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Future of Video Games Outside the Home, DisneyQuest 103

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the taking-your-quarters dept.
gatzke writes "Some interesting developments have been coming online with new technology being developed that may lead to new and exciting gaming outside the home. DisneyQuest in Orlando mixes classic / modern video games with virtual reality and interactive games. MagiQuest in Myrtle Beach is an immersive interactive treasure hunt environment with a simple wand interface."
Background

I am a thirty-something engineer that grew up with personal computers. When I was in elementary school, I was learning BASIC while playing Atari games like Asteroids, Pong, and Night Rider at the arcade in the mall. Games improved around middle school, Pac-man, Centipede, Galaga, Spy Hunter, Donkey Kong and others were available at the local arcades. At that time my favorite dinner destination was the pizza place with animatronic animals and a huge arcade. My buddies and I even played games at the mall arcade in high school: altered beast, time warriors, and others. At college in the 90s, I would frequent the local gigantic bar / restaurant / pool hall / arcade that had a good variety of games, especially the linked Daytona Racing games where you could drink and drive safely.

I fell off he map for quite some time. Arcade games did not hold my interest. I blame the many Street Fighter variants, with all the buttons and secret moves. No longer could any idiot walk up to a game and have a good time. You had to dedicate a lot of time and effort to get anywhere in those games. The economics changed as well. Games started hitting two or three quarters, not just one. On the home front, I had first person shooters on my PC that were tons of fun and interactive. Why go pay a dollar per game just to get stomped on in public when I have a SLI Voodoo card at home that can run Quake at 1600x1200 on a 21 inch CRT? The home and console technology was outpacing what you could get at the arcade. The arcades dried up in most places, with a few games lingering here and there.

Recently, my wife and I discovered a couple of places that give me hope for the future of gaming outside the home again. DisneyQuest and MagiQuest.

DisneyQuest

A few years ago, my wife and I were at a conference in Orlando. We took an extra couple of days to see some of Disney. We happened across DisneyQuest in Downtown Disney near the Cirque du Soleil theater. Admission was expensive at over $30 per person for the day, but it ended up being worth it to me. Inside, you enter one of the best arcades ever, an arcade by Disney. All games are totally free after you pay admission. They had recent games like Crazy Taxi and Top Skater (note, on a recent return trip they have not added many obvious new games). They also had classic games like Asteroids, Moon Patrol, Space War, and BattleZone.

The real outstanding section for me were the VR games. They had an Aladdin type game with a motion sensitive visor where you fly a magic carpet with intuitive controls. They had a superhero game where you get a motion sensitive visor and sword to swing at bad guys. If you have tried out recent VR helmets, you know the resolution is quite lacking and the motion sensing is not the best, especially technology from around 2000. Overall, these were fun but could stand some improvements in the basic helmet technology.

They had other VR / immersive games that did not require a helmet. They had a pinball game where you stand on a giant puck and try to direct your video puck into a goal by leaning left and right, while you play with others on a giant screen. They had a river rafting ride where you and others are on a rubber raft paddling in front of a projection screen while you get bumped around. They had Mech Assault type game where four people get in a pod and try to rescue some colonists while shooting aliens. One of the better games was a pirate game where you wear 3D glasses and man the cannons of a pirate ship surrounded by a few large projection screens. The design-you-own VR roller coaster made me sick, since I thought stacking as many loops and barrel rolls in a row was a good idea. The best game was the bumper cars, which was totally not electronic. You and a partner are in a Plexiglas enclosed bumper car. One drives while the other mans a cannon to shoot nerf soccer balls at other cars. If the sensors detect a hit, you spin around for a few seconds. This was loads of fun, and you can usually run around and get on again if the crowds are light.

My overall impression was favorable, but I was not as enthusiastic after my more recent visit. The technology had not changed in four years, so you still had the old 3D visors. Some video game controllers were not getting the requisite repairs. Things were not as "Disney" as they could have been, but it was still fun.

MagiQuest

My wife and I also went to try out MagiQuest at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach. We really did not know what to expect from their advertising. You get a "magic wand" for $11 and then buy time in the game at $8 per hour with discounts if you do two hours on the same day. The wand appears to be some combination of RFID, IR in the tip, and motion sensor. You pick a character class and a name, then go through training where they show you how to cast at items to evoke a response. Chests will open, lights will flash, or some event will be triggered by your wand. After training, you enter the game area which is a large room with different areas. At the center is a stone-henge type place where you go to choose a quest from a touchscreen and watch a related video. The first twelve quests are relatively simple treasure hunt type tasks that have you exploring the environment looking for different items. They have a castle with a few rooms, a dungeon area, a pixie treehouse, a crypt, and some other areas.

There are items all around that you can use the wand to interact with. Cast at a picture and it lights up, even if it is not on your current list of items to be found. Chests open and show jewels or gold. Some statues will talk to you. The first set of quests are fairly simple, with explicit locations and descriptions of the items, but it can still be tricky to find all the items. The game tests your memory, since you will have seen some objects while working on other quests. After you complete the basic quests, they have a series of adventures to work on. My wife and I completed the twelve quests in two hours working together. I would encourage you to do it on your own, but we were dragging a two year old and my wife is seven months pregnant.

The technology is pretty robust. Some sensors required a few casts to activate, but overall it was not frustrating. Most items are static and respond with sound and light. There are around fifteen different stations with projection screen, LCD, or CRTs that are more detailed with some video. Some of these are end locations for quests where a character gives you a rune as reward for a completed quest or someone tells you a story. Some of these stations are apparently part of the more advanced adventures where you have more involved games to try out. They have a dragon and a goblin in the dungeon, but they also have lighter fantasy creatures like a unicorn and a fairy princess.

The environment is fairly immersive. The interactive items are generally embedded pretty well into the environment. The dungeon was my favorite, as you get the feeling of a realistic dark environment. The castle was pretty good, but it was mostly open to the gaming area with only a few rooms. Most of the game is wide open, where you can see all around, including the false sky. This is probably good for the general population, but it does not throw a gamer completely into the fantasy world (which may not be a bad thing). I would like to see a dark forest with shaded canopy and a main street with some interactive stores to explore and lower player density. Overall, it was never crowded, and things were smooth even with a large number of people running around.

There are other details to the game if you really get into it. They keep track of your gold and award you crappy prizes if you want. You get experience and levels, but I am not sure how that helps you. They have a dueling station where you can battle other Magi by choosing spells to use. They have extra crap you can buy to decorate your wand. They also have some extra tokens (compass and key) you can buy to increase your take of gold or give you clues in the game. The game is fun for both adults and kids, both serious gamers and those looking for something other than mini golf. It could be costly if you have a few kids to take in, but not bad after you get past the wand purchase. They also have parent spectator discount cards (first hour full price, second half off, free after)

I tried to search online for information, but it took me a while to realize I was searching for magicquest / magickquest / magic quest, not magiquest. You are a Magi in this game, and I have not seen how your character class influences your game.

Overall, we had a great time and want to go back soon. It is rough to take away beach time to go run around waving a plastic wand at treasure chests, but the game gets to you.

Conclusions

If you are in Orlando or Myrtle Beach, you may want to try these games out. Maybe the economics will work out and they could put them in local malls to get kid out running around again. It certainly is more complicated than buying a space invaders box and harvesting money from kids, but maybe the market is there.
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Future of Video Games Outside the Home, DisneyQuest

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  • Another reason to spend an entire day in the park.
  • No disrespect to tfj - it was well written, but perhaps a better title than "Gaming outside the home" when gaming outside the home has been going on for ages [wikipedia.org] :-)

  • Jeez (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, 2006 @02:33PM (#15425370)
    Jeez. Slashdotted already. Here's TFA:

    gatzke writes "Some interesting developments have been coming online with new technology being developed that may lead to new and exciting gaming outside the home. DisneyQuest in Orlando mixes classic / modern video games with virtual reality and interactive games. MagiQuest in Myrtle Beach is an immersive interactive treasure hunt environment with a simple wand interface."
    Background

    I am a thirty-something engineer that grew up with personal computers. When I was in elementary school, I was learning BASIC while playing Atari games like Asteroids, Pong, and Night Rider at the arcade in the mall. Games improved around middle school, Pac-man, Centipede, Galaga, Spy Hunter, Donkey Kong and others were available at the local arcades. At that time my favorite dinner destination was the pizza place with animatronic animals and a huge arcade. My buddies and I even played games at the mall arcade in high school: altered beast, time warriors, and others. At college in the 90s, I would frequent the local gigantic bar / restaurant / pool hall / arcade that had a good variety of games, especially the linked Daytona Racing games where you could drink and drive safely.

    I fell off he map for quite some time. Arcade games did not hold my interest. I blame the many Street Fighter variants, with all the buttons and secret moves. No longer could any idiot walk up to a game and have a good time. You had to dedicate a lot of time and effort to get anywhere in those games. The economics changed as well. Games started hitting two or three quarters, not just one. On the home front, I had first person shooters on my PC that were tons of fun and interactive. Why go pay a dollar per game just to get stomped on in public when I have a SLI Voodoo card at home that can run Quake at 1600x1200 on a 21 inch CRT? The home and console technology was outpacing what you could get at the arcade. The arcades dried up in most places, with a few games lingering here and there.

    Recently, my wife and I discovered a couple of places that give me hope for the future of gaming outside the home again. DisneyQuest and MagiQuest.

    DisneyQuest

    A few years ago, my wife and I were at a conference in Orlando. We took an extra couple of days to see some of Disney. We happened across DisneyQuest in Downtown Disney near the Cirque du Soleil theater. Admission was expensive at over $30 per person for the day, but it ended up being worth it to me. Inside, you enter one of the best arcades ever, an arcade by Disney. All games are totally free after you pay admission. They had recent games like Crazy Taxi and Top Skater (note, on a recent return trip they have not added many obvious new games). They also had classic games like Asteroids, Moon Patrol, Space War, and BattleZone.

    The real outstanding section for me were the VR games. They had an Aladdin type game with a motion sensitive visor where you fly a magic carpet with intuitive controls. They had a superhero game where you get a motion sensitive visor and sword to swing at bad guys. If you have tried out recent VR helmets, you know the resolution is quite lacking and the motion sensing is not the best, especially technology from around 2000. Overall, these were fun but could stand some improvements in the basic helmet technology.

    They had other VR / immersive games that did not require a helmet. They had a pinball game where you stand on a giant puck and try to direct your video puck into a goal by leaning left and right, while you play with others on a giant screen. They had a river rafting ride where you and others are on a rubber raft paddling in front of a projection screen while you get bumped around. They had Mech Assault type game where four people get in a pod and try to rescue some colonists while shooting aliens. One of the better games was a pirate game where you wear 3D glasses and man the cannons of a pirate ship surrounded by a few large projection screens. The design-you-own VR roller coaster made me sick,
  • Whoas.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by goldaryn (834427) on Monday May 29, 2006 @02:36PM (#15425378) Homepage
    Journal of gatzke (2977): I am a thirty-something engineer that grew up with personal computers. When I was in elementary school, I was learning BASIC while playing Atari games like Asteroids, Pong, and Night Rider at the arcade in the mall. Games improved around middle school, Pac-man, Centipede, Galaga, Spy Hunter, Donkey Kong and others were available at the local arcades. At that time my favorite dinner destination was the pizza place

    You must have started writing this story just after you joined!

    • I found slashdot since their team was winning one of those distributed computing efforts, and I checked out the web page back in '98 I think.

      I remember when they started the user ids. I held out on getting one for weeks, thinking it was an invasion of my privacy, but finally I joined up.

      And I still read here. Pretty sad.

      Ed
  • I prefer the sound of 'La Fuga' (The Escape) [slashdot.org] myself.
  • by realinvalidname (529939) on Monday May 29, 2006 @02:40PM (#15425395) Homepage

    It certainly is more complicated than buying a space invaders box and harvesting money from kids, but maybe the market is there.

    I'm afraid not. WDW's DisneyQuest is set to close in 2008 [jimhillmedia.com] to become yet another ESPNZone. DisneyQuest was supposed to be a worldwide chain, but they bailed on it after opening two locations, and closing Chicago's after a little over two years. Disney has sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into DQ since 1994, and they're done.

    Maybe Dave & Busters and Jillian's are the future of outside-the-home gaming, although the latter went bankrupt and was absorbed by the former. And Brunswick walked away from its D&B wannabe, US Play, after opening two locations (Atlanta and Minneapolis).

    • I don't know anything about DisneyQuest and don't remember hearing about it. Probably why it failed. Dave & Busters is awesome though and we must not forget Chuck E Cheese.
      • I live near DisnyQuest. Only been there once. It was a typo, but the name "DisneyQues" in the title of this story is pretty appropriate.

        There's lines for EVERYTHING, from getting into the building to getting to play even the least game.

        Not fun.
    • I was bummed to hear about DQ closing when I learned of it a few weeks ago. I have a DQ annual pass, and while I obviously enjoy gaming there, what I'll miss most are the hamburgers available there - best on Disney World property, IMHO.

      I should have known things were going downhill when their Tempest machine disappeared several months ago....
      • I should have known things were going downhill when their Tempest machine disappeared several months ago....

        Now that you mention it, DQ is the only place in the world I've ever seen an Ehrgeiz machine. Now there was an underrated game...

    • by Gothic_Walrus (692125) on Monday May 29, 2006 @07:57PM (#15426272) Journal
      Who says outside of the home gaming has a future?

      Considering the popularity of consoles and the fact that services like Xbox Live can provide multiplayer opponents whenever you want them, it's looking more and more like arcades have been entirely supplanted.

      Still, I want to find a console that can give me a good pinball game. The virtual stuff just isn't the same as a good old machine...

      • Still, I want to find a console that can give me a good pinball game. The virtual stuff just isn't the same as a good old machine...

        Exactly.

        There are also a lot of other specialized hardware that you can't (right now) get for your home. I was at Dave & Buster's a while ago and one of my friends played a cop shooting game where the machine had cameras that would figure out where you were, and you would have to physically dodge the bad guys, duck behind things to reload, etc. There's also the classic raci
        • Play them for a couple bucks!? Show me to your arcades.

          Last time I was in one, it cost 4x 25c to play the newest version of tekken.

          The only games that cost below .50c a play were the old old broken screen ones (frogger, 1974, etc, etc).

          All the pinball games cost $1 to play.
          All the racing games cost $1 to play.

          End of after of gaming, you've just spent a good $20-30 easy. If you play a bunch of the game. Of course you can spend $4 and call it a day too.
          • True, I was too dismissive of the cost of it. BUt I don't think I spent more than 10 bucks over the course of an hour or so.

            And they seem to be getting worse too costwise too. It won't be too long until the cost argument goes the other way.
    • The developers who created the "Aladdin" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" games at DisneyQuest have spent the last few years making MMORPGs. They created Toontown Online [toontown.com] in 2003, and they're now working on a Pirates of the Caribbean MMORPG [pirateslegend.com] that is scheduled for a 2007 release. That probably explains why DisneyQuest hasn't gotten any new, original games in a long time.
    • Disney denies the rumors that DisneyQuest is scheduled to close.

      http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/business_tourism_ aviation/2006/04/walt_disney_wor.html [orlandosentinel.com]
  • DisneyQuest rocks. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kfazz (951286)
    I remember that DQ had Timecrisis, and some 3d shootemup with atari-like controls (one jostick, one buton) the coolest thing there by far was this: one floor had a maze in it, all clear plastic. the maze was full of rc trucks, and there werearcade cabinets where you had a first person view from the truck and could drive it around in the clear floor under your own feet.

    • Last time I was there, they had closed that maze thing down. My wife and I had great fun, as one would drive and the other would follow the RC car around and give directions. That was a really neat little game...
  • Chicago DisneyQuest (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aitikin (909209) on Monday May 29, 2006 @03:02PM (#15425465)
    We had one of those in Chicago about 5 years ago. It was a decent idea, but the problem was that they allowed you to buy a card that could be used unlimited times over the course of the day or cards that would run on credits but you could use them later. It's a good idea, but the reason I call it a problem, we have an ESPN Zone that survived because it didn't do that. Furthermore, we had a few stores that knew too much about magnetics and you could go in with a card and get it recharged for $5 instead of $35. DisneyQuest closed and shortly thereafter the store I'm refering to had a sheriff's notice on the door saying that they shutdown. I'm not entirely sure that there's a corelation there, but I know they closed DisneyQuest in Chicago because it was unprofitable.
    • I went there too. The problem to me seemed that it had to be somewhat affordable. So the "rides" had to be scaled back from regular Disney stuff.

      So the whole thing played as extremely low-rent. It had none of the magic and wonder you expected of Disney. You ended up seeing computer graphics and stuff you could see at home instead of animatronics and large-scale dark rides.

      The ESPNZone was right next door, and altough it was completely Dave & Buster's knockoff, it worked because you didn't expect so much
  • bad names (Score:2, Interesting)

    by penguinstorm (575341)
    The problem with out of home gaming is they chose bad names.

    The need more dimly lit rooms with names like "Wizard's Castle" and "Frodo's Palace"

    Call it retro.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, 2006 @03:09PM (#15425491)
    I own a small arcade in Higgins Lake, MI I know of 8 michigan arcades closing last year and a handfull closing this year. The problem is people are cheap and games are getting expensive. I try to mix a collection of the classic remake machines with some of the novelty machines such as big mouth where you use an aircompressed rubber ball gun to knock out teeth, I also have some of the newer games. However there is just little money in the arcade aspect. I mean 50cents a game after taxes, bills, and employee expenses that is nothing. New games are now costing over 20 grand. I think arcades are going to die so enjoy them while you can. :( Minimum wage is going up to $8 an hr and therefore I am forced to charge 1.50 for a game of pool and a buck to play some 90's shooting game. it sucks. The icecream store next door is raising the cost of all there cones $1 to afford the employees.
    • I'm not sure which is worse, that it's $1.50 for a game of pool, or that you have to work for an hour at the local minimum wage to afford to play four games of pool
      (after taxes, of course). Around me, minimum wage is still $5.15 an hour, which is less than it costs the governement (with its 2 million member group) to cover the cost of health insurance (employee and gov't parts, i.e. total cost).

      I'm not singling you out...nobody seems to be winning here. There seems to be quite a compression of wages and cos
    • I think the writing's been on the wall for a while - given the horsepower of today's PCs and game consoles, it's hard for a lot of people to justify spending a buck a game when you can get a great gaming experience at home for the cost of a few visits to an arcade. You won't get a nice sit-down cabinet that moves or a custom controller set, but the graphics and sound are great nowadays. It's just not like it was back in the '80s when there wasn't anything available in the home that was remotely comparable
    • Haven't you tried having something like a "club", where people (kids) pay some certain cash and they get to play the machines for a month or so?

      Also, there is the possibility of exchanging 1 arcade for 2 or 3 PS2 (ok ok and maybe 1 Xbox360) and charge for hour (in Mexico that is quite common). If the Arcades are not as "cost effective" as consoles, then buy consoles!.

      If you do it as a club, you might ask for "wanted games" which you could buy. Also, you could make competitions and other things. Nothing wou
    • This is all absolutely true. I worked for an arcade chain for about seven years as a technician and manager, and there is almost no money in the industry anymore. Machines are expensive, parts are expensive and usually proprietary, and the game quality just doesn't justify the cost of getting into it anymore. I've always loved video games, I had access to play them for free, and still I was playing more interesting games on the lappy in my office. Even inviting friends down for an after-hours free game
      • We have places here like Amazing Jakes that has a bowling alley, laser tag, large arcade, lots of rides, wall climb, etc. All kinds of pizza, pasta, salad buffet. $20 for all you can eat food and an unlimited pass for rides, laser tag, and wall climbs. Hard for a small old style arcade to compete with that. There's a only a few left here in the malls. Most of them don't have arcades anymore.
  • by technoextreme (885694) on Monday May 29, 2006 @03:13PM (#15425502)
    http://gonewengland.about.com/od/bostonattractions /fr/frtombboston.htm [about.com] It's sort of like an interactive game show. I'm just wondering if anyone has ever tried it before because it's right near Fenway Park. Heheh.. Anyway, that is something to do in my spare time.
    • I went to Tomb with a college class last year. The place was smaller than I had imagined, it only comprised of a few rooms with a handful of teamwork-centric puzzles in each. When running the "game" the moderators can increase or decrease the difficulty of the puzzles to accommodate various group sizes of 10-year-olds to older folk. While I think I would've been totally into it had I been either inebriated or 12 years old, it was a bit too cheezy to fully appreciate the experience as a college student.

      Also,
  • by unterderbrucke (628741) <unterderbrucke@yahoo.com> on Monday May 29, 2006 @03:31PM (#15425549)
    DisneyQuest has been a miserable failure. The last one in Orlando is closing in 2008 [jimhillmedia.com].
  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) on Monday May 29, 2006 @03:47PM (#15425599) Homepage Journal
    I already play in the world's biggest consensual out-of-the-home game. Nothing for me here, I'll move along...as soon as the traffic breaks.
  • >>"My wife and I also went to try out MagiQuest at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach. We really did not know what to expect from their advertising."

    I was down in Myrtle about 2 months ago...and while the MagiQuest advertising was everywhere, and looked mildly interesting (for a person like me who loves fantasy lit, not sure about the general public), it was like pulling teeth to find out exactly what the attraction was. I didn't even get a real good explanation at their website. And I wasn't
  • The first twelve quests are relatively simple treasure hunt type tasks that have you exploring the environment looking for different items. They have a castle with a few rooms, a dungeon area, a pixie treehouse, a crypt, and some other areas....my wife and I completed the twelve quests in two hours working together. I would encourage you to do it on your own, but we were dragging a two year old and my wife is seven months pregnant.

    Anyone else think "time to grow the hell up?" You're in an amusement park

  • Is everyone ripping off the Wii these days?
  • I'm in Myrtle Beach, and MaqiQuest is one of our favorite things to do, if you feel like fighting your way through throngs of little kids during the summer. You have no idea how busy this place is. the desire to squeeze as much money as possible out of the place interferes with the experience. I hear a lot of people leaving unhapppy because it was just too busy there to really have fun.

    • We got there right when they opened on a weekday and it was not too bad.

      I think they opened at 10:00, but by 11:00 it was picking up a good bit.

      I assume in quieter seasons it is just fine.

      Ed
  • VR is teh r0x0rz (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PatTheGreat (956344)
    When I tried that Aladdin magic carpet ride, the cool part was not the hour long wait, the cool ski-doo controllers, or the wonderful graphics.

    It was the fact that when I turned my head, the game turned too! It was so cool to look over and see my fellow players right there. It was so natural. It was sweet. The helmet wasn't a 3D viewer, it was Virtual Reality. I was hooked.

    • It was the fact that when I turned my head, the game turned too! It was so cool to look over and see my fellow players right there.

      This past March was my second trip to Disney while DQ was open, but it was the first time that the Aladdin game was actually running (my previous trip in 2000, the game was not available -- I forget whether it was down for repairs or not installed yet). I also loved moving my head right, and the screen moving as well. The other neat part was that the heads of the other chara

  • by orangepeel (114557) on Monday May 29, 2006 @05:18PM (#15425860)
    I'm not a gamer at all (at least not since I kicked a really bad addiction to the original Half-Life), so for all I know there are places similar to the following already out there, and have been for ages.

    I wish that there was a really, really immersive gaming environment out in the real world somewhere, spanning 5+ acres (2+ hectares). I'm talking about something on par with a high-budget Hollywood set, only on a huge scale. Partly outdoors, partly indoors in mock laboratories or whatever, partly underground in mock bunkers, etc. If there was a real complex set up somewhere to look as impressive as your average Half-Life map, I'd be in to gaming again. And as a result getting some serious, serious exercise ... actually running around and around for hours, clambering though the occasional stretch of ductwork, all the while working with a team over radio in an effort to foil the bad-guys, fragging a few of them when convenient.

    I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to have a capture-the-flag or deathmatch game between multiple teams in a really detailed real-world environment like that. There would be a host of challenges to overcome (avoiding actual deaths would be one of those challenges). But it seems to me as though, with today's extreme sports and interest in Fear-Factor-esque physical challenges, there has to be some way to provide a level of real risk to the participants while still making survival likely.

    If those flexible, transparent OLED displays ever become a reality, that would also provide an option for true HUDs, allowing for augmented reality to be blended into the environment. And if you wanted to practice with your team beforehand, a truly virtual version of the complex could be made available so that you could practice before meeting up to face your chosen competitors. I can't help but think something like this would rock, although I'm sure there are a slew of people out there who are going to tell me all the reasons why it wouldn't. (You there ... reading this ... that's your cue...)
    • Your idea is very similar to something I've been pondering recently as a futuristic 'successor' to Laser Quest style games. Great minds, eh?

      What I was thinking was a standard arena - walls, floors, ceilings, doorways etc. - that wasn't decorated but instead painted in very simple colours for software image recognition. Walls could be red, floors blue, etc. Players are given light-guns and virtual reality headsets which have cameras mounted on them. The headsets display an 'augmented reality' projection

    • There are some augmented reality things being developed, where you impose images on top of what is reality.

      I saw one where you have to shoot aliens, but can't find the link now.

      http://wearables.unisa.edu.au/projects/ARQuake/www / [unisa.edu.au]

      This magiquest could be modded / homebrew for ren fairs. Pay $20 to get a wand and cloak to wear, then wander around in the woods looking for clues the same way. A single quest could not be that hard to develop. The wand basically was some sort of IR device with a motion sensor i
    • Your post and two of the replies here give me an idea of how this could work.

      Imagine a theme park that consists of several "worlds," each a different theme of gaming. In each of these worlds, you can experience arcade games, a few rides (physical or VR) and a VR/laser tag type arena or co-op challenge. Each part of this would be themed to match the world. Themes might include: racing, space, Medieval, WWII, animals, etc.

      Add to this making the entire park an adventure. As you enter the park, you can choose

  • cheap babysitting (Score:4, Informative)

    by fermion (181285) on Monday May 29, 2006 @05:40PM (#15425933) Homepage Journal
    It seems to me that any amusement center have degenerated into either an excuses to drink or places for parent to get rid of the kids for day. D&B is the later, and a falling number of other places are the later. I think we have seen a fall in the number of kid freindly places because it was just not economically viable to selter the kids for the price parents wanted to pay. How much can a park reallty make on $30 a day or a $100 a season, expecialy since they cannot make real money through the sales of beer.

    I have seen many entertainment complexes come and go over my lifetime. The ones that are surviving seem to be targeted to adults, like D&B, while the others, that just provide indoor distrations to kids, are failing. This seems expecially true of the places that require parents to stay and supervise. If you can't get rid of the kid, might as well just play video games at home.

    On a high note, I am happy to report, that the afternoons and weekends find all our parks full of kids and parents, and even the museums full of patrons. I do hope that someone can figure out a way to make money on a large scale from the indoor electronic games, especailly in the hot summers, but I can't help but wonder if a problem with the business model is that kids just appreciate being outside and together in unstructured activity.

  • by glitch0 (859137) on Monday May 29, 2006 @05:53PM (#15425964) Homepage
    I live in Celebration, Florida. It's about 10 minutes from Disney Quest. As has been posted before, it is closing in 2008 to become an ESPN Zone.

    I go to "Downtown Disney" almost every weekend for one reason or another. Downtown Disney is where DisneyQuest is located. What it comes down to is that DisneyQuest is awesome, but theres no replay-ability. You go once and experience everything there is in one day, and all that's left to do is play the regular arcade games. At $30 a day, it's not really worth it to just go and play regular arcade games. While there used to be lines outside DisneyQuest, the initial shock reaction of "ohhh virtual reality" has worn off.

    Since it opened the only real new thing I can think of that has been added is...nothing. They replaced the Hercules ride with the Pirates of the Carribean ride, which is the only real new content added. They also switched from the credit system of giving out cards to people with credits on them to play games and ride rides to a one-fee for the day theme park style admission. None of my friends have been motivated to go back anytime recently, all of the tech is outdated. All the other Disney parks add stuff and give us reasons to go back. Examples are Epcot's mission space, Epcot's test track, Animal Kingdom's mount everest, MGM'S rockin roller coaster, Epcot's Soarin, etc.

    The biggest reason DisneyQuest is dying is Disney's lack of innovation and new content. Why go to DisneyQuest when you can just go to a regular arcade and pay to play the games you want instead of paying to get in?
    • At $30 a day, it's not really worth it to just go and play regular arcade games.

      DQ offers annual passes for $89 too. Whenever my wife and I visit Downtown Disney (which is fairly often), we usually spend a couple of hours at DQ doing something, so it's been pretty cost-effective for us.

      Both Test Track and Rock'N'Roller Coaster are older than "Pirates". :-) Your point still stands, however - Disney hasn't added anything new to DQ in six years, and you can't expect people to keep coming if you don't
      • It would be nice if they would repair the stuff they've got. There's a room just off the main entrance loaded with driving games--and all of the wheels, shifters and some of the displays are broken. They remain broken week after week.
      • Please stand clear of the doors, por favor mantenganse alejado de las puertas

        I know it's bad form to reply to a sig, but it just put a huge smile on my face -- ever since I was a kid I LOVED riding the monorails (in fact I think that was my favorite part of going to Disney when I was really young), and over the years I've perfected my impersonation of the guy that does the announcing on the monorails.

        • Until February of last year, I spent six years at WDW driving monorails as a part-time "fun" job, hence the tagline and my handle. The job didn't pay worth a damn, but it's a lot of fun playing with a 14-mile, 70-ton electric train set. :-) Glad you liked the tagline.
    • Hello from a fellow Celebrationer who goes to DQ often for my retro gaming fix! Email me sometime. :)

  • But the RetroActive store across the boardwalk is better, 'cause they have a Pac-Man machine and Jolt Cola :-)
  • So DisneyQuest stunk it up because they didn't handle it properly, BUT it's still a good idea. The video game market is now exclusively at home. I remember when the Sony Metreon in SF first opened, and the video game area was pretty neat, except that the fun Quaternia game was simply a FPS, and the immersion game where you sit in a pod and drive around and shoot things was poorly implemented. Now no one gives a rats a$$ about the games at Metreon.

    I think it's sad that these games like the ones at DQ have
  • There is (was?) a chain of high-end VR and immersive games playground here in Canada (not sure if it is in the States as well) called Playdium. One of the coolest games I ever played was in the West Edmonton Mall called "Combatica". Essentially, you and your opponent played a DoA-style deathfest game BUT you actually did the moves while a camera/laser scanned your movements. Absolutely amazing and very, very tiring. My sister ended up literally tearing my head off in a best of three. So cool.
    • Probably not the same game, but I recall a similar setup (it interfaced with Tekken 2, iirc) near Penn's Landing in Philly. That one, however, sucked. It didn't recognize anything beyond your typical punch or kick, though my opponent somehow managed to launch a fireball or something.
  • Immersive pod based VR gamming in the Battletech universe started aver 10 years ago. They even had international competitions and tournaments on ESPN2.

    www.virtualworld.com
    • All the Dave and Buster's have ripped the pods out. I have no idea if the battletech center in Chicago still exists, but their website doesn't seem to be up at the moment.
    • Dallas was, I think, a pilot program for this. Used to be called Red Planet and was based out of a plaza that also had a multi-screen theater.

      Any time I went to that plaza, I always saw lots of people at Red Planet, and several of my friends talked about it constantly. I couldn't see paying the amounts they talked about to play something I could play (Mechwarrior) on my computer. It made even less sense a few years later when LAN parties were possible.

      That location went under, but it appears that there is

      • Dallas was not the first site, it was Chicago. sites that where open in 1995 where Costa Mesa, CA Pasadena, ca Walnut Creek, CA Sacramento, CA New York Dallas Chicago San Diego hmm missing a few costa mesa was site number 13 in the US. There where a few Aussie sites, a few in England, and a bunch in Japan.
    • I own a set of these (yes, the big Tesla pods) and I can tell you from my own market research, they just can't make enough money to be worth the space they take up (800-1000+ sqf), the man power (at least one semi-skilled employee for each set of units), and the repair/upgrade cost.

      The units are fun-as-hell to play but the type of people that has the interest and money to play them is too damn busy playing WoW or on XBL.

      Maybe somebody could get them to work, but I've hired some smart people and they sure

  • I am a 38 year old past gamer. And the first game I visited after paying my $30 something to get into DisneyQuest last fall was Alladin. What a mistake! I got so motion sick! My eyes were telling me one thing, but since there is *no* movement required at all my ears were telling my brain something different. I almost puked!

    So for the next hour or so I walked around with cold sweats feeling really ill, playing tame games to get some of my money's worth, many of which were really really cool! Eventually m
  • I thought SLI Voodoo cards were 1024x768 max, at least for 12 MB Voodoo 2s...

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