Back in the 1970s Edwin Schlossberg, now founder of ESI Design, wrote a series of books showing people how to turn their school handheld calculators into games. Today, he is considered the brainchild of the ESC Game Theater where up to 30 people can play and compete in the same game at the same time.
Up until now, by and large, video game playing has been primarily a solitary experience, but it won't stay that way for long if ESC Games has its way. This week, the company set up the ESC Game Theater which is a "first-of-its-kind, high-tech experience where up to 30 people play wildly fun, casual games on a massive screen in a room pulsing with lights, special effects, music and energy" states today's press release.
"In an age where most interactions are between a single person and a screen, people are increasingly hungry for group experiences that provide an opportunity to have fun and interact with not only friends but also strangers," said Schlossberg. "ESC Games takes the ideas driving current game trends a major step further by harnessing the latest in technology and entertainment to create an unparalleled gaming and social experience."
The 750-square-foot structure features an 11 feet x 30 feet movie-theater-sized screen, concert-quality surround sound, and over 50 multi-colored LED and strobe lights, as well as a live emcee. There is no seating in this theater, at least not for this promotion. The players use wireless, touchscreen devices that are motion-sensitive and have a choice of about a dozen games to play including Robot Basketball (teams score points by making baskets while "riding" along a roller coaster track) and Pixel Prison Blues (a cops and robbers game).
Throughout each five- to seven-minute-long game play, lights flicker in a synchronized pattern and the emcee shouts out play-by-play game commentary and/or advice if he feels that it is needed. The format will allow for future competitions where players can compete for prizes. ESC Games CEO Todd Swidler thinks that this will be the future of game-playing. The video game industry is projecting to see an 18 percent annual growth and Swidler is hoping to expand more ESC Game Theaters throughout the United States.
"The video game industry is experiencing explosive growth, and we see major opportunities for ESC Games to pioneer a new category that taps into that demand through our unique game experience and competitive tournaments. The possibilities are vast." said Swidler.
Is this the future of gaming? @noahr gets 1st look at @escgametheater from @esidesign https://t.co/vv9dhEc4dn via @FastCoDesign #FCNY16
— PKPR (@PKPRNY) November 5, 2016
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The ESC Game Theater is set up at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, one of the largest shopping malls in the U.S. Charley Delana, executive vice president of global brand ventures at Westfield, says that the ESC Game Theater builds on Westfield's efforts to re-imagine the future of shopping centers and malls.
"Westfield is committed to redefining the shopping experience by leveraging the latest in technology and digital entertainment innovation," said Delana. "We are thrilled to welcome ESC Games to Westfield Garden State Plaza and we are looking forward to giving shoppers the chance to be among the first in the world to experience the future of gaming and entertainment."
[Featured Image by ESC Games]