We aren’t always accustomed to hearing about new arcade projects well in advance but it happens every now and then. Exergames also don’t pop-up all of the time either and when they do it can be hit-or-miss in terms of game quality. The challenge is to make physical activity fun while offering a quality experience that players expect.
The new exergame arcade machine we are looking at today is one that has already gained attention in the home console space, particularly on the Xbox 360 w/ Kinect. Called Baller Beats, the designer Curtis Smith describes it as “Guitar Hero, but with a basketball!” and “an interactive teaching tool that gets kids off the couch learning real skills, for the real sport; all while playing a fun, simple, entertaining fitness solution.” Basketball is not foreign to our market – many FECs feature those large basketball shot machines with the hoops that move from side-to-side for a challenge. Here is a mock-up cabinet idea based upon the Let’s Kinect Game Gate VU cabinet however the final cabinet designs will entail “a standard version and a super deluxe version with a mini court and shot clock”. The final cabinet designs are being worked on in conjunction with Fun Company.
Combining the sensor with a real basketball and some space, the player has to dribble the ball in accordance to the beat of the song that is picked. By going beyond the dribble and pulling off moves for extra points. The game also has achievements and unlockable content.
In regards to whether the ball running loose would be a problem, there will be an optional cage however from what I have researched from this game being played already, a stray ball is much less of a problem than say a flying air hockey puck or ping pong ball, given the greater mass of the ball that is generally going to be under direct control of the player as opposed to it being hit around with another object like a mallet or paddle. Of course while FECs or arcades could grab a few of these machines, it also has the advantage of reaching gyms, rec-centers and so on where more floor space can be dedicated to attractions of this nature.
The game has already appeared at various events, including some which featured a professional basketball player as a part of the action.
The arcade version will come along in the Summer of 2015, just in time for Summer Vacation. Here is a trailer showing the game in action – what are your thoughts on this making the jump to the amusement space?