Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We've Got Big Balls

In 1979 Atari released Hercules, one of the largest pinball machines in the world, standing 83 inches tall by 39 inches wide by 93 inches deep. It used a standard billiard cue ball instead of the traditional smaller steel pinball, and boasted over 18 square feet of playing surface.

I was quite the arcade rat at that time, and remember playing this. Sadly, the gargantuan game provided Lilliputian fun. The larger, heavier ball meant frustratingly slow gameplay compared to a traditional steel pinball, and the cue ball moved and felt like a shotput being heaved about as it lumbered from target to target. That coupled with the uninspired and overly-simplistic playing field made for a really, really dull game.

"Where the Fun Never Ends! Starts!"
(image via TheLongestListoftheLongestStuffattheLongestDomainNameatLongLast.com)

A speeding 500-pound rubberband ball versus car. Hint: don't bet on the car. (could have done with a bit of editing, so if you're the impatient type, jump to 1:56)

Just after Christmas last year, a Dayton, Ohio design company came out with the world's largest claw game called The Santa Claw. It allowed internet users to connect and control the 2000-pound robotic claw game as they tried to pick up giant balls filled with (mostly) small prizes that the company would ship to the lucky winners, free of charge.

It became wildly popular, with queues of 700 or more people, which meant minding their browser for 8+ hours waiting for a brief three-fingered grasp at destiny. Over 4,000 prizes were awarded, ranging from a set of those plastic chattering teeth to the complete Dokken collection on vinyl.

The game no longer awards real prizes, and crowds have since died away so there's probably no more than a few minutes waiting, but you can still play for fun at TheSantaClaw.com (via Destructoid)

AC/DC - Big Balls

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