Imagine hundreds - maybe even thousands - of people, all playing the same game together on a single screen. It might sound like a fantasy, but it's very, very real.
We tend to think of motion gaming as something that happens in the living room - specifically, living rooms equipped with Nintendo products - but that's just the tip of the motion iceberg. In issue 278 of The Escapist, Robert Janelle talks about the wider world of motion gaming - wider, and a heck of a lot bigger.
A rookie goaltender is trying out for a hockey team. The pucks are lined up and shots are ready to be taken.
The first puck is shot down the ice. The goalie leans left. Knocked down. Save! But only one section of the crowd goes wild. That's not because the other sections fell asleep. It's actually quite the opposite. Everybody is out of their seats and moving around, despite the fact that there isn't a single hockey player on the ice.
That rookie goalie isn't real at all, he's merely a videogame avatar displayed on the Urbandale Centre's giant screen above the rink, being controlled by the entire crowd. And those quieter sections? They failed to stop the puck and gave up the goal. It's between periods at an Ottawa 67's junior hockey game and everyone is playing Save!, a casual hockey videogame running on the Vision Interactive system from CrowdWave.
This gaming platform works by using a series of high-resolution cameras placed around the arena to capture crowd movement and convert it into gameplay. In Save!, sections of the crowd are pit against each other trying to make the goalie stop as many pucks as possible. If enough people in a section move their arms to the right, that's where the goalie goes and vice-versa.
Since the first trial of the CrowdWave system in 2009, the company behind it has quadrupled in size, and is now looking to make deals with other types of mass entertainment, like concerts, rodeos and monster truck rallies. You can read more about it in "Doing the CrowdWave."