Keep­ing an eye on the coin-op gaming scene

‘Sand­box’ is an overused term in videogames, but Sega’s new ar­cade cab­i­net can’t re­ally be de­scribed as any­thing else. E-Deru Sun­aba (which roughly trans­lates to, ‘the sand­box where a pic­ture ap­pears’) al­lows play­ers to mould real sand in a pit. The cab­i­net then uses dy­namic pro­jec­tion map­ping to over­lay colour­ful graph­ics onto the chang­ing to­pog­ra­phy and the sur­round­ing area.

If you dig down to the base of the sand pit, for ex­am­ple, you’ll ex­pose wa­ter filled with vir­tual fish. Land­masses will grow flow­ers and grass, or be­come rocky if built high enough. The sea­sons will change as you play, shift­ing colours and bring­ing with them a va­ri­ety of in­sects that scurry across the playspace, and even onto the hands and arms of play­ers, who should re­act with a mix­ture of de­light and ter­ror.

The sand it­self is an odd con­sis­tency that moves with the mould­able vis­cos­ity of di­luted Play-Doh when com­pressed, but crumbles when bro­ken apart. While it’s a charm­ing idea, ma­chines will pre­sum­ably need to be mon­i­tored closely by ar­cades if they hope to have any chance of keep­ing their stock of Sega sand where it’s meant to be. And while muck­ing about with in­sects is amus­ing, the tech is cry­ing out for a port of Pop­u­lus or From Dust.

Game E-DeruSun­aba Man­u­fac­turer Sega

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