It seems you can’t go anywhere these days without encountering someone engaged in electronic gaming. Video games used to be confined to the home, with PC and console offerings becoming common to nearly every household over the past thirty plus years. Does anyone else remember getting their first home version of Atari? Okay, that one is a bit dated. But on that long-ago date when Pong first made its way onto our television sets, who could have imagined what video games would become? These days, HD (next gen) consoles, online interaction, social gaming, and even mobile options are improving and expanding by the day. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the next frontier in the gaming world would come from the Imagineers at Disney and be presented in a larger-than-life package.
In truth, Disney has unveiled several game types on their floating palaces of youthful fun. The latest and greatest is the Magic Play Floor, a collection of 32 HD monitors embedded in the floor (taking video wall technology to a different plane). But viewers will enjoy more than just the 14 million pixels of high definition video that this setup can produce; they’ll also receive an incredible interactive experience by which kids (up to 32) or adults (up to 16) can gather around to use hands, feet, and light pad controllers (each equipped with 48 motion sensors) to influence the game taking place on the floor. Further, popular Disney characters (such as Stitch from Lilo and Stitch and Crush from Finding Nemo) appear in the custom games to talk to participants real-time, creating a one-of-a-kind interactive experience that kids will remember for the rest of their lives. This definitely isn’t your average PS3 title.
And that’s exactly what Disney is going for. These magical mega-games are currently only available on two ships (Dream and Fantasy) and the whole idea is to create an experience that tech-savvy kids won’t find anywhere else. Along those lines, each ship features two of these fantastic video floors along with Magic Play Tables (about the size of a foosball table) that offer interactive games for smaller groups. Each is equipped with games based on Disney titles that can’t be found anywhere else, and certainly not in the home. In creating this world of imagination that integrates video game technology, Disney is likely hoping to ensure that they have something no other cruise line can offer.
Of course, it doesn’t end there. While most kids are perfectly content to seek free games download via Facebook or their mobile devices (smartphone, tablet, or other), Disney wants to make sure that these options are the last thing on their minds when they climb aboard. Some of their ocean liners have instituted ship-wide games by which works of art located throughout the vessel are actually motion-detecting monitors that can be activated with coded badges to take kids on sleuthing missions, keeping track of their progress via their singular bar code. And there are all manner of sports simulators, as well, that let kids interact with Disney characters. So whether kids are familiar with adventure, task-based, or construction destruction type games, they will likely find something to love onboard these amazing ships. And that’s just how Disney imagineered it.
Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.