Hall of Mirrors Arcade
 
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Art Pieces

  • Marble Labyrinth

  • Foosball Reimagined

  • Giant Pachinko

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  • Giant Pachinko
    𚱰321匞o! 卆nd the team of seven people (who met each other just a few minutes before) scoop up handfuls of balls and race up the steps of Pachinko. They drop them down into the maze of pins, hoping a few will get to a scoring target. As one person runs out, they race down the other and someone else is right behind them with another armload. In another 15 seconds they抣l know whether or not they beat the last team抯 score...

    What is it?

    Pachinko parlors have been popular across Japan for almost 80 years. Several thousand machines have been exported to other countries, so many people visiting the Hall of Mirrors Arcade would have seen, played, or perhaps even owned one of these machines. The maze and ball elements of Pachinko seem rather simple; but the dancing interaction of the balls will mesmerize people for hours and hours.

    The idea of our Pachinko Game is to have a reservoir of balls at the bottom of the machine. People will gather one, two, or an armload of balls and carry them up the stairs to the balcony positioned just behind the play field. Atop the balcony they will drop the balls into slots in the top of the machine. The balls bounce and careen through the maze of hundreds of pins and obstacles, with some of them landing in "score pockets". When this happens, lights will flash and bells will ring -- just like the original Pachinko machines!

    A team of players has just 180 seconds (counted down on the machine's 3-digit display) to get as high a score as they can. Visual cues from the lights and sound cues from the bell will indicate the start and end of every round. When a round finishes, the score is flashed for 20 to 30 seconds. Afterwards both the score and timer reset for a new round.

    All teams are spontaneously formed by whoever happens to be around Giant Pachinko when a round starts or is in progress. People can jump in at any time as space allows, or drop out if they get tired from climbing up and down the stairs. Everyone works together!

    By day the Hand-drawn Artwork will be attractive and compelling. By night, the LED lighting will sparkle and dance with each score made! Microcontroller sequenced LED's will highlight scoring achievements, adding excitement and enjoyment to every moment of play.

    To protect the balls from being carried away by the elements, poultry fencing will be used across the play field. A large bin at the bottom of the machine will hold balls in position against wind from gusts and storms.

    Reception

    Giant Pachinko has been A HUGE HIT at all three of the regional festivals it attended. People have told us that couples and campmates "have played the game for hours!" which made us feel very proud to have created such a unique experience. Art grant ooordinators for all three festivals have congratulated us on producing an amazingly interactive art piece that have thrilled their participants. This is what we love to hear! Makes all the painstaking efforts worthwhile!

    We anticipate an even greater reception at Burning Man, especially with our Midway placement where hundreds (thousands?) per day will enjoy it. We are hoping that our last stage of fundraising efforts will help cover the costs of some key extras we'd like to add. Please contribute to our campaign if you can!

    Additional Images

    This was our team's first draft drawing of Giant Pachinko. If you look carefully you can see representations of the "Burning Man" logo within the pin mazes. The final playfield layout has two such images and they work with the gameplay beautifully!
    Here are two actual Japanese Pachinko machines, circa 1975. The lead artist owns these machines and has studied their maze geometry extensively to make the most enjoyable Pachinko game possible. Our game layout is totally unique, though, and does not have a maze resembling any other game in existence. And please don't call this game "Plinko" - aside from the height and stairs Giant Pachinko has no resemblance to that commercialized game!


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