Open Arcade brings accessible playing experience to the city

SAGE’s smart technology is on full display in the streets of Melbourne, part of a world-first digital experience that will bring free arcade-style games to the public.

Known as Open Arcade: Gaming for everyone, the digital experience was a winning entry in the City of Melbourne’s Emerging Technology Testbed ‘Reimaging the City’ Challenge. The challenge was to develop ideas that make city experiences more vibrant and inclusive while promoting social connection and creating new reasons to visit the city.

The pilot commenced September 1st and will explore how integrating technology in city environments can enable open spaces to host inclusive, free and socially distanced activities.

Developed collaboratively between SAGE Automation and Nukon, Open Arcade is a cutting-edge technology solution that digitally represents your physical location on a larger screen, while you play classic arcade games using your body.

“SAGE couldn’t be more excited that our solution was selected as the winner of the Reimagine the City Challenge! This world-first digital experience will see the public immersed in new artist events and playing classic arcade games by using their body as the controller. We can’t wait for the fun to begin,” said Danny Smith, Head of Business Development at SAGE Group.

How Open Arcade works

The arcade games use machine vision cameras to digitally represent players and their movements on a big screen. When a player moves from side to side, their on-screen avatar can follow this movement.

Players are able to interact in real-time with what’s happening on the screen, whether they are hitting a digital ‘ball’ back and forth or navigating through a digital maze featuring colourful simulations. Open Arcade features an intuitive design that requires no special instructions or reading in order to play - making it accessible to all ages. Future iterations will develop models using machine vision to pick up players in wheelchairs and ambulant users as well.

The intuitive design means that there are no special instructions or reading to do before playing, making the games accessible to all ages, said SAGE Senior Project Manager, Shalini Wilkinson.

“The arcade-style games have been designed with all ages and abilities in mind, and different mobility levels have been considered in the application. We wanted to design with games many of us are familiar with in mind and turn them into an inclusive playing experience anyone can take part in and enjoy watching,” said Shalini.

Players will get the chance to experience open spaces in brand new ways, with the gaming experience and simulations set to include parks and gardens as well.

In addition to the gaming experience, the pilot provides opportunities for local businesses to get involved with an opt-in program for incentives and challenges.

Public experience is a critical pillar for smart cities, with smart technologies providing a platform for more inclusive and accessible experiences.

The Reimaging the City Challenge forms part of the Emerging Technology Testbed program, encouraging the trialling of new technologies throughout Melbourne. Follow the pilot developments here.

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