Keep­ing an eye on the coin-op gam­ing scene


Large-scale ‘in­ter­ac­tive the­atres’ are be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly com­mon sight in lo­ca­tions able to ac­com­mo­date them, and usu­ally al­low a group of light-gun-armed play­ers to co­op­er­ate against a com­mon enemy, some­times buf­feted by hap­tic feed­back. But Kan­sas-based Fire­shark Stu­dios is tak­ing a slightly dif­fer­ent tack with its Fire­shark Theater, which swaps light­guns for mod­i­fied Xbox 360 con­trollers. Six­teen play­ers (only eight of whom are af­forded a seat) can com­pete in teams or all-out death-matches in its launch games. In Mech May­hem, play­ers choose from seven mechs, each with four unique abil­i­ties, and then do bat­tle in Free For All or Cap­ture The Flag modes. Rift He­roes, mean­while, is a Smash Bros- style brawler that of­fers eight char­ac­ters; death­match, team death­match and do­min­ion modes; and league and tour­na­ment play. The 20’x8’ en­clo­sure uses pro­jec­tion map­ping to turn its an­gled walls and floor into a gi­ant screen, while score­boards sit on ei­ther side of the play­ers. While Mech May­hem’s top-down ac­tion looks good on the wrap­around screen, Rift He­roes’ side-on arena takes on a three-di­men­sional form that at­tempts to make you feel like you’re float­ing in space in front of it. Fire­shark Theater is in select US arcades now, with more games to fol­low in fu­ture.

Game MechMay­hem/RiftHeroes Man­u­fac­turer Fire­shark Stu­dios

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