A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

VCR Games

VCR Games 1VCR games were game hybrid that used video cassettes as a part of game experience. Players might for example search for clues by watching a tape or even shoot at the screen with toy guns when special lights were blinking.

VCR games utilized the defining technology of the 1980s, the video tape, which were used to expand regular games such as board games (and eventually, toys) to new areas. Starting the genre, Clue VCR Mystery Game (1985) was the most popular VCR game and involved players solving murders with real on-screen actors. In Candy Land VCR Board Game (1986) players watched video segments to find visual clues in order to move matching cards from the board.

A unique toy-game hybrid, Captain Power and the Soldiers From the Future (1987) comprised of a TV-show – later released on video – and an interactive toy line. Special light signals from TV would activate mechanisms in the toys and even “shoot” at them, while the kids were able to shoot back at the screen to score points. Similar shooting mechanism was used also in Action Max (1987), a VCR light gun game, that resembled Nintendo’s Zapper. Some of the games, like the horror themed Nightmare (1991), got popular enough to spawn expansions, each of which came with a new video tape.

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ImageiPieces is a series of games for the iPad, such as Snakes & Ladders and Fishing, which, instead of touch commands, uses physical pieces to facilitate play. iPad acts as a digital game board that recognizes the pieces on the board and interacts with them.

iPieces are felt-bottomed game tokens that interact with the retro-style games available in the iPieces app series for the iPad. Four sets are available: Snakes & Ladders, Air Hockey, Game of Goose, and Fishing. The Fishing game comes with little rods that you press down on the iPad screen, and then grab the fish and pull them into your little buckets on the screen, while watching for the stork that tries to steal you collection of fish. In Snakes and Ladders users get four pieces which can be placed on the board and two little bridges that can be used as ladders. Players flick a virtual dice on the iPad, and when they land on a ladder square the ladder piece lets the player to see where she can jump to. Landing on a snake turns it alive; the player has to move back down the board. Game of Goose, too, uses virtual dice and features special animations, such as jail gates closing down and a goose flying across the screen, that either send the player back to start or move her up in the game.

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Zombie Burbz

ImageIn Zombie Burbz, an appcessory game for iPad, player controls a zombie by utilizing a zombie action figure. By moving the figurine on iPad players fend off attacking humans with screams, burps, and other weapons, and lure them into traps.    

In Zombie Burbz, developed by WowWee as a part of its AppGear line, the zombies want to keep up with the Joneses, not eat them. Player is tasked with fighting off angry mobs of the living and feed the zombies with their preferred food, garbage. The game box contains three collectable figurines, one deluxe figure, a storage ring for the deluxe figure and one quick start guide. The game is controlled with the deluxe figure. Each deluxe zombie figure unlocks its own unique storyline and missions (there are four Zombie Burbz packs: Avenue, Services, High and Diner).

The player controls the game by moving the zombie figure on the iPad with one hand, directing it to face the right direction of oncoming enemies, while the other hand taps virtual iPad buttons, deploying different weapons. This way, the gameplay actually resembles old school arcade style gaming, as the player appears to be holding a small joystick, while hitting the “arcade cabinet” buttons with her other hand.