Back in 1983, a "Star Wars" arcade game was released for Atari. Gaming has changed quite a bit since then. The heyday of arcades has waned and gaming is now focused on home consoles. But just as "Star Wars" as a film franchise is in the process of a pretty major revival, so is "Star Wars" as an arcade presence. Bandai Namco Amusement has unveiled Star Wars: Battle Pod, a high-tech arcade machine that puts gamers at the helm of a variety of famous sci-fi vehicles.
Let's answer the most burning question first: yes, there is a Death Star trench run. Sensitive gamers will want to have some Dramamine at the ready since Battle Pod features a huge dome screen. You sit inside the game, with the screen giving you views that come from in front and to the side of you, making it feel a bit like being in a holodeck. I got a little woozy just from watching some demonstration videos of the game in progress.
Not content with just enveloping your sense of vision, Battle Pod also features a vibrating seat, which will bring your butt into the action. Meanwhile, strategically placed fans blow at you to match events that happen on screen. The controllers also vibrate, while surround sound adds the finishing touch to the experience.
Astute viewers of the game trailer will notice that the action is pretty much like an on-rails shooter, but the fact that it takes place in the "Star Wars" universe should give the game an automatic step up in the battle for arcade supremacy (if such a battle still exists).
Players will be able to choose from variety of vessels to pilot, including an X-wing, the Millennium Falcon, a speeder bike, a snowspeeder and a TIE Advanced starfighter. The idea is to put gamers right into action scenes culled from the movies in a way that "Star Wars" pinball never could.
Star Wars: Battle Pod is due out in the US in early 2015 (with a global launch to follow), which should give you plenty of time to exercise your X-wing flying chops beforeat the end of the year.