Team Play Feeling Another Frenzy
Skill-Based Multiplayer Spins Ahoy! Game Sails Towards Expo
by Matt Harding
If early test reports in a dozen locations are indicative, the new, four-player, pirate-themed game from Team Play is poised to be the Illinois manufacturer’s next big success.
“Based on our test results, we’ve got another Fishbowl Frenzy type of earnings or better with Spins Ahoy!,” said company CEO Ed Pellegrini of the new video redemption game that’s expected to start shipping in late April or early May.
Fishbowl, of course, was their 2014 IAAPA Brass Ring Award winner for Best New Coin-Op Product. Like that beloved game, Spins Ahoy! blends video and skill-based mechanical gameplay. What’s better is that it’s a multiplayer game.
“One of our limiting factors (with other games) is people have to wait,” said , Team Play’s development director. “With this game, multiple players can come up to the game at any given time and start playing.”
The game, which was first featured at IAAPA this past November, comes in two versions – pinball and spinner. While both are very similar, skill-based games, they have appealed to slightly different demographics.
“We tested just the spinner version at Chuck E. Cheese’s in the Chicago area and Texas and it was doing phenomenal,” said COO Ken Fedesna. “The kids were going crazy over it.”
That version, on the other hand, didn’t do as well at FECs geared toward older children and adults, where the pinball version excelled.
“The pinball version, we believe, will have more appeal to an older demographic,” he added. “But there are a number of older demographic locations that want the spinner version, and we’re more than happy to build whatever the operators feel is best for their locations.”
The objective of both games is to move your player around a board game-themed video display by using the skill-based pinball or spinner controls. Wherever players land determines the number of tickets they win. Players can also land on one of four special treasure chest corner tiles or a letter tile with a competitive bonus feature where all players work to spell the word “treasure.” The person who gets the last letter wins the bonus and starts a special 2X Bonus Mode for all players. The bonus will run for an operator-adjustable amount of time, encouraging more players to join in before time runs out.
“Operators can set it up so if you land on one of the four corners, you get a set number of tickets,” Smolik said. “Or, the player is presented with five treasure chests and picks what he wants to open.”
The skill factor is getting to those chests, which is different based on the version of the game someone is playing.
With the pinball version, players pull back a plunger mirroring classic pinball machines to move their character. How hard the plunger is pulled will determine where a player’s pirate character will end up.
“The ball will go into different areas of the playfield,” explained Jack Haeger, the company’s art director. “There are also two skill shots that automatically take you to one of the corners, which operators can set up to be distinct values.”
The spinner version plays identically except players use a spinner to control where their character goes on the board game playfield. The slower you spin, the slower the character will go; the faster you spin, the further you’ll go.
No matter the version, one thing’s for sure – there’s immediate interest from locations where the tests are ongoing.
“We just put one out in Ohio last week and the operator already wants to buy it,” Pellegrini said.
Spins Ahoy! was in development for about a year and a half and was originally going to be a licensed game coinciding with a recent movie release.
When the license deal fell through, Team Play came up with the pirate theme and added new features to their original idea.
“It was always going to be a four-player game,” Smolik said. The multiplayer aspect was a key factor in bringing the unit to market.
“The game is one of a few to be utilizing 4K resolution on its 65” LCD monitors,” added animation director Bobby Llereza. “It also features interactive 3D animations and 5.1 stereo sounds.”
Like other Team Play games, the skill-based factor is what the company feels will continue to be popular in location-based gaming.
“The people are wanting the skill game factors,” Fedesna said. “That’s one of the things we firmly believe in.”
While they’re putting their greatest focus on Spins Ahoy! for the moment, a more action-oriented video redemption game is in the works too and can be expected by early fall.
Spins Ahoy!, Fishbowl Frenzy, Family Guy Bowling and their selection of Fun Stop Photos photo booths will be at the Amusement Expo. See them on the trade show floor at booth #1113.
“We’re a small, close-knit company that attributes its success to great game design, innovation, and listening to our customers, the distributors, the operators and especially our players,” Fedesna said. “We never know where the next big idea is going to come from, so we get everyone internally involved in our design process, we listen externally to our customers, and then take all of this input and decide which direction to go with.” That’s how Team Play developed a new game that could very well be their best yet.
Learn more about the company by visiting www.teamplayinc.com.