The game of Pong may be incredibly simple by today’s standards in the video game industry, but the iconic electronic tennis game is being used in new ways to bring a new gaming experience that can be enjoyed on an entirely new level.
Moment Factory’s version of Pong, named GRiD used a sensor field to create a 40-by-60 foot playing field in which players shuffle their feet on the field to move their paddle in an enlarged game of Pong. The game can even be enjoyed in teams, with teammates working together to move and adjust their paddle.
GRiD is the result of an experiment in which Moment Factory attempted to answer the question of whether or not an interactive experience could be built in a public space to be enjoyed by anyone. The answer appears to be a definitive “yes,” although this is just the beginning of the fun for Moment Factory. After seeing the early success of what they could deliver with GRiD, the foundation may now be laid for future real-life interactive games that can be installed almost anywhere. Using the same kind of sensor technology that is utilized in self-driving cars, Moment Factory continues to build on GRiD and will likely use the feedback to create more games in the future.
With one LIDAR [the sensor used to run the game that is used in self-driving cars] in the corner of the room, we could reliably track the position of a dozen or so people. So we set about turning our 40 x 60 ft. m black box into a giant game interface using Unity as a visual and gameplay frontend. GRiD evolved by iteration. Each time a group of Moment Factory employees came to play in the Blackbox, we collected their reactions and used them to inform the next iteration of the game. This allowed us to fine-tune the speed of the gameplay, and inspired us to spice it up by adding some unexpected effects!
Witnessing these spontaneous social connections, it immediately became clear that we were rediscovering a social dimension of games that has been missing since the sudden death of arcades in the 90s. It was so refreshing to be playing with a person you could see, and to be moving your whole body. The technology is still a bit expensive, but we hope this kind of public interaction gets more and more people out of their living rooms and playing together. The technology is finally available to bring games back out into the real world. This idea of taking games out in to the real world marks the beginning of a new era for the interactive team and, more generally, for Moment Factory.
So, what other classic game could be next? If they can recreate Pong, then a Space Invaders adaptation could be up next.