Arcade Historical past: The Atari Dance Machine

There isn’t a lot arcade information this week, so let’s leap into one thing from the times of arcade previous; one thing that had it been launched “within the day” would have been nearly three many years forward of it’s time.

When Atari was the proverbial “800lb. gorilla” of the business, they’d a variety of engineers engaged on a large variety of ideas. Generally these concepts by no means left the paper section, whereas others made it slightly farther alongside.

Per this tweet from a curator on the Sturdy Nationwide Museum of Play in New York, a kind of ideas made it far sufficient alongside for Atari to provide a video and a few graphics for it, however it’s unclear if this was simply playing around or if the corporate had developed know-how for detecting an individual’s physique actions. That was one thing referred to as the Atari Dance Machine, an idea I’ve by no means seen talked about on any unreleased/prototypes sport checklist from the corporate. Test it out through this 30 second video, then we’ll focus on additional:

Try this video of “Dance Machine,” an idea created by Atari in 1984 that was discovered throughout the @museumofplay U-Matic digitization undertaking made attainable by the @RRLC1966! Simply think about the know-how that might be required to make it, particularly within the 1980’s. pic.twitter.com/PQSOYeermg

— Andrew Borman (@Borman18) February 27, 2019

Whereas conceptual, a few issues are clear. This is able to have used laserdisc know-how for the full-motion video. At 26 seconds within the video, the textual content overlay is typical of laserdisc video games, and nothing else would have labored for fullscreen video on the time. The stand-in idea additionally used a variation of Atari’s large TX-1 sport cupboard, which used three screens, though who is aware of if they’d have saved that for the ultimate launch, as this clearly was a “photoshop” simply to indicate the concept. Nonetheless, the 2 aspect displays displaying the music video, then the middle display for the dancer’s sensor or strikes would made for a powerful sight.

A number of laserdisc initiatives have been in improvement on the firm in 1984, together with Golf Coach, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Battlestar Galactica and some others. Every would have been distinctive in it’s personal means, though the Dance Machine would have taken the cake so far as impressions go. A lot of what Atari was engaged on presently was cancelled when the corporate was bought in 1984, splitting the house and arcade divisions aside and sending a lot of Atari’s expertise elsewhere. That and the underside had fallen out of laserdisc tech sooner than the swatch.

Atari additionally had an instrumental rhythm sport within the works again in 1986 referred to as Jammin’, however that likewise by no means made it out of the prototype stage. Maybe that’s what the Atari Dance Machine changed into, however was finally deserted for no matter motive.

Had this come to mild again then, it could have been fairly the technological and cultural gaming achievement. Granted it didn’t, so others get the credit score for bringing concepts to market, though it’s nonetheless price noting the place some concepts have been born. This was about 15 years earlier than the physique sensing sport Combatica hit the market; some will take a look at the ADC and consider the EyeToy Groove, or Simply Dance, or Dance Evolution. For me, the concept of standing in entrance of a large arcade machine that data your actions makes me consider Konami’s Dance Evolution Arcade which was launched again in 2012. Both means, it’s not a broadly embraced idea in our business, primarily resulting from prices. Nonetheless, that this sort of sport was being kicked round in 1984 is fairly astounding.

As for different questions on this undertaking: Was Atari engaged on a sensor that would detect an individual’s physique and exact actions presently? Would it not have used licensed music movies or would they’ve produced particular content material with dancers to licensed music (ala Simply Dance)? What number of dance movies wouldn’t it have contained? Who was engaged on it?

Maybe with some endurance, we’ll discover out extra; both means, such discoveries from arcades previous by no means stop to amaze!

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Concerning the creator: arcadehero View all posts by arcadehero

I am a lifelong fan of video video games and I’ve been working my very own arcade, The Sport Grid Arcade in West Valley Metropolis, Utah since 2008.


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