While the hype about new products tends to focus on videmption and VR lately, there are other genres of products that are still seeing new developments. One of those is the wonderful world of darts. While many arcade distributors do sell darts, they are a bit of a different beast – back when I was selling amusement machines, I was never trained on the game, which made selling them a bit of a challenge.
While you probably don’t think of Sega when you hear about darts, they have been pushing the envelope and innovating in the space in recent years with their Darts Live division. This part of the company really came to our attention back in 2017, when they rolled out Darts of the Dead for existing Darts Live 2 machines. Since then, they have given other Sega IP some love, such as with Team Sonic Racing and Persona 5 (the latter is running right now in Japan), creating original ideas such as Ninja Trainer and now something new for kids called Blox Hunter.
Per usual, since this is on test, I have to point out that this could change completely by the time it – or if – it releases.
Blox Hunter just began testing in Japan and what called my attention to it was the use of magnetic darts and a video screen. Perhaps this has been done before, but I’ve never seen anything like it. A metal mesh is placed in front of the screen with enough holes so you can still see the display (although this causes a “Screendoor” effect that is often a complaint with VR 😛 ). When starting, the unit vends a character card, you put that into the reader, then proceed to destroy the character by hitting it with darts. Said characters looking a lot like those found in the popular mobile game Crossy Road, but that’s only in style. The name and style of play does remind me a little of Adrenaline’s Blox Breaker.
Here’s a video posted to Twitter, showing that this also incorporates “kid vending” features such as collectible character cards and what appears to be a magnetic dart vending unit:
— DARTSLIVE / ダーツライブ (@DARTSLIVE) August 22, 2019
While adults would likely prefer to keep playing “real” darts, this seems like a great way to introduce kids to the sport. The issue is that I’m not really sure if this will make it’s way overseas. Darts are very strange in how they are handled by US distribution channels; every brand seems to have territorial restrictions as to where and who you can purchase them from. Sometimes you have to go through an authorized operator and “rent” the boards, sometimes you can buy them from a distributor, other times you can to buy direct. I haven’t seen where you can buy a Darts Live unit from; they can be found all over the USA, but not through Sega Amusements.
What do you think of this, from the info known so far?