Time flies inside the Gamebox, and you must jump or die. You are a candidate for squid gamethe hit South Korean Netflix series, but in this interactive version, you play inside an illuminated cube measuring 12 feet in each direction.
You are in partnership with your friends, who must agree on questions regarding a series of images projected left and right of you. Each of you wears a visor with sensors on it; the box can tell where you are and how you are moving. In this challenge, called “Glass Bridge”, your team must decide, in seconds, the answer to questions such as: “Which side had the most birds?” To vote, teammates jump on circles representing the left or right side.
Answer correctly and your on-screen avatar safely jumps onto a glass rectangle. Wrong answer ? Your character falls to a bloodless and relatively non-violent death (compared to the TV show), and your team takes a hit, losing some of their player characters.
The game moves quickly and bathes you in the pinks and yellows of the TV series. Your party members must work together through six series-inspired challenges, including “Tug of War” and “Red Light, Green Light.” But it’s not Squid Game: the video gameit’s one of a dozen titles that also includes angry Birds on a software platform that is spreading to movie theaters and entertainment centers in the United States and abroad.
Immersive Gamebox is the name of the cube, as well as the British company that manufactures it. The boxes began rolling out in 2019 in London and have since spread to play centres, shopping malls and cinemas. They now have a presence in approximately 20 US markets, including Dallas, San Jose, Denver, Salt Lake City and New York, with a goal of 100 locations over the next two years.
Deanwho previously co-founded the Hard mud obstacle course event company, said that for its second startup, it was looking to do something similar involving group play, but in the tech space.
“I got really into this idea of taking the dynamic of a video game, which is the individual versus the environment, and creating something that’s built around team cohesion,” Dean explains. “I think I’m good at figuring out what makes things fun, and we live in a time where, unfortunately, technology doesn’t bring us together like it might have 15 or 20 years ago.”
Dean says he watched VR but felt it wasn’t collaborative enough. Instead, he started taking inspiration from technologies like the original Nintendo Wii to start working on a smart playroom that would use projection, motion tracking, and lidar. The first prototype, made in 2018, was a version of pong with two players moving around the room operating as paddles. Dean says it was “super basic, but it was fun, and I think people enjoyed it.”