Who said innovation in amusements was dead? Chris Webster has seen the beautiful truth for himself – and it comes in the form of a circus.
Last Thursday I saw the future of destination entertainment. Hyperbole this is not.
TwoBit Circus is a self-professed “micro amusement arcade” which first opened its doors in Downtown LA’s Arts District in September.
Housed in what was once an old warehouse in a part of town steadily being reclaimed from urban decay, TwoBit has seemingly done its best to totally reinvent the amusement arcade.
First up, there’s a host of Virtual Reality experiences to be had in a variety of settings – you can (honestly) choose to go on a bad date on your own,or jump into one of the various “holosuites” with friends to go head-to-head or team up against hordes of enemies. Then there’s the escape rooms,which see players pitted against the clock to tunnel their way into an ancient tomb, or free themselves from a VR maze.And then there’s the arcade itself, which not only boasts a raft of the most innovative amusement machines currently on the market (including Killer Queen – the coveted indie video hit from Bumble- bear Games), but also what can only be described as bespoke“installations,”integrating redemption and video mainstay concepts within massive, unique environments.
TwoBit Circus has previously caused waves in various pop-up forms since 2012:the brain child of Brent Bushnell – whose father Nolan not only co-founded Atari Games but also went on to found American FEC staple Chuck E Cheese.
Innovation obviously runs in the family:I’d say a healthy chunk of the experiences at the brand’s first permanent installation have been custom-made or adapted specifically for the site. Bushnell and his business associates obviously aren’t afraid to create their own unique con- tent, nor ask games developers to utilise their venue as a testing ground for their most experimental ideas.
Throw a well-stocked bar and quality diner into the mix, complete with a slightly hallucinogenic, steam-punk circus vibe,and you’ve got yourself one hell of an arcade. Which is why I’ll be interviewing Bushnell for next week’s paper.
Watch this space for news of an American dream that might be just the right thing for the UK.