tee LIVE 2012 is scheduled to ship the last week of September. Operators and distributors can place orders now by calling their salesperson or the Incredible Technologies sales hotline at 800.262.0323 x 106.