There’s a new Star Wars arcade game from Bandai Namco, and much like virtually every other coin-op machine based on the classic sci-fi series, it’s all about piloting futuristic machines.
Star Wars: Battle Pods is like a giant, plastic bubble, surrounding the player with a 180-degree screen and equipping them with a flight/targeting stick and throttle for a uniquely cinematic experience. Taking a cue from modern theme park rides (and older sit-down Star Wars games), the cockpit is equipped with a seat and controls that vibrate in response to explosions, fans to blow air on the player, and 5.1 surround sound.
Locations in the game will include Yavin, Hoth, Endor, and both Death Stars. Players will be able to pilot vehicles ranging from a snow speeder and speeder bike to X-Wings and the Millennium Falcon. The final stage, “Vader’s Revenge,” features Darth Vader piloting an Advanced TIE Fighter immediately after the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
Namco has a long history with arcade games, going back to its heyday in the 1980s with classic titles like Pac-Man, Galaga, and Dig Dug. As arcades around the country are shutting down in the face of the growing console market, Battle Pod‘s immersive touches will help justify it as a more fully-realized experience than would be possible at home.
Star Wars: Battle Pods arrives in arcades in January 2015, but New Yorkers have an early opportunity to check it out at the Midtown Dave & Busters, through November 2.