VR simulators are great moneymakers for amusement operators. LAI Games set the bar high with Virtual Rabbids. It took a couple of years for operators to really buy into the value proposition of an unattended VR ride, but Rabbids quickly became a standard fixture in FECs. Then Raw Thrills entered the market with King Kong of Skull Island. I thought for sure it would split the market, with operators choosing one product or the other. But was I wrong (yes, it does happen, and I am always happy to admit it.)
Operators who installed both Rabbids and Kong saw them both do exceedingly well. If there’s one thing we know, success breeds competition. MajorMega entered the market with SpongeBob SquarePants VR: Dynamic Duo, an interactive simulator where players split duties, one piloting the boat and the other shooting crabby patties.
Rilix and Andamiro joined the fray with their SpongeBob VR Bubble Coaster, a low-cost entrant into the VR arcade coaster market. And Unis’ Sailor’s Fury takes a similar route to adding shooting to a coaster for more interactivity and replay.
Most of the simulators seem targeted at kids. Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids and SpongeBob on Nickelodeon were targeted at the 12-year and under crowd. Spend a few hours in any arcade with these rides, and you’ll see that most players are kids. Sometimes parents will join them, but I’ve never seen two adults riding them. (Not saying it doesn’t happen, I have just never seen it.)
Oscar Wilde famously said,
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
I know that quote might hurt some feelings, but our industry really seems to thrive on imitation instead of innovation. And I get it. It’s risky for a manufacturer to spend millions developing a product based on an unproven concept. This is why so much innovation seems to be coming out of China these days (more on that in another post.)
Elaut and Boxblaster are taking a different approach to VR for kids. Instead of a simulator, their new collaboration, Gold and Mace, combines a wildly popular kids’ interactive video game with a new unattended arcade cabinet. Kids get to experience a VR game where they can move their bodies and use controllers to catch, throw, and even pull apart cartoon characters flying at them from afar. It’s a hilarious game that kids love. It’s also the first VR game designed from the ground up for redemption.
Here’s a gameplay video trailer from the game as it appeared on BoxBlaster’s 4-player system.
I’ve been following the development of this game for 4-years, since BoxBlaster showed an early version of the game at the AAMA Annual Meeting and Gala in Chicago in 2019. It’s a hilariously funny experience to both watch and play. I took some videos back then, and they still make me laugh.
Most arcades emphasize redemption games that target kids. So, it makes sense that they’ve overloaded on kiddie VR rides. But it might be time for them to consider something more active to round out their product offering. Gold and Mace is a great fit for any arcade having success with a VR coaster that wants to offer something a bit different.
For more information on Gold and Mace, reach out to Greg Smith from BoxBlaster and The VR Collective at 727-647-6247 or contact me and I will connect you.