It is somewhat rare to see a story about a new Electro-Mechanical (EM) arcade machine since those were long ago replaced by video arcade games but much like pinball, I think that the right concept has a chance to draw attention and earnings in an arcade venue since it would be unlike anything you typically get at home or on the phone. The visceral effect, so to speak. EM games used to be the main pillar of arcade venue entertainment and many clever ideas were created despite the limitations such units bring to the table.
Polygon.com caught onto this story about a new EM game made by Tim Hunkin. We have mentioned Tim before although it has been a few years, he is an engineer that enjoys building EM amusement machines over in the UK. His latest idea is called Divorce, a kind of tug-o-war game where a fighting couple try to get the house to themselves but as you can guess, no matter who wins they both loose. Here is a video showing it in action:
Of course EM games don’t seem poised to take back the earnings crown anytime soon, one issue is that making one with ‘depth’ is a real challenge. I say that in the sense that once you play it and catch the gimmick, there often isn’t any new surprise to discover to the gimmick. One can get replay from a sense of competition but it is hard to go beyond the initial ‘wow’ from the physical portion and uniqueness of the game. This is of course where video has the advantage, since you can keep throwing surprises at the player, giving them more than just a sense of competition/achievement/wonder/disgust or whatever it is you are aiming for. Granted, I think you can find some depth with EM, if you use ideas animatronics and sound, Tim’s Alien Probe is a glimpse of that.